Review – Final Exam

By: Louis Edwards

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It’s time for your Final Exam, but can you pass the test? Is the game even worth your test taking time? What kind of a test is it anyway?

Read our review to find the answers to most of these question.

 

When we first heard about Final Exam, we thought it would be some sort of test prep application to help get us ready for real world testing for somewhere like Phoenix Online or maybe even a top tier school like UC San Diego. Much to our surprise, upon downloading and launching the game, our assumptions were wrong and it’s actually a 2D side scrolling beat-em-up game.  (OK, I have to admit I saw the screenshots and I knew it had nothing to do with being a Phoenix)

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Final Exam for PC, PSN and Xbox LIVE is a pure, action-rich 2.5D side-scroller, drenched in the blood and caustic humor inspired by the teen horror movie genre.

On the way to their former high-school for rocking what should have been the party of their life, four long-time buddies
find themselves stranded in a deserted town swarmed by aggressive and monstrous creatures. No horror flick cliché is safe from the chainsaw of the developer, Mighty Rocket Studio. It’s a wild mash-up of monsters, baseball bats, flamethrowers, and references to both video games and teen horror movies.

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The game play can be fast and furious, but it’s always fun. Throw in some real friends, either online or on your couch with another controller or three, and this game really takes off. There are four characters to choose from, and each one has unique specialties and abilities that go hand-in-hand with the other characters. Score multipliers and combos can add to the frantic game play, and you’ll be able to upgrade your tools and toys along the way to make these combos and multipliers even better.

Once you pass a level that doesn’t mean you are done with it forever, you can always circle back around again after you have upgraded your stuff and see if you can top your own high score. this adds to the replayability of the game, and it can also give you a different experience altogether if you use a different character for each play through of that level. The layout and design of each level is well thought out, and each character might approach a level differently.

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The upgrade system gives the game a bit of an RPG feel. As you beat each level, killing and maiming along your way, you’ll earn skill points which can then be used to acquire new skills, or upgrade already learned skills. This adds more depth to the game and also adds to the replayability since, as we mentioned before, you can go back to previous levels and try them again.

Each level is designed in a way that might seem like a straight forward, left to right, linear experience. You won’t reach your full potential though unless you realize that this isn’t the case. Ladders can lead you to hidden collectibles that can give you extra skill points as well as hidden weapons that you’ll find very useful, if you can find them at all. Again, replayability is enhanced and adds to the overall time you can spend playing this fun game.

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The weapons of the game were well thought out, and very creative.

The only real complaint for Final Exam would be the shallow combo system. This being a beat-em-up style game, you would think a more creative combo system would have been employed. Three hit combos can get a bit monotonous at times, and takes away from the overall experience. It does make it pretty easy to master the art of combat in the game and there are only three basic attacks: regular attack, hit into the air, and ground slam. You can sort of juggle an enemy in the air, and that might take a little bit of practice, but is still pretty easy to master.

The game looks good, but isn’t genre defining or breath taking. This being a rather small downloadable title, with a pretty low price point, the graphics are about what you would expect. They aren’t hard on the eyes at all and spending a few hours playing the game shouldn’t set off any eye strains or head aches.

Final Exam is a great little game with a low price tag. for $9.99 on the PSN, Steam, and XBLA, it’s well worth the price.

The Final Verdict

ProsCons

  • Well designed levels
  • Linear travel is possible, but stepping off the beaten path is where you need to be.
  • Cool weapons

  • Shallow combo system
  • Needs more fighting moves

VerdictA fun little game at a decent price
Rating
80%
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