Unepic, published by Ninagamers Corp., is an RPG inside an RPG. You take the role of Daniel; the protagonist who, in the middle of a game of Dungeons and Dragons, is teleported without explanation to the fantasy world of Harkanan and possessed by a shadow. Awesome.
Not pictured: running through this stupid room forty more times.
Unepic is fun, but kind of a grind. Single player walks a fine line between “fun progression” and “grindfest,” and that line becomes progressively blurrier as you continue playing. I’ve played around four hours of the single player campaign, so I haven’t gotten very far in the story, but already the game is almost like work.
Don’t even bother playing multiplayer, you’ll sink ten times as much effort into gaining levels and items than if you were just playing single player. The dungeons are hard, and leveling is so slow that they never really become any easier. Playing the same long, repetitive, fireball-filled dungeon with my loot-stealing friend rapidly grew tiresome. After four hours, I was level 2 and left with no sense of progression at all.
Spoiler alert: That’s what happens, and it’s hilarious.
Sometimes the writing in Unepic is hilarious, especially when the archaic, fantasy-style speech of the shadow-ghost Zera is juxtaposed against Daniel’s crass and sometimes “ugh”-inducing dialogue. Sometimes the game takes a shot and misses, but you roll your eyes and soldier on.
There are a lot of funny references in the game; most of them work, some of them don’t. Most of the them are funny, context-less bluffs, like when Zera asks you about strong humans from Earth and you tell him about Chuck Norris or Thrall. Some of them are less funny, like the questgiver “Yogurt,” straight out of Spaceballs. That’s a nice homage to popular culture, but it’s just sort of there, with no subtlety or humor.
The secret to this boss is pressing X four hundred times.
The controls of the game can be a little finicky at times. Jump puzzles are 50% skill and 50% “I hope I don’t touch a single pixel of anything near me.” Your character is slow, but not overly so. This makes traveling the dungeon not really fun, especially after you’ve heard the 5-second “Oh shit you totally just died” guitar riff for the fourth time or you’re backtracking for a quest and you’re running back through the same rooms you just went through again.
The combat system exists, and that’s about all I can say for it. There’s a lockon system for bows and spells that works right most of the time, and when you hit a button you swing your axe. Magic is fueled by essences that monsters drop. You do more damage with weapons or spells based on where you put your points from leveling up. Simple.
Did I pass this floating fern already?
Overall, Unepic is a fun game that you can sink a lot of time into if you’re really dedicated. Unfortunately, it’s this dedication that keeps me from coming back to it. I was looking for a charming platformer-RPG with lots of jumping and less grinding, because I love platformers but I’m terrible at RPGs. What I got was an RPG-platformer with lots of grinding and not a lot of jumping. That’s okay, but it’s not for me.