Exit Path 2
Ever seen a summer action blockbuster? You know how there's usually that scene where the heroes are running down some kind of dangerous industrial corridor and there's this huge swinging blade for no reason at all and the blade's all like "Bwo-bwo-bwo-bwo" and the heroes are leaving behind trails of light and running with the soundtrack all "watchachachacha" and they're diving and jumping all over the place in their sunglasses without a hair getting out of place and you're in your seat going "Whooooooooaaaaa" through a mouthful of popcorn? Actually more like "Whomphpoaoaahamphph" due to the popcorn factor. And generally these films were sequels, right? Well now you can live that cinematic experience for yourself with less possibility of choking to death in Exit Path 2 by jmtb02, the sequel to the run and jump smash hit from last year. Uniplayer and multiplayer return with a vengeance, plus some extra challenges and bonuses available to players who donate to the game in a pay what you like schema.
The controls are the same as the last go around: [arrow] keys or [WASD] to move around, and once you get enough running behind you, a "flow" bar fills up allowing you to make like the Six Million Dollar Man by hitting [spacebar] or [shift]. [Q] toggles quality, and you can control other things like sound through the pause menu via [P]. "Uniplayer" mode is what other games would call single player or campaign, and it's pretty long, enough to interest a player who doesn't care about multiplayer. Multiplayer mode pits five runners from across the internets in a knock down, no holds bar match to see who can run the fastest while wearing a silly hat and carrying a pair of scissors. See, this is where "flair" comes in, little customizables that you unlock through the game, as well as some you get for buying an "exitPASS".
Like all of jmtb02's games, this one has a ton of unlockables and achievements, generally for collecting signs and "flitters" (they look like little fireflies) as well as more humdrum stuff like leveling up or completing areas.
Analysis: Those of you who break out in hives at the thought of microtransactions might be reaching for your antihistamine right now, but you needn't bother. The game implements them in a very lowkey fashion; donate any amount, even a penny, to get in, and for this you are rewarded with 40 pieces of exitPASS-only flair, and ten bonus challenge levels. You don't gain any advantage in multiplayer, so don't get concerned about being at a disadvantage if you can't or don't want to donate.
The bonus challenges are ten short levels that are, frankly, for the hardest of the core, or the corest of the hard, or in any case someone more talented than me. You have thirty seconds to complete a level. The timer restarts when you die before a checkpoint, and rewinds back to the time you hit the checkpoint if you die after a checkpoint, but if you run out of time after a checkpoint, you're sent back to the beginning. If you're too cool to take 30 seconds, there's a further challenge of trying to ace a level in 20 seconds. There's a certain amount of luck or patience involved here as well, because the whirling blades etc keep rotating or moving at all times, and there's usually one exact safe sequence that you have to start from at the beginning. Psst: you can game the system by hitting pause and waiting to unpause at the right point in the sequence.
The game, particularly the multiplayer, can be a little processor-intensive, so those of you on older machines may want to hedge your bets by playing with no other tabs open, leaving off flair, and lowering the quality. The game as a whole is remarkably forgiving to a wide range of skill levels without being too easy for the more hardcore player. Frequent checkpoints, for example, ease the frustration of a player like myself, while timed runs challenge the elite. Even the multiplayer acts on this basis, automatching players based on skills so that races feel competitive. In another sign of its summer blockbuster of Flash-dom status, this game will appeal to a wide variety of people and pack them in the seats. And hey, there's no reason you can't celebrate a win with a little popcorn.