While it certainly doesn't have the Hollywood frenticism of Pursuit Force, I really like Exit, a fascinating 2D puzzle game for the PSP with a mammoth 100 levels. Here, you play an heroic escapologist who must save people from dire situations like fires and floods. You are Mr. ESC, a wispy, caffeine gulping hero who needs to save just about everyone, from the young to the infirm. In the game's early stages, everything's easy enough as you learn to save people from burning buildings and the like. You're something like a 9-11 hero meets Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
Once you're at one with the mechanics, the puzzles can be trying and, occasionally, full of tribulation. In other words, they're fun but maddening: especially when the room you're in goes completely dark. Handy maps help you negotiate the levels, but there are constant obstacles along the way like live wires that will electrocute you. Beyond the game play, the character rendering is inspired and hand drawn, a few steps up from stick figures. And yet, you find them cute, powerful, and compelling as you always try to find the exit and become the hero. And you know what? With the right writer, it'd make a terrific movie.
Both Pursuit Force and Exit prove one thing: the games for the PSP are getting better and better. And that's great news for handheld fans who suffered through the first year of the PSP as dozens of paltry offerings were released. They should not have seen the light of day. But that's the game industry: You get the cutting edge hardware early. Then you have to wait for what seems like an interminable amount of time for the best game technology to catch up.
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