I think we all remember a time when we played Dungeons and Dragons, had to stop for a toilet break, only to find ourselves trapped in a magical worlds dungeons. UnEpic likes to harness this shared experience and presents it in game form and if the premise sounds dumb, the game runs with that and makes for a funny juvenile time.
From the outset and the cover art, it is clear what the developers main intention is. They have tried to create a NES inspired metroidvania title that feels like a game that could have come straight out that generation, if that generation had slightly more powerful graphical capabilities. Its super simple pixelated style is aesthetically surprisingly nice to look at and at times felt like I was revisiting a game from that era.
The gameplay also feels straight out of that time period and between that and the inventory management it is accurate to a fault. I am all for throwbacks and inspiration from classic style games but some things belong in the past and weird grid style item inventory belong there. It is not bad, just felt really old. When I play an older game I allow for things looking and acting a bit off, but in a newer game I just could not give the same allowances.
The humour on the other hand is so juvenile and silly that it is fantastic and about the only reason I powered through the game. Although some of the language and pixelated genitals have been removed for the PS4 version, it is still packed to the brim with stupidity and hilarity. Added to that is the silly premise of Daniel accidentally finding himself in a magical dungeon where a dark spirit tries to take him over and gets stuck in his body trying to trick you into killing yourself to escape. The humour is constant and will slap you in the face, but it makes the game worth finishing.
Unfortunately the game is about twice as long as it should be. Most of the things that annoyed me about the gameplay really only started to kick in after quite a few hours and once it kicked in I was unable to push it from my mind. If the game was around ten hours long it probably would have been a tighter experience and the gameplay would have stayed charming rather than getting boring and annoying.
All in all I definitely did not dislike UnEpic, it was a good game and they did a great job of capturing its old classic style and aesthetic. Unfortunately due to its length I did not walk away as happy as I could have. If had been shorter I would have been drooling over the charm the game has, but by the end I was bored of the gameplay and the humour was the only thing that kept me going. On the flip side if the super old style RPG gameplay is something that tickles your fancy and will not annoy you the way it annoyed me you could do worse than picking up UnEpic.
Released: April 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PS Vita
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Developer: A Crowd of Monsters
Publisher: A Crowd of Monsters