Released (on Steam): 5 Jun, 2014
Genres: Action, Indie
Developer: Uppercut Games
Publisher: Uppercut Games
Steam Price: £0.67 (60% off)
Completion: Completed easy and most of normal.
Playtime at Review: 2.8 hours
Total Playtime: 2.8 hours
Achievements at Review: 13/24 (54%)
My rating: 3.3/10
I imagine it's less boring on mobile devices.
Story may as well be nonexistent.
Gameplay is simple in all the bad ways for PC (boring).
Forced to complete the game on easy before normal.
EPOCH is an on-rails shooter that was original released for iOS devices back in 2011. It found its way to Android a year or so later, and eventually made its way to Steam in 2014. For a mobile game at that time it was probably a pretty awesome experience with all the swiping and tapping and whatever else that would have been going on. I imagine it could have been quite an intense and exciting experience. Unfortunately in 2020, on Steam, it’s very much the opposite.
The gameplay consists of switching between 3 positions and taking cover to avoid damage while attacking and destroying enemy robots with a variety of weapons. Upon finishing a level you will receive a number of credits based on your performance and you’ll salvage an item or upgrade to equip yourself with for the following levels, or to sell in the scrapyard (shop). You’ll also acquire some “intercepted data“ which you can read between levels for some basic idea of what’s going on story-wise. You gain experience at the end of each level too, and each level up will, of course, improve your stats to some degree.
For the majority of levels on easy and normal, the gameplay was pretty slow and boring. Unfortunately, you’re forced to play through easy first, then you’re expected to play again through three more difficulties. I have no doubt the higher levels are of a much faster pace and pose a greater challenge but by the time I had finished easy and most of normal, I was bored of it. The easy playthrough took less than an hour, and normal wasn’t a great deal longer, so I got bored pretty quickly. It may have been a little more enjoyable if we could pick the difficulty from the beginning rather than forcing us to replay the game several times over, but even then the gameplay mechanics just aren’t that great on PC. There’s also an arena mode you unlock quite early on, with endless amounts of enemies, but it’s still just the same basic combat over and over.
There is little in the way of story in EPOCH, with most of it being through reading the intercepted data after each level. There’s a few seconds of the opening scene to the first level that gives a very basic overview of what your aim is, and you can clearly see that you’re travelling somewhere while playing through the game and killing robots, but that’s about it. With the gameplay being so poor, it would have really benefitted from a decent story. Unfortunately it just doesn’t deliver. There’s not really any reveal or context with the ending either. You defeat the boss and that’s it. The end. Play again on the next difficulty.
I don’t doubt that EPOCH was probably a great mobile game a few years ago, and maybe even still, but my experience of it on Steam was certainly not impressive or enjoyable. Being forced to play through an tediously easy starting difficulty, with slow and repetitive gameplay, is not something I find enjoyable. It’s a cheap game though, so it’s got that going for it, and that would be the only reason I’d suggest trying it if it looks like something you might enjoy already.
Posted on 11-10-2020