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Developer: Trackmaster Software
Publisher: Trackmaster Software
Platforms: PS4, Switch, PC, Xbox One
Reviewed On: PC
Release Date: 13/08/2019
Price: £11.39
Review Rush was supplied with a review code.

[ Introduction ]

Set in a computer like dystopia civilisation Exception is a fun, retro, vibrant platformer game presenting at first as a 2D adventure which inevitably deviates into a 3D world. After an old granny’s computer system is infected with a malicious virus cloaking as free software, downloaded because she “likes free stuff”, you as a gallant program must defeat the virus, it’s accomplices and restore order and the smooth process of information in the inner dwellings of a naive granny’s pc.

Exception Review world

[ Gameplay ]

Exception plays like a classic platformer game, complete with the various shaped podiums, spirited jumping, running and a vibrant blue sword for good measure. The game is levelled, and with each level you complete the difficulty raises in terms of enemies, using your skillset, timing and the size of the play area. Each level is timed, if you die the timer resets, this is a nice edition that gives it good replay-ability – it also gives you an incentive to top the leaderboards.

When you finish a level you are presented with your stats, this section of information gives you a breakdown of how well you did, some of its features include:

Your time
Best Time
Attack upgrades
Online Leaderboards
Overall progress

There is also a separate time section which gives a better description of your timings in detail, these take into account “base time”, “penalties”, “bonuses” and “overall time”.

The generation of levels is fast, the play area fades in, and your character is dropped in swiftly, already equipped with their blue sword. The main focus of the game is to obviously reach the end of the level presented by a gold cube, throughout the level however you can collect “bytes” – little microchips which are counted at the end of the level. There are also blue/green objects that you must gather to advance to the next part of that play area when you encounter these the area, “flips” upside down or changes shape and you are dropped in again, this is still the same level, just a different area of it.

The enemies are presented as robot-like creatures and come in various shapes and sizes, some more intense than others. It’s up to you if you want to destroy them all or take out a couple and wall jump to the next section. In addition, you can build your character and unleash forceful combos and attacks to repel the invaders and liberate the system. Just don’t get too carried away by the fast jumping movements and the ease of using your sword to eviscerate everything in site, pay attention to where you are going and what creatures you are attacking, one misstep and you could fall off the edge or plunge into a fragmented computer pool of water.

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[ Visual and Perfomance ]

Exception’s visuals are what you expect for a platformer game, however, for the most part, it manages to push past this commonality in relation to the 3D aspect included in its gameplay – it’s a welcome refresher to an already established gaming genre. The play area itself is innovative and dynamic, the platforms are nestled in what looks like a computer chip, the size and outline of this chip changes with each level – a really nice touch which endorses the theme.
What I really enjoyed was the comic book style cutscenes in the game, complete with classic, colourful illustrations and font to match it’s a different way to show what’s happening in the story. It’s presented in an uncomplicated and straightforward manner so you can easily follow how the story unfolds while gaining an understanding of the “civilisation” inside the computer.

The gameplay itself is fluid, actions, movements and selections are quick. I didn’t encounter any bugs or performance hindrance while playing.

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[ Sound ]

The sound, in Exception, is exceptional (I know – bad joke). The opening music is synth-like, has an 80s feel to it and more importantly it fits in with the robotic/computer theme of the game. Music plays while you power through a level, a nice addition is that it tells you the name of the song and the artist in the bottom left corner.

The little sounds help to build the quality of the game as a whole too, be it the sound your character makes while running, jumping, falling, climbing walls or swinging their sword these details set and develop the tone and story.

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[ Conclusion ]

Having not played a lot of platformer games, I did enjoy Exception. The way it presented the story and tackled the 3D element made it different from most of the platformers I have played. I especially appreciated the music – this added a lot to the narrative, theme and overall game for me. The only gripe I would have with the game is that it can become quite repetitive. I can see how the developers tried to overcome this with the different level designs, enemies, etc. but after a good few levels, it can become quite constant. However, if you are looking for a new-age classic platformer game that will entertain you for a few hours go grab Exception.