Extreme Exorcism is a pixel-art paranormal platformer where you fight against yourself set in a haunted house. Its based on an interesting concept – playing against your own ghosts and killing them to get high scores in different modes, it’s the fourth game by developer Golden Ruby Games and published by Ripstone who have also released the likes of Pure Pool, Stick it to The Man and Pure Hold ’em.
It was something I wasn’t really sure how well it was going to work, taking ghosts in racing games (and others) to the next level in a more literal way and it works really well. The first enemy is a paranormal chair which doesn’t attack you so that the game can get your first ghost ready then every time you complete a round your ghosts come back and follow your exact same movement and attacking pattern which once it gets going turns into a frantic solo or multiplayer game as more ghosts come on-screen.
You really have to think about your movements, if you play without that consideration it will usually get quite difficult to continue with the three lives you are given because there so many ghosts firing bullets all over the place.
Each level is set up into “rounds” where you need to kill the crown ghost, this nets you 10 points and all the other ghosts that are around can be killed too but only give you one point, ghosts don’t go away when they’re killed though they just respawn again on the next round unless you use the angel wings (which take a while to appear) then any ghost then jumps in is exorcised and doesn’t return, this is the key to lasting a long time.
300 words and I’ve not yet mentioned the vast array of weapons at your disposal, these need to be unlocked but there are a lot of them! Melee weapons like swords, axes and baseball bats, guns like pistols, shotguns, there’s also rocket launchers, grenade launchers, mines, harpoons, shurikens and various paranormal stuff too. There is a lot of variety though which is nice and its fun to blast the ghosts and see what your stray bullets catch, you also get to hold three weapons at a time for added destruction and balancing.
There are three modes to choose from: Arcade, Deathmatch and Challenges, the former two can be played with up to 4 players in local co-op and the challenges are only playable solo.
Arcade mode is the base campaign of sorts with 10 stages set in and around the haunted house each with 5 level variants, in order to unlock the next level you need to get a certain score on the previous level and your top scores on each level are added together to unlock the next stage. Stages get progressively more difficulty as you might expect, adding in elements like fire and wind streams to blow you across levels or burn you for going through them, a giant bed to jump on benefitting both you and your ghosts too, all the environments look nice and the added elements are a nice touch.
Deathmatch is your typical local co-op mode with a variety of game types to choose from and you can customise the levels, weapon sets and ghost to maximise your multiplayer mayhem, the wealth of options are very nice and they will suit players nicely.
Challenges focus on one specific aim to meet such as killing enemies who use harpoons, facing invisible “crown” ghosts, getting a certain amount of kills and so on, it’s a huge mode with 50 challenges across 5 tiers which need unlocking by completing levels, its one of those modes where if you really enjoy the game it will give you plenty of reasons to keep on playing as well as all the other solo and co-op modes you can choose from.
I played arcade mode the most, the choice of solo or co-op play is a nice which meant it was my go-to choice for the game particularly as some of the levels get harder and it was fun to work with friends to fight against the paranormal rebellion with. I did like challenge mode too though for that solo game more than deathmatch as I generally liked doing the arcade mode instead but with three choices I think people will be able to find what they like with it.
Local co-op games are in the midst of making a comeback and Extreme Exorcism is a fun game which I liked more than I thought I would, admittedly I don’t have a huge amount of experience with its competition but looking at it on its own it’s a game I enjoyed playing and I can certainly see the appeal. The choices of modes are nice, its inexpensive and a bit different, I suspect if you are into local co-op games then you are likely to have a few on tap for those occasions and I think Extreme Exorcism could fit quite nicely into a roster of games.