One Endless Runner
You have to ask whether it was wise, however tongue-in-cheek, for Chillingo to call their game 'One Epic Game'. It feels as if it's already asking too much of our expectations for an endless runner.
While it's true that this game certainly can't hope to live up to its name, there are still reasons to play it, epic or not. At heart it's a standard endless runner; run along the screen and occassionally jump over holes in the ground or fire at enemies. The storyline aims to make it something more, though, by poking fun at generic game stereotypes.
The problem is that this lampooning of gaming was done not so long ago by the last Duke Nukem game and, before that, by the forgettable Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard. One Epic Game doesn't really seem to try that hard, aside from the odd one liner during the cut scenes. Yes, it has aliens, zombies and World War II, but it's all just different sprites doing the same thing.
So judging this as a critique on gaming isn't going to get us very far, but how does it do as a game? Well, despite the number of endless runners out there on the App Store, it seems to be able to hold its own, thanks to an interesting mix of tasks. Some levels require no killing at all, others give you a single life or ask you to reach a certain score or distance. This really mixes things up and helps to keep any of the usual creeping monotony you get with endless runners at bay.
To help you in the quest to rid the world of evil aliens/zombies/mad scientists/knights in shining armour you have a variety of weapons in the form of little power-ups dotted around the course. The weapons are surprisingly varied in their use; the flamethrower can remain on and is useful for airborne enemies and ground, the rocket launcher has no endless fire option but is mega-powerful and the BFG is just stupidly over-powerful, obliterating everything in its path.
In addition to the weapons, Jet Packs appear before a huge gap, so need collecting at the right moment, hearts give you an extra life and gold gives you a big score boost, very useful in those score based levels. It all works nicely enough to provide a little extra on top of the running, jumping and killing.
As the mock-tutorial says, the controls involve a button for jumping and one for shooting. The jump button can be pressed for longer to make bigger jumps, though players will find themselves doing this as standard anyway. It's standard fare for a game in this genre, but they work well enough.
Where this game excels, though, is in the graphics department. For an endless runner this game looks the business. The details in the background are stunning (when you actually get a chance to look at them) and the different settings all feel unique thanks to a wonderful art style. To compliment this, the game has a great soundtrack, with different music for each stage. The (aptly) epic feeling classical music is a particular highlight.
While One Epic Game isn't quite as bold as the title might like to think, it's does a good job of standing out as one of the better Endless Runners. The art and music, along with the (sometimes questionable) comedy make it worth considering if you're a fan of the genre.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 7
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