Unepic Review – Wii U eShop
Unepic was released on the Wii U on January 16, 2014 – thanks to publisher EnjoyUp Games – though it has been around for a couple of years on the PC. Unepic was created in Spain by Francisco Téllez de Meneses – amongst a variety of collaborators. It originally took two years of work to create the game, though the Wii U version of the game was built to take advantage of the Wii U’s unique gamepad.
Unepic tells the story of a normal guy named Daniel who stumbles upon a trap-filled castle during a potty break in the middle of a Dungeons and Dragons game. If that sounds slightly silly and humorous, well, you’d be right. Inside the castle, Daniel is possessed by a shadow, though this shadow cannot control Daniel. Instead, he accidentally traps himself inside Daniel’s body and has to wait for Daniel to die to be released. This leads to more humorous situations where the shadow tries to lead Daniel to his death – yes, I fell for his tricks at least once. While trying to come to terms with his new fate, Daniel strongly believes his friends spiked his drink with LSD and that he is just midway through a hallucination.
I was intrigued by the story from the very beginning and enjoyed it thoroughly as the game continued. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the plot is the playful banter between Daniel and the shadow. This banter comes to life thanks to some decent voice actors. In fact, most of the game’s dialogue is spoken, including lines from the game’s obscure non-playable characters (NPCs).
Unepic’s gameplay is a combination of platforming, Metroid-like exploration, and RPG elements. Your main goal is to find and destroy the game’s bosses in order to recover keys to unlock new areas of the castle. This is achieved by searching every room of each area to find, and confront the boss. Along the way you will complete quests, many of which are necessary to make progress, but you’ll also fight plenty of enemies – most of which will chase you down after seeing you. Defeating enemies will give you experience points like a traditional RPG, plus they’ll drop a variety of loot like swords, armors, bat wings, etc. While these aspects seem straight forward, you’ll never make it out alive unless you invest some time in the game’s skill system.
The skill system is definitely the highlight of Unepic and lets you spend skill points in a variety of categories – you gain 5 points for every level you reach. You can spend points on things like Daniel’s overall health, his competency in a variety of weapons and magic, plus other areas like potion mastery and the ability to equip better armor. You can choose to focus on particular skills, however, I advise you against such a tactic. It is better to balance Daniel in a variety of categories because the game’s enemies have specific weak points.
There is definitely a lot of challenge involved should you choose to become a melee, or ranged only fighter. That is the beauty of the game’s skill system; it lets you choose how you want to play. There are over 100 weapons ranging from swords, axes, hammers, bows, plus a variety of magic spells to learn and plenty of armor to acquire. You can also mix a variety of potions – most of which require loot from fallen foes – and travel with a variety of pets, both of which are neat additions to an already deep game.
Unepic also includes exclusive Wii U GamePad features. My favourite feature is the ability to map items to the touchscreen. This feature gives you quick access to your favourite items, plus you avoid opening the menu every time you want to equip a new weapon, or drink another potion. Of course, Unepic also lets you play exclusively on the Wii U GamePad, though you will immediately notice that it sports a close-up view as opposed to the full screen view you have on your TV. Personally, I prefer the full screen because it shows you everything, whereas the closer view leaves you open to unexpected elements. You do have the option to zoom in or out on the Wii U GamePad, so you can play with the view you prefer, however, this feature does not exist on TV-only play.
Unepic is a fantastic adventure that mixes humor with the best elements from platforming, exploration, and RPG games. It lets you play your way with a deep skill system and a variety of equipment, which will come in handy during the game’s more challenging sections. It may not feature hand-drawn, HD graphics, but its retro-styled sprites lend to the game’s charm. Also, Unepic features a soundtrack full of catchy themes that are reminiscent of those from an earlier era. While the gameplay and story are solid, I have personally had my game would freeze on me while completing a quest, plus I’ve noticed mentions of save deleting glitches on the Miiverse. Overall, Unepic’s blend of platforming and RPG should please fans of both genres and it sports a fair price of $9.99.
9/10 – Excellent
Review copy provided by EnjoyUp Games