Epoch Review (iOS)
I’ve not been a huge fan of gaming on iOS. For the most part I thought they’ve been one of two things; time wasters that you play two or three times for five minutes and then delete off your device or competent ports of games that work better on platforms like the DS or a home console. However, every once in a while a game will come along that surprises me. Epoch, from Uppercut Games, is one of those surprises. If you’re looking for a third-person, cover based shooter on your iOS device then this is the game to get.
What You Need to Know
In Epoch you play as a long dormant, robotic warrior from the future who suddenly reboots and finds himself in the midst of a civil war. Robotic soldiers have gone crazy and not only rebelled against the human population, but each other. You will use the touchscreen to get into the middle of intense firefights using your finger to swipe to and from cover and very quickly select targets to take down with the myriad of weapons you have available.
When you think of third-person, cover based shooters immediately games like Gears of War come to mind. The biggest problem with an iOS device is that it’s just plain hard to control games where you would normally use two analog sticks. Uppercut Games got around that by using control interface in a unique way. Rather than controlling your character directly, you control when and – to some extent – where he moves by simply swiping your finger left and right along the touch screen. These movements are always instant and you should have very little trouble, if any, getting the device to respond properly to your inputs. A quick swipe down will duck your character into cover where you can reload or get a quick layout of the terrain and pick your next target. Swiping up will cause your character to jump to the closest available piece of cover, letting you avoid things like laser beams aimed towards your legs. Picking targets is as simple as tapping them on the touchscreen. It was all very intuitive and worked flawlessly.
Beautiful In it’s Destruction
Epoch runs on the popular Unreal Engine and it shows. Everything is very well detailed. You’ll see things like cables sticking out of concrete. Bullet holes mark every available piece of cover letting you immediately know, if you didn’t already, things are bad. The robots themselves are all intricate in their designs and animate very smoothly. You’ll find yourself marveling as you see your character doing back flips in slow motion while avoiding laser blasts that light up everything around you. The Unreal Engine does destroyed cityscapes quite well.
After every mission you unlock little bits of the story, like dialogue from politicians or text messages from people just trying to get home to their families. It tells the story of a war torn environment and tries to put a human touch on the war. The problem is, all of the characters you are looking at are robots and the story pieces can be ignored very easily. They’re written fairly well and tell a number of different human stories, but they’re just secondary to the main part of the game; which is blowing stuff up.
Like I said before, if you’re looking for a third-person, cover based shooter for the iOS then you need look no further than Epoch. It takes a gaming device that’s notoriously hard to get more core, console-like experiences on and does it brilliantly. The developers use the strengths of the device and don’t really try to force a Gears of War style control scheme on you. The action is fast paced. The controls are intuitive and extremely responsive. It’s games like this that make me pause and rethink my stance on touch screen gaming and how it could work to give people an experience they’d normally find on a console or handheld.
Review copy of the game purchased through the iTunes App Store.
Played through the entire single player campaign.
Total Play Time: 5 hours