EPOCH
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 7

Mobile titles usually don’t fare very well on PC due to their simplicity or lack of options, but Uppercut Games have done a good job sprucing up EPOCH for its Steam release. The improved visuals and responsive controls make it more than just a quick port and the arcade style gameplay is perfect for killing some time between more in-depth titles. While the campaign can be completed rather quickly, there is plenty of replay value and the endless Arena mode also provides some more longevity.

Gameplay: Third person shooter stripped down to its most basic elements.

Graphics: The Unreal 3 engine is used to provide some nice visuals.

Sound: Decent, but not particularly memorable

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

EPOCH

Developer: Uppercut Games Pty Ltd | Publisher: Uppercut Games Pty Ltd | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Action / Indie / Shooter | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Things don’t end very well for humanity when they are caught in the crossfire of warring robots. As EPOCH, a guardian robot tasked with protecting a very important human, you enter this post-apocalyptic world and try to figure out what went wrong and if your human charge is still alive. Standing between you and your goal is an army of angry robots that are determined to stop you dead in your tracks.

EPOCH might appear to be a third person shooter, but it has more in common with light-gun based arcade games of old. Originally a mobile title, the game used a swipe based control method for moving your character between cover points and taking pot shots at enemies before ducking out of sight again. This means that the gameplay revolves entirely around shooting at enemies while making the best use of cover instead of any running around or puzzle solving. It might sound restrictive, but it does provide some intense gunfights without the usual camera and control problems found in some third person shooters.

The game offers a ten level campaign mode set in locations such as a recycling depot, residential complex, military checkpoint, freeway and tunnel before a showdown with a final boss. Along the way you will earn credits to buy new equipment, earn experience to improve the attack and defense bonuses of your robot as well as unlock data intercepts which reveal more about the story. These intercepts can be read between levels and there are much more of them than what can be unlocked in a single playthrough, so fortunately you can replay previously completed locations and unlock harder difficulty settings. Redoing levels or playing on higher difficulty settings also has the benefit of earning you more credits so you can buy better weapons, armor, counters, missile and boosters from the scrap yard. Credits cannot be bought via in app purchases like in the mobile version, but playing on higher difficulty settings rewards you with enough cash to buy the good stuff.

If you tire of the campaign you can jump into the endless “Arena” mode which is all about survival and raking up big kill counts. The PC version of the game has leaderboards so you can see exactly how well you measure up against the other players. The Arena mode also has mini missions such as achieving certain kill streaks, attaining a certain amount of kills without taking cover and more to keep things interesting. You also earn credits and unlock data intercepts while playing the Arena mode. It is a pity that there are only four arenas, compared to the ten campaign levels, but the arena levels allow for some vertical movement as well instead of confining you to a horizontal plane.

The control setup may have been created with touch screen devices in mind, but it works just as well using a keyboard and mouse. The game also allows you to create your own key bindings and adjust the mouse sensitivity, which is not always a given with mobile ports. Full controller support is also included, but I found aiming with the mouse to be much more accurate. Some precision when it comes to aiming is required as unlike the mobile version your shots do not automatically lock on to enemies. You can move your robot between three cover points set in the left, middle or right of each level and then pop up to shoot or duck to stay out of danger. Some enemies will try to flush you out by lobbing grenades behind your cover or by slicing through everything with lasers. This means that you will have to stay on the move and time your shots carefully to stay out of their crosshairs. You can also perform a special move which allows you to instantly jump from one side of the screen to the other which is useful for avoiding lasers. The level select screen indicates which types of enemies you will be facing which allows you to pick the right gun for the job, if you can afford it. Counters, missiles and boosters offer further aid during battle and are all available from the salvage screen, at a price.

The game runs on the Unreal 3 engine, so the visuals are really not bad despite the mobile origins of the game. You can select between three preset detail levels and adjust the resolution. The developers have also added some visual enhancements such as dynamic lighting, bloom, DOF and motion blur in addition to overhauling the existing visual effects. The result is a good looking game that performs well even on older machines. I didn’t encounter any bugs while playing and the developers appear to be actively looking into any reported issues, so this is certainly not a quick mobile cash-in. The audio is decent and thankfully the music and sound effects volumes can be adjusted independently, which is something that is often lacking from these types of ports.

