There’s something to be said for retro platformers, especially those released in the days of the NES. Castlevania, River City Ransom, Double Dragon, Metroid, Mega Man, Super Mario Bros…you get the idea. Nowadays we have first person and over the shoulder shooters that have spoiled us with mechanics like regenerating health and infinite continues, just to name a few. In terms of difficulty, Mickey Mousecapades will laugh in the face Call of Duty any day of the week. Writing today’s review brought me back to my childhood a bit and reminded me of just how awesome those times really were.
In “Unepic”, you are put into the rule of Daniel, a sci-fi and game loving guy, who ends up getting drugged by his friends in one of their play sessions and decides to wait out the effects of the hallucinogens by creating his own fantasy world. Before we begin our epic, erm, “Unepic” journey, I’d like to thank Francisco Téllez de Meneses, the creator of “Unepic”, for sending me a free review copy.
The main menu is fairly straight forward. You’ll be able to start a new game, continue an existing one, and have access to a few options that will allow you to customize your play experience. While there isn’t a screen resolution drop down, there is a check box that instructs the system to “respect the ratio”. Left unchecked, the game will stretch to the confines of your monitor but may not look pretty depending on your setup. Keybinding is available, but some keys like “ctrl” or “alt” didn’t work for me. Luckily, the controls in the game aren’t all that complex and I adapted in short order.
You start the game in a view you’d normally expect from a 2D platformer, that is, if your first gaming system wasn’t an XBox 360 or a PS3. Older gamers like myself will appreciate the nods to the mid to late 80’s, early 90’s straight away. Like most modern-day games however, you’re taken through a brief tutorial on how to perform basic actions like opening your inventory, equipping and unequipping items, accessing your map, navigating the environment of the castle you’re in, and more. While the game does have a retro feel to it, I appreciate that the game was modernized to include features that work well in the present day.
During the tutorial, you’ll find and interact with a character in the form of a shadow that ends up possessing you…well, partially. It isn’t able to control your movements like he wanted to, but you can’t ignore his voice as it prattles on inside your head. His ultimate goal will be to kill you and throughout the game, he’ll be lying to you and giving you bad advice in the hopes of accomplishing just that. I found the interactions between the protagonist and shadow humorous and refreshing, especially the references made to other movies and video games. (“Snake?…Snake?…SNAKE!!!”)
What probably appeals to me the most about this game is how much loot that is available to be found. The game boasts one hundred weapons and seventy spells that can be found while on your journey. Each weapon type has its own quirks and the spells are pretty varied in terms of what they can do. Some weapons can be used at range (bow and wands) for example while others may cause bleed effects (swords and axes). You’ll also be able to craft potions and make use of rings, tomes, recipes, and other items that will give your character bonuses in various ways. Acquiring gold will assist you in your efforts to purchase some of these things from vendors that you’ll meet along the way. To help you keep track of all of your items is an interface that allows you to assign some of these items and spells to hotkeys, which are useful for when you’re in a pinch.
The castle itself is pretty vast and is fairly interactive. The game goes out of its way to be thematic, and it shows. The lighter you hold will brighten the area around you, but it won’t be much. Eventually, you’ll find torches and oil lamps on the walls that you can light as you go so that you don’t get lost or forget what you’ve already seen so far. The game will automatically save for you periodically on the easy and medium difficulty settings, though there is a save point where you can save the game manually. Eventually, you’ll find a halo that lets you warp back to that save point…those who have played World of Warcraft will find the halo similar to a hearthstone. There’s also a fast travel system that allows you to get from point A to point B in a jiff, assuming you’ve discovered those locations already.
The game keeps track of your progress by way of statistics, the most useful of them, I feel, being the “explored castle” percentage. This number gives you a good idea of how far you are from the end of the game. Other statistics, like damage done, enemies slain, highest damage done, and damage received will give you an idea of well you are fairing in combat. Whether you are a completionist or just addicted to numbers like myself, the statistics screen will satisfy.
Speaking of numbers, it wouldn’t be an RPG if you couldn’t level up. The game’s character sheet is pretty detailed, giving you the ability to throw points into skills that improve the use of a particular weapon class, constitution, potions, armor, and magic. Leveling up, like in most games, requires the character to fill an EXP bar by way of slaughtering monsters and completing quests. There are even some bosses for you to take down and each one will give you something to think about.
Overall, “Unepic” is the kind of game that will draw you in and compel you to reach the next EXP level before quitting for the night. Its vast array of weaponry and spells will allow gamers of all types to find something that they truly enjoy wielding. For you parents out there, it should be noted that the game does have a good bit of vulgarity, including some “F” bombs. It goes without saying that parental guidance, I believe, is warranted. The game goes for about $10 USD, more than worth the price of what it offers in terms of content. If you are in the mood to get sucked into an RPG and/or enjoy 2D platformers, then this is the game for you.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can find more information on “Unepic” by visiting the following website:
You can help support its journey onto Steam by visiting the game’s Greenlight page here: