Exit DS

Get action hero status with brains not brawn

Admit it - you've daydreamed about being a hero. About being the one who saves a small child and their puppy from a burning building before legging it just before the roof is blown into space.

Which is why Exit has such a likeable premise. Playing as Mr ESC you charge into one building after another, locating and rescuing trapped victims and clearing a path for them to the exit.

Its concept is high adrenaline and each of the game's 100 levels - set in ten different scenarios, each with unique hazards such as fire, ice and water - comes with a time limit as well as head-scratching obstacles.

But, surprisingly, Exit isn't a mad dash from A to B. Instead it's a slow-paced game that demands precision and consideration.

Control calamity

It's an approach that doesn't seem to fit at first until you realise Exit is a puzzler, not an action or platform game.

Its grid-based levels are a bit like sudoku puzzles - you try moving things about then suddenly everything slots into place.

Every block you push has implications and be prepared for a lot of re-starting, because there's no going back once you've gone wrong.

This is part of Exit's charm - and it has plenty of it. The cel-shaded visuals are stylish too, and lots of touches make you smile - like the chubby victims who fall on their faces when you get them to climb something.

Something that could divide opinion are Exit's controls, as while the stylus-based system suits the game, Mr ESC often mis-reads instructions.

The game's laidback pace stops this being an issue, however, because these mistakes are rarely irreversible.

Besides, everything else is well crafted and the bite-size puzzles are perfect for DS.

The verdict

Once you understand what Exit is all about and adapt to its slow speed and unusual controls, it becomes a pleasure to play. This is a brilliant puzzler in an action guise.

Nintendo DS