EPOCH is probably not going to tempt players away from the latest big budget shooters, but it offers a nice arcade-like alternative that can be played and enjoyed in short bursts. I would have liked to see a few more levels and more boss encounters, but the game has plenty of replay value and the inclusion of the Arena mode definitely adds to the longevity. Having to unlock the harder difficulty settings might be annoying to some players, but it prevents newcomers from jumping in at the deep end and biting off more than what they can chew. Uppercut games appear to have addressed all the issues that usually plague the release of mobile titles on PC and it will be interesting to see what else they have up their sleeve.

*Review originally published July 2014.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2, Vista, or Windows 7
  • Processor: 2.0+ GHz or better (dual core recommended)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA 8000 series or higher (Shader Model 3 Compatible)
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Windows XP SP2, Vista, or Windows 7
  • Processor: 2.0+ GHz or better (dual core recommended)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA 8000 series or higher (Shader Model 3 Compatible)
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space

Related posts

BeatBlasters III

BeatBlasters III

BeatBlasters III shows a lot of imagination but has the gameplay to back up the wacky plot. The developers have gone for a quality over quantity approach with each level looking totally unique. It takes a while to get used to the controls but using a controller makes a big difference. If you are looking for an interesting fusion of platforming, puzzle solving and rhythm based action then grab yourself a copy. Gameplay: A very interesting fusion of genres. Graphics: The 2D visuals are packed with detail and imagination. Sound: The music is not my favorite genre but it matches the theme of the game.

Graze Counter

Graze Counter

Hop into the cockpit of your fighter and take down a virtual network that has evolved a little too much for its own good in this shoot ‘em up from Bikkuri Software. It offers non-stop action and a bullet grazing mechanic that forces you to risk life and limb to boost your score while unleashing devastating attacks. The 16-bit style of the visuals and audio offers a nice blast from the past for fans of the genre, but even newcomers can ease into the action thanks to a practice mode and selectable difficulty settings. The game is a little short for our liking and the style might not appeal to everyone, but if you enjoy a good shoot ‘em up you can do far worse than this one. Gameplay: Being forced to skirt dangerously close to bullets instead of simply avoiding them makes for a frantic experience. Graphics: The 16-bit visual style is charming, but might not appeal to those who didn’t grow up with the genre. Sound: The soundtrack is good, but the sound effects lack a little punch.

DLC Quest

DLC Quest

While extremely short, DLC Quest offers enough entertainment considering its low asking price. While it is a satirical look at the state of the gaming industry and its obsession with downloadable content there is enough gameplay here to make the game fun in its own right. Gameplay: Not very challenging but quite entertaining. Graphics: Very basic but has a unique charm. Sound: Some nice retro tunes.

Adam Wolfe

Adam Wolfe

Adam Wolfe is definitely one of the more varied and unique titles in the hidden object game genre. It features tons of detailed locations, an intriguing storyline, as well as interesting gameplay elements that set it apart from similar titles. If you enjoy a good mystery with supernatural elements and don’t mind a bit of action in your hidden object games then this one comes highly recommended. Gameplay: Good hidden object scenes as well as plenty of other puzzles. Graphics: Lots of very detailed scenes and the game looks very polished overall. Sound: The voice acting is above average for the genre while the atmospheric music is a big plus.

Regency Solitaire

Regency Solitaire

Regency Solitaire builds on the solid foundation of this addictive card game, but adds enough extra elements to keep you hooked. The game has a romantic storyline, beautifully drawn visuals and more than enough levels to keep you busy for ages. The challenges start out very simple, but quickly ramps up and you’ll need all the ballroom items you can find or purchase to even the odds. Even if the Regency era and casual games are not your cup of tea you’ll find that Regency Solitaire is addictive enough to make it worth your while. Gameplay: Very addictive and features plenty of extra elements to keep things varied. Graphics: Beautiful visuals, but the resolution is rather low by modern standards. Sound: Features a relaxing soundtrack and good effects, but no voice acting.

Plantera

Plantera

Plantera is a very straightforward game with simple, but addictive mechanics. You simply grow your garden, harvest crops and sell them to repeat the cycle. It is a casual clicker title with plenty of things to click, but you can also kick back and leave it to its own devices. If you are not a fan of clicker titles it can become repetitive, but considering its price it is hard to fault. Gameplay: Very straightforward to play and features a bit more variety than typical clicker games. Graphics: Bright, colorful and quite charming. Sound: Nice, but could have benefited from a few more tunes.

Leave a comment

9 + three =