Exception is a fast, frenetic action platformer that dazzles the eyes with brilliant colour and spectacle. The pace never seems to slow down, with your character bouncing off walls, chopping down enemies and smashing through obstacles in the blink of an eye. If you’re after something to get the pulse racing, this will do the trick; though, it can get a little too much in extended bursts.
From the get go, I was immediately taken with the sheer fluidity of movement. Out little AI avatar moves about the screen like a greased up pig, yet handles well enough to keep you in control the whole time. Bouncing up and over walls, before slashing enemies down and moving past their exploding shells before even touching the ground is supremely satisfying. Your goal here is simple: reach the glowing golden orb at the end of each stage. Getting there, however, is slightly more complicated.
Along the way, various other orbs – glowing green or blue – will twist and and contort the stages layout and orientation. Sprinting along one section will most likely see you coming back through the same section whilst wall climbing up and over to a new route. Seemingly unreachable areas will swing in to view, keeping you on your toes. Each of the 16 areas stages are cleverly designed, challenging you to hunt out hidden collectables and clear out all foes whilst still keeping aware of how the level might change going forward.
Levels are short too, most being cleared in under 30 seconds. Everything here prioritises speed: dying means a restart – though you’ll often be back at the beginning before you even realised you died! Upgrades earned along the way make you faster, or more powerful – further allowing you to blitz through levels. I found the combat to be a bit simple; again, the sheer speed you smash through foes doesn’t really allow for anything more complicated. However, occasionally you’ll come across a boss character. Suddenly, the pace grinds to a halt as you deal with them before you move on. They are easy enough to beat, but also, quite frankly, boring too. Just jump and hit the weak spot, before being bounced away only to charge back in: rinse and repeat.
Though you may appreciate the slight halt in action. Between the bright colours, pumping music and frenetic pace I found that I could only play for a short while before needing a break. There’s no denying the core loop is fun, but it get’s a bit much after a short while.
You could always catch up on the plot whilst having a breather though. You play a sub-routine inside of an old lady’s PC. Everything is going great, until she clicks on one of those dodgy pop-up ads that we all know and love. A virus is installed, and begins wrecking havoc on the system. We get misplaced in the directories, and must fight our way back and fix this mess. After each area is cleared, we get a short comic-book style cut scene that, while hardly the most gripping tale ever told, is entertaining enough to keep you watching.
Exception doesn’t hold back when it comes to the core gameplay. The responsive, smooth controls allow you to really sail through stages at somewhat breathtaking speed. It can get a little much if played for too long (and that soundtrack is… a bit much) but in short bursts, there’s a fun arcade platformer here.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.