4cr Plays – Unepic (Wii U)
Unepic is the latest indie release on Nintendo’s Wii U, and it’s a port that takes the game from the PC to your living room. In essence, it is a platformer with a lot of RPG elements that has been reconfigured to take advantage of the two screen configuration of the WiiU controller. Daniel, our “hero” for this adventure, is just a regular gamer who is getting started on tabletop roleplaying games and finds himself transported to a faraway land in a distant plane of existence after mistakenly taking a wrong turn while using the bathroom. Hey, it happens!
Daniel starts his journey in an ancient castle that is either a very detailed hallucination or a parallel realm that is out to break him to pieces. Within minutes of starting Unepic, Daniel will be possessed by an angry spirit, attacked by worms, bats and goblins, and tempted with a huge pile of magical coins.
This is a HUGE game to explore, and it will take between 20 and 30 hours to experience everything the game has to offer. To make things easier on you, the game features a map that makes it easy to know which rooms you haven’t fully explored by tracking where you’ve been. Daniel has a handy lighter he brought from his world, and it can be used to light the immediate area around him, as well as to light any other potential light sources around each room. Your first objective when entering a room is usually to slowly and carefully light each of the lamps or torches you find while avoiding traps and defeating the enemies you find there.
You can play on the TV or on the Wii U GamePad, and playing on one or the other has it’s own extras to enjoy. Playing on the TV allows you to have the touchscreen area where you can tap icons to activate weapons, items, potions or spells always open. You can also bind actions to 12 hot-key combinations triggered by pressing the L, R or L+R buttons and either the A, B, X or Y button. While playing on the Wii U GamePad’s screen, you can trigger this extra option by touching anywhere on the screen, and you can use one of the back triggers on the controller to zoom in and out of to take a closer look at your surroundings.
Those that want an easy adventure can play on the lowest difficulty setting or use one of the 3 extra settings if you want a bigger challenge. On lower settings, the game will autosave as you play at specific spots in a room, but the higher difficulty settings require that you manually save your game at a particular spot of the castle which serves as your “hub” from which you will eventually be able to access every corner of the castle as long as you’ve unlocked the corresponding path.
There are several bosses to defeat and each one demands a bit of trial and error to get to know their patterns and weaknesses, and that means that if you don’t have enough regeneration and healing potions, or if your level is too low or you haven’t been upgrading your skills with the points received when you level up, the bosses will destroy you in a matter of seconds.
The writing is fun, and it contains a ton of gamer references from all over the place. The whole game also features voice acting for pretty much everything; from Daniel and the evil spirit, to the NPCs that provide you with quests or sell a wide variety of items, weapons, armor, spell-books and more.
There is also an in-game challenge and achievement system in place to keep you busy, and unlocking the achievements ranges from killing X number of enemies to defeating one of the bosses in the game. Challenges are an entirely different beast and have pretty crazy requirements for completion. Rules such as not touching the ground for 18 seconds (grabbing a ladder does not count), or avoiding damage for a whole minute at a particular section in the game are pretty common and often frustrating. On the plus side, completing each challenge rewards you with Unepic points which can be traded for special items that will help you on your quest.
You will be rewarded with a weapon, gem, essence or body part almost every time you kill an enemy, and while the use for weapons and gems is easy to understand (attack with one, sell the others), essences and body parts have a different role in the game. Unepic contains potion crafting that allows you to create your own potions from your gathered ingredients as long as you have the recipe and a high enough level on your Potions skill to be able to add the recipe to your book. Potions also require that you have an available empty bottle to use for storage, so there are some choices around which potions to craft and how many to carry of each type.
Unepic is a very interesting indie release from one-man army Francisco Téllez de Meses, and I’m happy to see it on the Wii U. The experience is great on Nintendo’s latest console thanks to the versatility of the Wii U GamePad, and the game reminded me a bit of Zombi U since the action never stops, even when you’re upgrading Daniel, changing gear, or when you decide it’s time to drink a potion. Dozens of hours of entertainment await you in Unepic, and being able to play on the TV or on the screen on the Wii U GamePad means you don’t have to stop playing until your quest is over.
Want to win a copy of the game? Follow @4colorrebellion and @enjoyupgames and leave a comment below for a chance to get a free copy of Unepic on Wii U! Be sure to either sign in using Twitter, or mention your Twitter username in your comment. Oh, and for this special occasion we also have EUROPEAN Wii U eshop codes, so international entries are welcome!