It's likely that at some point, you've received a panicked phone call from a parent, grandparent, or older relative about their computer suddenly acting up. You've then likely scolded them because they've contracted some sort of virus or malware from clicking on an unknown email attachment, or pop-up, or from downloading some kind of free diner management game.
Exception is an action platformer about cleaning up the messes of people who probably shouldn't have a computer, and doing so by jumping and slashing every evil bit of code you can find.
Grandma Done Blown Up The World
Exception posits that inside every computer is a living city filled with little workers who process every bit of information and worship their user like a god. The "god" of this computer just happens to be a little old lady, nicknamed Alice34, who after being tempted by a pop-up promising free software, clicks it with reckless abandon, and wreaks untold destruction upon the civilization inside. So, essentially the game is saying that each time your Mee-Maw or Aunt Carol screws up their laptop by clicking on a, ad to try to win a free iPhone, they're committing technological genocide.
Your character is a little digital person who has the job of fixing the problem Alice34 has created. You do so by jumping across several different levels, and hacking and slashing everything you see. The game moves very well, and every movement, jump, or sword slash feels good. There's a decent amount of variation in the levels, and every so often the game throws a new obstacle or mechanic to overcome, which helps things feel fresh. You also receive a star ranking at the end of each level, and you get a higher score for completing the levels quickly. You know, standard platformer stuff.
Jeff Bridges Would Be Proud
The difficulty never gets too hard, but it's also not so easy that you'll waltz through the game, which is kind of a sweet spot for a platformer. There are also collectible "bytes" in every level, since games like this need to have a secret of some kind. These can be used to upgrade new moves that are acquired by playing through the game, although most of the time, I honestly didn't find much use for these moves, which is a shame.
The graphics are definitely going for a kind of Tron-meets-Geometry Wars kind of vibe. Lots of neon colors, and particle effects that look nice, although very familiar. In fact, this seems like a game that would have been right at home on Xbox Live Arcade, along with titles like 'Splosion Man or Outland.
If I had one major complaint about Exception, it would be that it starts to blur together after a while. A lot of the areas have a very similar look and feel, and while you get some changes to the format here and there, it mostly feels like you're just playing different versions of the same level. It became pretty redundant by the end, and I was starting to lose interest. It might be the type of game that's best enjoyed in small bursts, with some breaks in between.
Definitely More Exciting Than Norton Anti-Virus
Exception is a pretty fun, although also pretty familiar platformer that maybe could have used a few more tweaks to its formula to help it stand out. The story is an interesting concept, although it's also very slight. It actually has so little faith in you caring about the story that whenever a new cutscene is unlocked, the choice to watch it later is the default option. Overall I had a good time with it, and action platformer fans should get some enjoyment out of it as well.
If you want to know what hell your relatives are putting their little computerized cities through, Exception is a good peek at the horrors of the digitized world.
3.5 Out Of 5 Stars
A copy of Exception was purchased on PC by TheGamer for this review. Exception is available now for PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4.