GDC 07: Every Extend Extra Extreme Hands-On
Tetsuya Mizuguchi stops by to give us the rundown on Q Entertainment's upcoming Xbox 360 game.
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Hot on the heels of Q Entertainment's announcement of Every Extend Extra Extreme for the Xbox 360, cofounder Tetsuya Mizuguchi stopped by our offices to give us a look at the game. The Xbox Live Arcade game is based on Q's recent PSP release, Every Extend Extra, a trippy action game that revolves around exploding objects and creating chain reactions. Unlike Q's last XBLA release, Lumines Live, E4 won't recycle much of its PSP cousin's content; instead, the game is taking the explosion/chain concept in a slightly different direction.
E4's core concept remains the same: You'll move a cursor around a field of mobile objects trying not to get hit (a la Asteroids) and causing explosions that chain together. Besides the moving objects, your main nemesis is time, as a clock will count down as you play. As objects detonate, they'll leave behind items to collect. Most of the items will be familiar to anyone who's played Every Extend Extra. You'll collect time extensions, "quickens" that speed you up, and pickups that yield point bonuses. A new pickup, called shield, figures in to a new wrinkle on gameplay--a shield surrounds your cursor for a brief amount of time and makes you invulnerable. The shield mechanic, though subtle, totally changes the feel of the game and helps add a new level of urgency to the action. Another tweak has increased the amount of quickens you can now collect up to 20. The chain mechanic has been bumped up and makes it possible for you to chain together hundreds of explosions if you time your detonation carefully.
As far as the game goes, E4 will feature several different modes. The work-in-progress version we tried featured two modes for us to check out. The first is E4, which is essentially the reworked Every Extend Extra. Aside from the gameplay tweaks we mentioned earlier, the major change is the removal of bosses. The mode now revolves around getting high scores and lasting as long as you can, survival mode style. The version we played only had three stages to try, Saturday Night Drive, Fireworks for Lovers, and Infrared Radar Tactics. Saturday Night and Fireworks for Lovers are both taken from Every Extend Extra. Infrared Radar Tactics is a new stage that mimics a radar display and launches tons of crazy neon military craft at you. The other mode is S4, which is a new mode that lets you import your own music into the game, and, similar to what we've seen in Def Jam: Icon, the game synchs the visuals to the beat.
The visuals in the game are in roughly the same abstract vein as the PSP game, although there are some suitably eccentric additions to the mix that fit nicely. The new Infrared Radar Tactics stage's assortment of military aircraft is totally random but works in an odd way. The Xbox 360 hardware has allowed Q to go a little crazy with the particle effects and color, so epileptics beware. The trippy visuals will get some extra pop thanks to the game's 1080p support. Though the stylized graphics aren't pushing the 360 to any intense degree, they're certainly nice to look at and move smoothly.
Based on what we played, Every Extend Extra Extreme is looking like a stylish addition to Xbox Live Arcade. Its fast-paced gameplay and trippy visuals give it an addictive charm that's comparable to the PSP game. The additional modes add a welcome offering of variety, though we'll admit to missing the more structured approach of the PSP's single-player game. Anyone looking for a stylish and addictive experience on Xbox Live would do well to keep an eye out for Every Extend Extra Extreme when it hits the service later this year.