The series plays somewhat like a Shoot 'em Up: You move around a 2D plane dodging enemies and enemy shots. However, your sole means of offense is blowing yourself up. When you blow yourself up, enemies caught in the blast will explode similarly, causing a chain of enemy explosions if done properly.
Of course, exploding costs you a life, so you get very frequent extra lives ("extends" in Japanese shmup terminology), hence the title "Every Extend".
The series spans three games:
- Every Extend (PC, 2004)
The first game in the series, and the only entry to be a Freeware Game.
- Every Extend Extra (PSP, 2006)
Features stage-based gameplay, with each stage having a distinct visual and audio theme.
- E4: Every Extend Extra Extreme (Xbox Live Arcade, 2007)
Does away with the traditional lives system and is more focused on score. Features an endless mode, a time attack mode, a "bring your own music" mode, and a completely different mode called "R4: The Revenge".
The Every Extend series contains examples of:
- Action Bomb: You.
- Blackout Basement: Stage 4 of Extreme. You have to rely on a radar sweep to see enemies, hence the name "Infrared Radar Tactics".
- Cap: In Every Extend and Extra, the maximum number of Quickens you can have is 8, made obvious in Extra by displaying number of Quickens obtained as a eight-segment meter. However, the maximum number of Quickens you can have and still allow Quickens to spawn is five; once you get 6 Quickens, no more will show up, so getting to 8 is a matter of getting 3 Quicken items to be on the screen at once so you can scoop them all up.
- Charged Attack:
- Extra gives the player the ability to hold down any face button to increase the size of the bomb's explosion radius. Holding the L or R button while charging detaches the bomb from the player and leaves it at that spot to continue charging, offering a safe, long-distance attack.
- Extreme changes the formula by utilizing a Charge Meter that reaches its maximum on every beat of the current song.
- Difficulty by Acceleration:
- As you collect Quicken powerups, the speed and quantity of enemies will increase. This does, however, open up more scoring opportunities, so collecting a full stock of Quickens is vital to high scores.
- In Extreme stages 1-3, the music speeds up a few times as you collect Quickens, making it harder to get Beat bonuses. Stage 4, however, remains at a constant tempo.
- Do Well, but Not Perfect: Extra has a "Level Alpha" that's only accessible by clearing every stage with the lowest possible rank.
- Endless Game: E4. The game is easy enough that it's possible to last for hours.
- Every 10,000 Points: That's why it's called "Every Extend". This applies only to the first two games. In E4, finite lives only appear in R4 mode.
- Luck-Based Mission: While E4 has the multipliers for hitting the explode button on the beat, getting a good score, especially in the timed mode, is still largely dependent on getting the right enemy formations to show up, and you don't have direct control over enemy spawning.
- Musical Gameplay: As one might expect from Q Entertainment (whose repetoire inclues Rez and Lumines), Extra adds a musical layer to Every Extend's core gameplay. Extreme takes it further by having gameplay elements be affected by the music, such as the player's explosion strength being determined by how on-beat the player times their attack and the speed at which enemies explode being determined by the speed of the song (which might be detrimental for faster songs).
- Pinball Scoring: Extreme. To illustrate, not only do scores easily go into the billions, but the online leaderboards show logarithmic score graphs.
- Recycled Soundtrack: Extreme uses the exact same title theme as Extra.
- Retraux: Extra has a Classic Mode that recreates the two levels featured in the original Every Extend, low poly count and flat colors included. This also extends to the gameplay mechanics as it disables the player's Charged Attack (and, by extension, the player's ability to detach the explosive core).
- Timed Mission: All stages are timed, often with ways to extend the timer.
- True Final Boss:
- In Every Extend Heavy mode, you normally fight the KW Motor...unless you fulfill certain requirementsSpoilers , causing you to fight another boss instead, AB-A Hedron. The replacement boss not only has very difficult patterns, but also each phase has a minimum chain requirement; if your chain doesn't meet or exceed the requirement when it touches the boss, you won't damage it.
- Extra has Level Omega, which is accessible after clearing the other levels with the highest rank. The boss of this level has pretty dense attack patterns, almost bordering on Bullet Hell in the later half of the fight.
- Vertical Scrolling Shooter: Subverted in that you don't shoot at all; you have to explode to attack. In other words, it's not a shoot-em-up, it's a "blow-em-up".