I love puzzle games. Simplicity is the perfect antidote for overbearing life duties and there’s nothing as reliable and mind freeing in the late hours before bedtime or when writer’s block sets in than Lumines, Lumines II, Zuma, Tetris, Columns, or any other variety of low impact games you can pick up and play and just coast without having to wade through menu screens galore, difficult control schemes and godforsaken cinematics.
Another great thing about puzzle games is that they don’t immediately grab you, aside possibly for Tetris, which changed some lives overnight back in the day. They tenderly take you in, like a Saigon whore. I still cannot believe a friend and I made a 17 hour Amtrak ride from New York to Atlanta subsisting mostly on the old B&W Gameboy Tetris and John Zorn CD’s. The Cold War was worth it, folks.
Every Extend Extra not only has one of the dumbest titles ever (just because something sounds right in Japan doesn’t mean it’s a human sentence), but it also has one of the weirdest learning curves I’ve ever experienced in a video game before. Typically, you play for a while and then you "get it" and the doors to fun are opened. I "got" Every Extend Extra pretty much right out of the gate: You’re a little glowing object and you have to explode near objects and create a chain reaction to build up points, get to the next stage, etc.
Pretty straightforward. There’s also mini-bosses and larger bosses at the end of the stage to defeat while building up what are known as Quickens and Chains to maximize the impact. Pretty self-explanatory. I "got" what they were doing and still the game said "I know you get me, but fuck you anyways!".
The game is the latest in a line sometimes billed as ‘Synesthesia’, joinging the solid Rez and totally brilliant Lumines. Those games have moxie. They don’t have malice and hatred.
Maddening can be a definition of what meatheads do right before EA releases their latest cash cow in the fall but it is also a perfect definition for this little hunk of filth who tries to rape my Sony PSP (one of the more underrated video game systems ever, btw). Every Extend Extra is an awkwardly released game, simple in design yet totally devoid of a logical tutorial mode, instructions, or gameplay that eases you in. As a result, I’ve spent hours on the first level being hated by this game, which surely has to be some sort of Al Queda Nanoweapon.
It’s pretty though!
My initial knee-jerk to this game was "Cool, this is trippy and cool and it sounds like manna from Heaven".
My knee-jerk after reality has sunk in is "Fuck this game".
Just play Lumines II instead and turn the volume down when ‘Hollaback Girl’ comes on.