One Epic Game
| One Epic Game
Hyperbole has an irritating tendency to backfire. If developers are going to play the huckster routine and make bold claims about their software, they’d better have the evidence to back it up.
Take One Epic Game, for example. Failure to deliver would invite the pun 'One Epic Fail'.
Fortunately, the game has taken the low road to our hearts and wallets. It uses satire and parody as a framework for an endless-running game, and for the most part it works. This is post-modern entertainment festooned with zombies, aliens, knights in armour, nazis, cows, and damsels in distress.
Just don’t think about it too much. The self-referential implications of a game that makes fun of genre excess while simultaneously embodying it might tie your brain into knots.
Our hero is a muscle-bound clod with spiky hair, a metal visor, and what looks like a metal goatee. He automatically runs at a constant pace through each level, and all you have to do is make him jump or fire at the appropriate moments.
Thrown into his path are some of the aforementioned novelties, together with a randomly generated sequence of platforms and pitfalls to work through. Run into a bad guy and you lose a heart, but fall down a shaft or get caught behind an obstacle and it’s Game Over.
One Epic Game isn’t strictly an endless-runner, however, since you're presented with a series of episodic missions to complete. Surviving for as long as you can is but one of many goals you’re striving towards (although an Endless Dash mode is included).
Power-ups are thrown into spice things up further, but strictly speaking they’re not essential to play the game. The weapons are the standard battery of machine-gun, shotgun, rocket launcher, and so forth, but there’s also a passing reference to Doom with the inclusion of a BFG.
Other power-ups help your score, health, and speed through the game. On the topic of scores, you can rack up combo multipliers depending on many enemies you kill without taking a hit. These are especially important when playing a mission with a score-based objective.Epic joke?
Beyond the gameplay itself, the most notable thing about One Epic Game is the humour.
The script is constantly breaking the fourth wall to make jokes about gaming stereotypes. The lead character expresses irritation over having to fight yet another zombie outbreak, for example, before passing comment on the ridiculous design of his clothes.
Throwing in so many different genre tropes and visual styles is a risky manoeuvre. One Epic Game has got everything in it but the kitchen sink, and sometimes it threatens to collapse under the weight of its own silliness.
It’s a credit to the underlying game mechanic that it manages to hold up, and provide both a challenging diversion and the occasional laugh.
We can’t imagine what title the developer will pick for the sequel - One Epic-er Game? Two Epic Games? - but we'd be very happy to see one.