Extreme Exorcism runs out of steam fast as a single-player action game, but it works well as a co-op party game. The game uses a neat little gimmick that’s fun for a few short play-throughs, but starts to drag out if you play it for more than half an hour.

Extreme Exorcism’s trick is that each time you kill your target (a ghost), your last actions come back to haunt you as a new enemy ghost. These previous selves stack on top of one another to fill the screen with ghosts. Then it’s a fight to survive for as long as possible against your previous selves.

The game uses a neat little gimmick that’s fun for a few short play-throughs

Fans of Vlambeer’s Super Crate Box will be right at home with Extreme Exorcism’s score-chasing-for-new-guns style of progression. But we need to remember why Super Crate Box worked so well. It was designed for super-short play sessions that simulated the “one more quarter” feel of an arcade game. It wasn’t a game that overstayed it’s welcome. But Extreme Exorcism makes the big mistake of telling players that it’s gonna take a lot of your time. It does this by showing the abundance of the stages to complete up front. This would be fine in other games. But with the endless survival approach, it just feels taxing. And the abundance of levels doesn’t do any favors when matches all feel like the same thing in slightly different rooms. Comparing the solo levels in Extreme Exorcism to the likes of Towerfall (whose solo levels were a joy to complete) it’s like comparing a huge bag of salty black licorice to a slightly smaller bag of delicious salted caramels. Towerfall is simply more enjoyable.

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Extreme Exorcism’s levels stick to a single screen and they’re pretty plain. They offer plenty of obstacles and danger zones, but nothing feels inspired or particularly tactical. In fact, that’s the biggest gripe I have with this game at large: nothing feels like it leaves room for tactical creativity or anticipation. The default double-jumping removes most platforming friction and risk/reward. Beating your ghosts is just about remembering what you did the last turn and anticipating it. And even though there’s a lot of weapons, they feel like they lack nuance and room for creative application.

it’s annoying when I want to stay on the ground and get ready for the next ghost assault and the game simply says, “no.”

Spawning into the game sucks the tactical fun right out of it. You drop in from the top of the screen at the beginning of each new life. This disconnects you from your previous success, and I’m sure it has a lot to do with establishing an end point of the recording of your ghosts. But it removes you from the immersion of the run and takes you out of the game quite literally. I’m sure there’s some technical limitations there, but it’s annoying when I want to stay on the ground and get ready for the next ghost assault and the game simply says, “no.”

There’s one area where Extreme Exorcism is worth your time. And that’s the multiplayer mode. No, not the deathmatch. That’s kinda boring and reverses the game’s main gimmick so you just spawn ally ghosts that fight with you. The multiplayer that’s interesting is the four-player co-op arcade mode. I think the game knows that this is the best way to play considering that whenever you start this mode, you see the invitation for more players.

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Extreme Exorcism offers some solid party co-op action for the first half hour. While it gets super chaotic on-screen, the game’s simplicity and speed ensure that it’s not too hard to score a kill on the target-ghost. Rounds are short and fast-enough that you can play several in just a half hour. It’s enjoyable, but it didn’t make our crew want to play the game a ton more after that. “I’ve done this enough now.” were the exact words my buddy used after a half hour of co-op. My other friends said they would be up for more co-op at another date. But they were ready to play something else at that point.

Extreme Exorcism had a lot of time put into it and it shows when you see how many levels there are to complete. But unfortunately, the overarching gimmick only maintains its appeal for a short time. While the four-player co-op is great for local multiplayer parties every now and again, I don’t see too many other reasons to play this game for more than half an hour at a shot. This game just doesn’t have enough going for it to elicit a long-term commitment. And the single-player mode just feels like playing with yourself — because you are literally playing with your previous selves.

About The Author

M. Joshua makes game trailers when not writing about games. He loves any game experience that engenders empathy to others, be it biographical, co-op, or games about valuing the well-being of your enemies. He loves getting humans together in his house for survival deathmatches.

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