A unique premise and gameplay mechanic help to set Exorcist apart from the crowded puzzle genre on the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. This title utilizes both the touch and accelerometer capabilities of the iPhone/iPod Touch quite well and features worldwide online rankings. Exorcist is limited to only one game mode, though because of this it becomes a great short-session game.
Exorcist falls directly into the category of game that is easy to pick up and difficult to master. There is really only one goal to achieve and one mechanic to grasp, but doing so requires quick reflexes, some strong hand-eye coordination and a bit of brain muscle. I have never played a game that uses a mechanic quite like Exorcist, but I will do my best to explain it. More…
The play field in Exorcist is a circle broken up into quadrants. The main goal is to fill each quadrant with four components; a Bat, an Eyeball, a Spider and a Snake to create spells. These components will appear in buckets around the circle and you move them into the quadrants by pressing one of four buttons located in the corners of the screen and then tilting your device towards the component you want to capture as a wand spins around the circle like the hand of a clock. Trust me; it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks in writing.
The components will appear as one of three colours and if you are able to fill a quadrant with four components of the same colour you will receive a score bonus and gain a life. Free lives will also appear as a heart in one of the buckets from time to time. Lives are lost when you leave a component in a bucket for too long. At first, this is a non-issue, but as the game speeds up it can be difficult to match components in time.
A Mana Jar will also be filled when you fill a quadrant with four components of the same colour. Once you fill half of the Mana Jar with one colour, it can only be filled with that colour. You can also touch a half-filled jar to empty it and start filling it with a different colour.
Once the Mana Jar is filled, you can touch it and use one of three spells depending on the colour that it was filled with. Yellow is Time Mana, which slows the game down for ten seconds. Blue Explosive Mana clears all the quadrants and green Mana replaces all of the components in buckets with a Skull that can be used as a wild card.
The control method in Exorcist does take some getting used to and there were a few times when I first started playing that I felt overwhelmed and a bit frustrated. It only took about half an hour to really get used to it though and started to feel quite natural at that point. The game is best played with your device held flat and it will be calibrated every time you start or continue a game.
The art style in Exorcist is what I would describe as cartoon horror. The play field is surrounded by a scene featuring a spooky, glowing house some old-looking trees and even a headstone. The component shapes are easily distinguishable from each other and their bright colours stand out against a dark background.
The music and sound effects in Exorcist really help to establish a mood and suit the theme of the game perfectly. The production on the music and sound effects is above average, featuring rich, full, warm-sounding tones. My only complaint is that the sound level is a bit soft overall and I needed to turn up my device quite high to appreciate it. You can also listen to music from your device’s library while retaining the game’s sound effects should you choose.
It is difficult for me to award Exorcist an above-average score simply because there is not a whole lot to it. What is there however is refined and well done and I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with the game quite a bit. I find myself getting a bit farther every time I play and the action is fast enough to keep me playing when I lose; a good sign for any puzzle game. Exorcist is most enjoyable in short sessions and is perfect for a short bus or train ride. Just be sure to look up once in a while so you don’t miss your stop.