When I heard that EPOCH. was made using the UnrealEngine, the same engine used to create the high-resolution graphics of the award winning Infinity Blade apps, I was excited to give it a try. While I’ve always enjoyed shooter games and great graphics, my one concern was that the game might have an underdeveloped storyline. Some games can still be fun with a weak storyline if the gameplay is captivating enough, so my question was, what approach did the developers of EPOCH. choose to take?
Playing as a robot soldier in a post-apocalyptic world, this game fits in with so many doomsday games that are popular right now. So, was it all explosions and stunning details but lacking in depth? Read on to find out.
The first thing I noticed was just as I expected. The graphics are brilliant with every level beautifully designed to showcase the chaos and destruction of each individual world. With excellent textures, lighting and plenty of variation between each map, EPOCH. is visually pleasing. Also, the slow-motion explosions are pretty awesome.
The touch controls are pretty easy to pick up, too. Your robot is given three positions to shoot from at each point throughout the levels — right, left and center. Swipe left and right to move between the positions or swipe up when placed on either side to super move (it looks like a jumping cartwheel) across to the other side. Tap on an enemy to target them and you’ll fire automatically until they’re dead. Swipe down to take cover and up again to come out of cover and continue attacking.
You will automatically reload when your gun runs out of ammunition and ammo is unlimited. To time your shots a little better you can swipe down when in cover to manually reload.
Uncovering the Story
At the beginning you’re given fairly little information as to what has occurred and why you are fighting these other robots. The only orders you have are to protect Princess Amelia who is in the Cryo Tower. After completing each level, data intercepts, transmissions from before the war, are recovered from various characters. You also take a piece of equipment off of dead robots at the end of each round to upgrade your armor or weapons.
As you gather new data intercepts, the pieces of the story begin to come together more. I was surprised to find that the complete storyline isn’t revealed after beating the game in easy mode. You have to play in easy mode first before continuing onto the other difficulty levels. But the storyline picks up right where it left off in the subsequent difficulty levels with new data intercepts being revealed. I appreciated that the storyline avoided most of the cheesy cliches that too many apocalyptic games fall prey to.
Fun With Explosives
Every good shooter game comes with great weapons. While I didn’t get overly excited about any of the weapons in EPOCH., there was enough of a selection to keep things interesting. From the campaign guide you can enter the scrapyard to equip yourself in five different categories. You get to choose your weapons, armor, counters, missiles and boosters.
Countermeasures are different types of grenades with special abilities you can employ against enemies such as stun, slow target and explosive. Boosters are special abilities that help by giving you advantages like field repairs and impedance reduction. The counters, missiles and boosters all recharge so you can use them multiple times throughout each map.
Before playing a level, pay attention to the symbols shown on the Telemetry screen on the campaign guide. You’ll want to equip your armor and weapons based on the indicated badges. The symbols on the left show what type of damage your enemies will use and the ones on the right show what types of weapons they are resistant to.
As I mentioned above, you pick up equipment after every round and you can also buy items using credits you accrue based on your performance in each level. As in many games, you can also purchase additional credits. While you can do without them at the beginning, once you get past the first few levels you’ll need to use your boosters, missiles and counters to defeat enemies and move on.
You can pick up extra credits by firing at destructible objects in each level, that is, if you can find the time between waves of oncoming enemies.
It’s the Little Things
It’s the little things that make this game stand out at it’s price tag of only $2.99. The dramatic soundtrack makes you feel like you’re in a thrilling movie trailer. Also, I appreciated that the storyline doesn’t give everything away all at once. After “beating” the game on easy, you’re even given a data intercept in binary code for all the nerds out there. Yeah, I admit it — I Googled the code to translate the message.
My first time dying wasn’t until level seven on easy, but the artificial intelligence quickly improves when you move to playing in medium and the final boss of the first stage had four weapons that needed to be destroyed. Once I moved onto medium difficulty and got about halfway through, it took multiple tries to complete a level. Thankfully the days of having a limited number of lives are over, so I was never sent back to very beginning.
A Sequel Please?
Overall, the game is highly entertaining and worth the time. If there’s one complaint I would have, it’s that the gameplay can get repetitive after awhile. Other then that, the video animations are pretty cool, the action is really fun, and the increase in difficulty throughout provides for a good challenge.
To be honest, I enjoyed the game so much that I would gladly pay more for a longer version with a little more variation. I’d be interested in seeing if the guys over at Uppercut Games will be releasing sequels to EPOCH. in the future, as I think this could be a really successful iPad series.
Have you played EPOCH.? Do you like playing shooter style end-of-the-world games?