E3 06: Every Extend Extra Impressions

PSP music shooter from Lumines creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Every Extend Extra is part Rez, part Fantavision. We have a hands-on with the game at E3.

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LOS ANGELES--Q! Entertainment's Lumines fused thumping techno music and trippy visuals to great effect. That game has not only spawned a follow-up, but Every Extend Extra, which promises a similar audio-visual experience. Like Lumines, EEE is incredibly simple to play but very difficult to describe, but if Fantavision and Rez were to have a lovechild, this game might be the result.

Every Extend Extra shares many elements with Lumines, especially as the gameplay becomes more frantic as you progress. You are put in control of a detonator as it travels through a tunnel, with formations of crystal-like spheres flying through the air. The aim is to avoid these crystals and trigger the detonator when there are lots of crystals in proximity, causing a chain reaction that will leave bonuses. The game is basically based around limited reserves--the clock is constantly ticking down while your movements are relatively slow. You have to bomb as many green, red, and yellow spheres as possible--for more bombs, greater speed, and time respectively--without actually touching them. Periodically, a boss will appear who will be even more challenging to avoid, and these bosses will steal your power-ups to make the task even harder. It's a simple but highly challenging design brief, that's brought to life in a glorious mixture of technicolour visuals.

The game is 80 percent complete at this stage, and only the single-player game was available to play at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. We played through a couple of stages, and while it's nowhere near as simple or familiar as Lumines, the addictive qualities are already apparent. What's surprising is how frantic the game starts out, and the amount of explosions that quickly built up on screen reminded us of the frantic pace of Geometry Wars. The controls are incredibly simple, and you can use either the analogue or digital pad to move around; it will be interesting to see if the frantic pace of the game will attract as many casual gamers as Lumines.

The game is being published by Buena Vista but was being shown on the Sony PlayStation Portable stand at E3. We spoke to a representative who said that the game is currently being scheduled for an early 2007 release but could come out as soon as October 2006 to coincide with Lumines II. We'll keep a close eye on this highly original action puzzle game and let you know how it's developing.

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jakeboudville

sounds fun