You know the drill, you are attending your high school reunion and all of a sudden there is a sudden monster outbreak. Final Exam on the PS3 puts you right in the middle of that common scenario.
Final Exam is a sidescroller that’s starts with little plot yet lots of gameplay from Mighty Rocket Studio. With four playable characters to choose from the start each with their own special skills and upgradeable stats, there is a lot of bang for your buck. The ‘premise’ of the game is four former high school friends are heading back to school for a party when they are met by a monster infestation. Standard.
Each character within the game possesses a skill tree, which can be upgraded by completing certain objectives and clearing each level. These skills are health, damage & grenade/gun damage. You can also upgrade your special abilities too with new combos.
Once the game begins after you have chosen your character, it quickly holds your hand while showing you the basics. Sometimes when you start some games, the handholding aspect can overstay its welcome, thankfully here it manages it just right. Fighting in the game is via combos, which works well and allows moves to be strung together fairly easily with a charge move to belt enemies across the screen giving you some breathing space at the same time. Each character has a gun and grenades also, these come in very handy when being chased or cornered by a horde of monsters although ammo can be in short supply but you can pick up some more throughout the levels.
Final Exam is quite similar in design to Metroid or Castlevania with its level design, as you complete objectives such as taking something from one part of the level to another or simply to find something to assist you. Interestingly, while you are traversing through the levels, enemies come from all angles and if you have to climb a ladder to get to where you need, expect the enemies to follow. Beware picking up an item to take to another part of the level and walking away from any enemies that spawn as they will follow and attack until you stop and kill them.
There is no possible way of losing track of where you need to be within a level either as you have a handy guide pointing in the direction you need too. I found this really useful, as in Super Metroid I got lost quite a lot. Although in Final Exam you don’t have a map, its not needed with your guide anyway.
Graphically the game uses cartoon cuteness for the characters, levels are well drawn and really quite large too. For those completists among you, there are lots to pick up in each level. Don’t expect a lot of one on one enemy fighting as you get set up quite regularly by hordes of enemies which must be defeated in order to progress through the game. This has a tendency to bring a lot of amusing and satisfying moments, using enemies to smash into others, charging your moves to put some space between you all, giving you precious seconds to regroup. Combat is simple but very effective in Final Exam.
There is also both local and online multiplayer in the game, the only difference is more enemies to defeat and some more objectives also to balance out the extra player(s).
There is a demo available on PSN, PC & XBL which allows you to play the tutorial and the first chapter of the game either solo or coop. Overall, Final Exam is a fun game played solo or online or locally with others. Give it a try, you might just like it.