April 10, 2007 - Bad dates, boring meetings and the rapid descent of a capsized ocean liner: just three situations proving tricky for self-extraction. In an ideal world, someone somewhere would offer some kind of dial-an-escapologist service, meaning we'd never have to climb through toilet windows, feign a family emergency or endure Kate Winslet for more than a nano-second ever again.
Sadly, it's not an ideal world - and that's why we play videogames! Thankfully, what with there being a game out there to satisfy almost every conceivable fantasy we might have (apart from that one with the snowboard and kazoo), there's Exit 2 - following the exploits of one-man rescue team for hire, Mr. ESC. Of course, it's the sequel to Taito's surprisingly entertaining PSP puzzler - a game which managed to divide opinion quite sharply, thanks to its fiendishly imaginative level design and some overly finicky controls.
Companions like to say the same sample every second or so. Let them die.
We'll save you some time here - don't expect too many revelations if you already know which side of the fence you were on first time around. To recap though, as with the original, Exit 2's one hundred levels (plus additional downloadable content) task you with rescuing a set number of 'companions' from disaster before the time limit runs out. The series' puzzle component is present in the form of intricately designed levels, requiring careful navigation and the exploitation your companions' varying abilities. At it's simplest, the idea is to traverse a level, nudging your companions into action, then guiding the pre-specified quota to the Emergency Exit at the end of an area within the time limit.
Behold: a new level theme. Elsewhere, find items to overcome obstacles.
Once again, levels are packed with all manner of obstacles - ranging from movable blocks, seemingly impassable gaps, scale-like platforms affected by weight to ladders and ropes. While Mr. ESC can tackle most of this himself, some situations demand careful people management and multi-tasking for success. You see, each type of companion you encounter - be they rotund adults, youths, children and the incapacitated, or the new "macho" and canine comrades - has his or her own unique abilities. Children, for instance, can squeeze through small gaps and move across weight-restricted walkways, while dogs can swim or bound over large chasms. Meanwhile, machos are able to perform manouvers normally requiring two people - such as pushing large blocks.
While many tasks can be accomplished by controlling Mr. ESC directly, later levels demand the full use of your companions' abilities in order to reach your goal. For instance, although you can reach a comrade yourself, it might require the strength of a macho to push a block into place and create a step to get them down from a high ledge. To this end, Exit features a point and click-style command interface for interacting with your companions. Using the PSP's nubbin, you can highlight a comrade and click in a new spot to direct their movement, pick up an object or trigger a switch. Needless to say, careful assessment, pre-planning and execution are the order of the day in Exit 2.