In the game, players control Mr. ESC, an escape artist who is called on to rescue people that are stuck in burning buildings or collapsed caves. Gameplay is 2D by design and borrows heavily from the platforming genre. Esc's actions typically involve jumping over fires and pits, hoisting himself up onto ledges, and pushing objects around to gain access to hard-to-reach hallways and doors. When Mr. Esc finally locates his rescuee, he must lead the CPU-controlled character out of the area. The CPU character will automatically tag along behind Esc, but the player can issue orders to the CPU character to make it perform various actions. This allows the pair to enter areas that Mr. Esc couldn't by himself.
Much of the hype regarding Exit is due to its unique visual style, which is best described as "comic book." The 2D backdrops are colorful and abstract, while all of the characters have been drawn to resemble charcoal stick-figures of the type that an artist would draw on a sketch pad during a quick brainstorming session.
Out of the package, the game includes 100 individual stages. New stages will be made available for download using the in-game browser, much like Sony has done with its WipeOut Pure game.
We'll review the game once it's published in North America. Until then, check out our screenshots of the game. They're actually rather compelling.
12/21/2005 Frank Provo