Exception analysis, a fast platform that follows in the wake of Super Meat Boy

Written by Kamran Haider

The exception is a direct and fast platform with clear influences on the created style of Super Meat Boy. We will cross up to 128 levels in this virtual world set in the bowels of a personal computer. But do you meet as a gender representative? We check it in his analysis.

The other day Mark Brown published one of his best videos analyzing why Celeste is one of the most accurate and best-planned platforms of recent times. I watched the video with enthusiasm since the work of Matt Makes Games, although I recognize playing it late, left me totally in love. But I was not surprised by the praises. Although Celeste may seem like a simple premise, anyone who has followed the work of Matt Thorson and his team can verify that Celeste’s structure is exquisite, allowing the player to plan his route and offering precise controls and unique command response. There is a great video of the GDC where Matt himself analyzes several examples of how Celeste was created for the most curious.

What clarifies the analysis of the great exponents of the genre is that, despite the simpleness of its mechanics, it responds to a series of subtleties not so easy to achieve. In Exception, a fast platform that follows the path taken by Super Meat Boy among other influences, all this precision can get lost in its 128 levels. The great, almost magical, to achieve in a vertiginous game of this type, is that the challenge is always high, but the precision in the controls is also kept accurate. In this way, even if you die, again and again, you will always feel that the fault is yours because the game is offering you a character with a millimeter control, capable of maneuvering in the air, dominating its acceleration and braking and its sliding on the surfaces. But in Exception, as the challenge grows, we notice how the control, or rather the accuracy, decreases.

Exception can serve as sustenance for those avid players on the most challenging side of the genre.

The first clue is given by mobile platforms that bounce our character. There we realize that, although the inertia in the jumps is well achieved, it is really difficult to correct our trajectory once we have jumped. We are able to make great leaps and rebound nimbly through the walls, almost as in the classic N ++, but not so much when landing on the ground, so many times we will be forced to repeat some of the most focused levels in the precision that in the speed of the route.

virtual platforms

Exception, virtual platforms

There are other mechanics that work better. For example, when the game twists its levels, turning the two-dimensional space into three-dimensional. By touching some floating orbs, the environment can rotate and the perspective change, although this tends to obey more a way of continuing with the level than a puzzle in itself, it helps to contemplate the levels with a certain layer of complexity in its design. However, it is difficult to reach this perspective, because there is no way to see the whole level at a glance, nor the dangers that are ahead, and often the more complex phases fall into an uneven trial-error where we are forced to die several times to learn the circuit, instead of seeing the problem in advance to anticipate.

Fans of challenges and this type of game will want to move on, even if it is because of that love of the genre or because of the sheer tenacity they cause since they incite us to overcome all their challenges. But the truth is that Exception does not make things easy. The problems mentioned are joined by a design that does not help, which is not aesthetically attractive, with a slightly harmonious range of colors and surfaces that do not help identify hazards or the paths to follow. Many enemies are willing without ton or are, without even supposing a serious threat, while the really dangerous elements make the screen pixelate when they harm us, to the point that, when you are at a touch of death, it becomes completely blurred, which makes the game more uncomfortable than risky.

The exception is aware that the story here is the least important thing, but still, it seeks in each of its 16 worlds to tell, in a very optional way, a small story. It is an old woman’s computer, which, despite all the warnings of the operating system, decides to install extremely harmful software on her computer for the simple reason that it is free, which destabilizes all the computer’s defenses and threads. So we will see how this apocalypse unleashed in the guts of the computer affects a series of characters who see, in passing, their own existence and purpose beyond the program they have entrenched in their code.

The exception can serve as sustenance for those avid players on the most challenging side of the genre. As we overcome their first, really easy worlds, the challenge is gradually emerging. But while the great exponents of the genre always produce their stimulating challenge based on precise control and superlative mechanics, everything here is less polished, to the point that part of that challenge involves anticipating the lack of calibration in the jumps, character movements, and level obstacles. There are much better examples, such as the games cited in the analysis, but if you have already played them all, Exception may serve to calm your cravings for demanding platforms.

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Although Exception offers a good challenge in a genre like that of challenging platforms, it fails to live up to the great exponents due to a lack of control and response in their most complicated situations. Although you neglect certain aspects of design, you can quench the appetite of avid fans of these games, thanks to their huge number of levels.

  • 128 levels, in increasingly complex worlds.
  • Some levels and mechanics very well raised.
  • Control is inaccurate in the toughest situations.
  • Slowdowns (at least in the Switch version) at some important times.
  • The visual design is very unattractive and does not allow the elements of the stage to be correctly identified.

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Kamran Haider

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