I get that special feeling in my fingertips when I know there is another Unreal Engine powered game heading to the iPhone and iPad, and Epoch is certainly no exception. I never thought I would be able to get a console-like, visual experience on a tablet, let alone a mobile phone. But since developers have been utilizing the Unreal engine I am increasingly impressed with releases. I can honestly say that it won’t be long before bigger developers will focus more resources on making bigger, better and more rich gaming experiences for our iDevices.
Epoch is based in a post-apocalyptic world where only robots have been assigned a person to protect and you just so happen to have to protect Princess Amelia, but she’s nowhere to be seen. This marks out your adventure through 10 levels spanning the city to find the Princess, kind of like an iRobot meets Mario scenario (strictly speaking in this scarcely drawn out story).
Epoch’s gameplay exists solely on moving between cover and gunplay. Probably my favorite aspect of cover based shooters is how it increases the requirement for strategy to succeed instead of mindlessly running around and shooting at anything that moves. Across your 10 level journeys you’ll face 3 waves per stage of variously enemies armed with guns, lasers, grenade launchers and plasma shooters. The aim is to disperse of them as quickly as possible using your cover and evasion techniques to avoid taking damage yourself. There are 3 different cover points set out horizontally that you can jump between, unfortunately you cannot advance forward during the battles though. Certain enemy weaponry will inflict damage on contact like the regular battle guns, grenades however will land at your feet and explode moments later. As you begin to face more varied opponents you will need to balance both your evasive tactics and your offensive maneuvers.
There is a no control outside of battle, making this an on rails game, which isn’t a bad thing because the only gameplay out of the action would have been walking up to your victims and picking up scrap, so I am happy this is shown as a cutscene. Epoch plays very much like Infinity Blade, but rather than swiping for sword actions, you are tapping to select a target, then swiping to avoid enemy fire. Cutscene’s even play out in a similar way, giving you the ability to skip through them in X2 speed by holding the bottom right corner of the screen.
Once you’ve gotten used to the controls and your timing improves, Epoch flows like a dream, before you know it you’ll be jumping in and out of cover, reloading on the fly and somersaulting across the screen to avoid laser beams and grenades effortlessly.
At the end of each level you’ll be scored on various factors, including efficiency, defense and how many destructible items you’ve blown up. These scores will contribute towards credits. In addition, at the end of each level you’ll salvage scrap from the enemy robots, and the scrap pieces you collect, along with the credits earned from your performance will go towards upgrading your robots amour and weaponry.
When reaching the last level you’re rewarded with a boss fight, and at that point it’s more than welcome because to be honest, the levels tend to get a little repetitive, just take a look at the 3 screenshots in this review, is there really that much difference?
If you are the type of player that likes to be consumed by story to give your actions purpose, then don’t hold out here, although there is a genuine attempt to build a story around the game, it’s weak and uninteresting at best. It doesn’t add or take away from game, it’s just… there.
Epoch’s visuals and gameplay mechanics are it’s shining force, easily making it one of the most desirable games on the app store at this moment in time for all you graphic lovers. If story doesn’t interest you and you’re a fan of cover based gameplay, although repetitive, Epoch is indeed the reigning champion.