Full disclosure, I barely passed computer science in high school and very quickly learned that I wouldn't be the programming the next big game in this lifetime or the next. Why did I decide to try a game where programming is a big chunk of the gameplay? For science of course!
Joking aside, Exception is a neat — albeit frustrating — puzzle game that has a lot of potential; however, I think you need to be a certain type of gamer to really enjoy the experience.
Now, when I say programming, I don't mean you have to write out complicated code or know any computer language at all, but Exception does make you use a basic "If This, Then That" style of programming to complete each level of the game. Here's a quick breakdown of how the gameplay works:
Each level gives you an objective for your little robot friend to complete in order to progress further in the game, but you don't directly control the robot. Instead, you give it commands and then sit back and watch to see if your commands allow the robot to complete the objective.
Let's take the first level as an example, as pictured above. In the first level, all you have to do is get your robot to the waypoint marked "C". You can command your robot to move from waypoint to waypoint, so in this example you program the robot to move from point "A" to "B" and then to "C". At this point, the game had me excited for what was to come next, but unfortunately what did soured my experience of the game.
Most puzzle games get harder as you progress, but Exception turned it up to 11 way too soon for my liking. By the time I was at level three, I already had the options to program my little robot to do very specific things in a very specific sequence and I already found myself in over my head. There were other robots you had to fight or run away from, and the programming aspect quickly got very complicated to the point where every time I tried to make my robot do what I wanted, I couldn't seem to get it right.
Not for everyone
Exception has a few redeeming qualities. The artwork and design look nice and have a unique feel, the soundtrack compliments the setting very well, and it even has some pretty great visual storytelling that gives the game a light but enjoyable narrative to follow. Heck, if I didn't suck so much at this game I may have even had a better impression of it.
It's only $1.99 and I have seen plenty of other games offer a lot less content for much more money. Whether Exception is worth that price will largely depend on you.
Exception is not a game for everyone — evidently, that includes me — but if you like really challenging puzzle games, and you can think like a computer programmer, Exception may be perfect for you.
The concept is so cool that I really wish I could've enjoyed Exception more than I did, but as of right now, the title of this article should be "Programming puzzlers preplexes pondering player."
Other games this week
I can't write a full review of every game I play, but there are plenty of great games every week that are worth checking out. Here are some other games I enjoyed this week!
Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition: Square Enix has often put out its older games in the series — like Final Fantasy VII — on mobile in recent years, but Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition marks the first time the newest console installment has gotten a mobile version. It has the entire story of Final Fantasy XV, but skimps out on some of the world exploration and side quests that are available in the console version. All in all, you can download the game for free and play the first chapter, but you'll need to dish out $20 for the entire story. Free in the App Store
POKA 2: An arcade driving game where you work as a getaway driver! Pick up your heist crew and escort them to safety all during a chaotic chase against the cops. Complete the heist and earn money to buy new sets of wheels and other fun things. $1.99 in the App Store.
Bring You Home: Unravel the story of Polo, a cute little alien hero who will need to travel across all kinds of worlds in a frenzied chase to rescue his kidnapped alien pet. $2.99 in the App Store.
The Room: Old Sins: The latest installment in The Room series, it's got everything you could possibly want from the franchise. Spooky settings, challenging puzzles, and wonderful graphics don't skip out on this one! $4.99 in the App Store.
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