UnEpic – UnFulfilled…
As history tells, I run low on money and spend what money I do have on more games that I may never play…. Curse you, Humble Bundle!
This most recently purchased bundle featured lots of games which visually appealed to me, so I convinced myself to buy it. It also had Outlast… Heh…. Yeaeeaaah… I just bought it for Outlast… ^^”
Even so, the other games did look intriguing, so I decided to jump into them first. This leads us onto….
You move through the spooky castle above, slaying minions and avoiding traps as you collect an array of items to help you. Unlike Metroid or Castlevania, you also have an experience bar and get skill points to scatter across a multitude of proficiencies which grant you extra damage or access to higher-level items as the game progresses.
The pixel-art style is nice and the soundtrack is pretty good too.
Unfortunately, the story is pants and nearly every line of dialogue sickens me to my stomach.
Instead of giving you a standard fantasy game, you get to play as an RPG player who gets transported to a real castle while going to the toilet. Rather than being scared, confused or respectful to his sudden change of circumstances, he assumes that his RPG friends drugged him and this is all a kay-razy hallucination… Better get wise-cracking!
And this is was really lowers the game for me. The writing, when on form is good. But it will soon ruin all it’s progress with a torrent of pop-culture references and “geek-culture” slurs… This wouldn’t even be so bad if they were relevant… Metal Gear Solid references aren’t relevant to a Fantasy game and it wasn’t even said by the stupid fourth-wall-breaking “protagonist.” Urgh….
I’m probably being a little bit harsh but the references broke the immersion for me, though that may be the point. But when I play a role playing game, I wanna be in the role of the character and part of the world that they are in. I don’t feel UnEpic delivers on this, myself, which is a real shame because the actual world is pretty cool.
As shown above, at the start screen, you are within a castle nestled in the clouds.
After exploring a small area, you soon find out that the castle is acting as a prison for a god from the world of mortals and you take it upon yourself to free him. Further exploration leads you to discover more gods imprisoned and you learn more about the world you are in.
The visuals are great and the lighting effects really help to build the sense of a sprawling castle left to exist by itself.
In my opinion, the gameplay is a little clunky. It feels like the designer was a little lost between a traditional RPG and the MetroidVania concept and tried to jam both together to cover all bases. I feel that this doesn’t work in the game’s favour. Using arrow keys to move is fine, if you aren’t using the *up* key to jump. Why WASD wasn’t available, I’m not sure…?
The game offers an extensive inventory/crafting/levelling system which I found a little overwhelming to start, but came to appreciate as I grew accustom to it. That being said, having a crafting system that is only accessible at certain, fixed locations felt a bit too unintuitive and unnecessarily restrictive. I know that potions can’t just be brewed on the fly, but when they are SO vital to your continued existence, it feels clunky to walk all the way back to the first vendor to use their cauldron. Maybe I missed something, but I explored those rooms pretty well!
The bosses are cool and mix up the gameplay enough to keep each area unique and exciting. Combat is simple and certain weapons are good against certain enemy types. That being said, I found a legendary Orc Battle Axe and I have been set for life. Well, lets just say it was a looooooong time before I needed to switch up my main weapon.
I am a little lost as to the “MetroidVania” tag the game has. Unlike the aforementioned genre, the game doesn’t see you gaining new abilities in the same way as Metroid or Castlevania. You level up your stats like a standard RPG and you acquire items and weapons in the same fashion. The only way you unlock new areas is through finding keys; fairly unadventurous. Maybe it’s just me and MetroidVania applies to 2D exploration games… Does Terraria count as a MetroidVania game then? =S
Another aspect the game takes from RPGs is a small “choice system” which is implemented in a VERY binary fashion. These choices are generally do something or don’t do something and can vary from gaining bonus quests to instant death without any warning; that being the first choice presented.
Now, the binary choices aren’t an issue to me. I don’t expect Mass Effect dialogue trees in my cheap Indie title.
Instant death without any *real* warning other than a potentially evil spirit telling you to take the gold feels pretty cheap. You have no reason not to take the gold at that point, so that makes me dislike you more between this and the pop-culture references.
My favourite thing about the game has to be getting achievements. While the general concept of achievements is a little lame and drawn out, that can all be dismissed when the achievement notification is accompanied by a pair of skeletor-voice laughing skulls!
All in all, UnEpic isn’t a bad game. It offers a massive fantasy experience for a small indie title and is REALLY well priced at 99p on Steam. Ignore the dialogue and take the game as a 2D fantasy dungeon crawl and you have yourself a pretty nice game, all things considered. It wasn’t what I expected and doesn’t quite deliver for me, but you could do MUCH worse. =]
Ellie has started to get the hang of playing games through Steam and totally screen-capped all these pictures herself. That being said, she didn’t make the game and doesn’t want you to think otherwise. Those skulls though; she wishes she had produced that concept, it rocks! =D
Last played, but not completed, on 03/04/15 for Mac.