Every Extend Extra
Those of you who like downloading free or indie games from the internet may be familiar with a title called “Every Extend”. It is a very unique freeware game where the aim is to blow up enemies and score as many points as possible, all within a certain time limit. The catch however is that you cannot shoot at all, and the only way to destroy your enemies is by blowing yourself up in their vicinity and hoping they get caught in the blast.
You lose a life each time you do this, so it’s crucial to catch as many enemies as possible in the blast and hopefully earn enough points to gain an extra life (which are incidentally known as “extends” in Japan) hence the title. There are some other factors like power-ups and boss battles, but that’s the basic idea. So besides being able to play it on the go, why should you shell out good money for what’s essentially a free game?
Well, firstly this redevelopment was directed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi who was also responsible for the Lumines titles. As such, the visuals and audio have undergone a serious overhaul and is more dazzling than ever. Each and every level has unique backgrounds, enemy designs, music and bosses. This has the effect of making each level look like a brand new interpretation of the same game and keeps things looking and feeling fresh.
The music and sound effects also change depending on your actions, further adding to the psychedelic nature of the game. All the pretty colors and effects come at a price though, as it’s often hard to differentiate between enemies, bullets and power-ups. The game is also quite unforgiving, with a steep learning curve. Just randomly detonating yourself in the hope of hitting enemies will result in a “game over” screen very quickly and the boss battles in particular take some careful planning.
You have some new abilities like being able to charge your explosion for a bigger blast by holding down the detonate button but doing so results in decreased speed and maneuverability. Speaking of speed, this is the key to success in Every Extend Extra. Losing all your quickens in a boss fight can be fatal as without a lot of enemies swarming around it’s impossible to deal them damage and you end up with time running out.
Every Extend Extra can feel a little bare boned as besides the Arcade mode there’s not much else to do. The original version of Every Extend is included as well as a “Boss Attack” mode (fight against bosses you’ve already defeated in Arcade mode) and “Caravan” mode (choose as single stage to play through) which are all unlocked. There’s also a VS and Game Sharing mode. The game saves your rankings and everything but ultimately it’s nowhere near as addictive as Lumines (a demo of Lumines 2 is kindly included with the game so you can see for yourself.)
Every Extend Extra fits the pick up and play nature of the PSP perfectly and it’s certainly not a bad game but it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste either. It’s available at a budget price which is good, but check out the free version first if you can to see for yourself if it is worth your while.
*Review originally published March 2007.