It’s Actually Quite Large: Unepic

By Adam Smith on October 14th, 2011 at 12:32 pm.

Torches are there to be lit, not whipped, which is a welcome concession to realism

Spanish developer Francisco Téllez de Meneses makes me feel like less of a man with his splendiferous appellation but I’ve managed to put those feelings of inadequacy aside while trying out the demo for Unepic, the Metroidvania style indie title he’s been developing for the last two years. Several people seemed to think this would be my kind of thing, emailing me and demanding that I give it a shot. Francisco describes it as “a mixture of platform game, role game and joke”, all of which are things I’m fairly sure I enjoy. The actual exploration aspect is shaping up particularly well, with lots of loot, a smattering of side quests and a big old castle to map out. Demo link below.

There you go. A demo. The full game will set you back between €6.5 and €19.5, depending entirely on how generous you’re feeling. I’ve only played the demo, although that’s as much for lack of time as anything. I’m a sucker for exploring dingy castles and it’ll probably get me into trouble with the National Trust some day.

The visuals are decent enough, although everything feels a little too small making it hard to see darker enemies as they can blend with the background, particularly the pesky bats which have been the death of me several times. I hate being killed by bats; it seems like such an unlikely way to go but happens to me so often.

The plot, involving a tabletop roleplaying session gone awry, allows for plenty of self-referential gags, and they come thick and fast but mostly fall a bit flat, perhaps because something’s missing in the translation from Spanish. That said, there are few glaring errors and where there are grammatical slip-ups, they’re slight and never hurt the meaning.

There is a reliance on simply referencing games and characters rather than doing anything clever with those references, but there’s something quite charming about the simplicity of it. Man is trapped in game world and proceeds to ridicule it. It feels a bit like one of several webcomics I used to procrastinate with at university. Not particularly clever but it’s made me smile a couple of times and it’s good natured and jolly, even when the protagonist is filling the air with expletives.

Worth a look and the demo is big enough to allow an honest appraisal as to whether the full version is worth your hard-earned.

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31 Comments »

  1. Stompywitch says:

    The sprites may be small, but it works for the game; because the screens are pretty big, it enhances the feeling of exploration for me, and the torch mechanic is simple but neat as well.

    It’s a brilliant game, well worth the purchase.

  2. Jannakar says:

    That screen shot really reminds me of Castle Quest on the BBC Micro.

    Kill the witch with the water in the bucket!

    • haowan says:

      Seriously lucky if you got that far. I completed it with a friend once but it took WEEKS and possibly a solution as well.

      Somehow I still love that game though.

      edit for Propa Writin

  3. tanith says:

    Demo works great in wine, if anyone cares (nobody probably does).

    • Clean3d says:

      I care. It’s rarely worth the trouble to download and install some of these games unless I know they work in WINE… or they’re in flash or have a Linux port. Thanks!

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Wine is remarkably good these days. Except for cutting-edge 3D stuff, it handles most everything else pretty well. For example, all of Spiderweb’s games have worked great for me, and I know for damn sure that Jeff doesn’t give Linux a second thought.

    • Nick says:

      “For example, all of Spiderweb’s games have worked great for me”

      But.. they have native mac versions…

    • enobayram says:

      Some people use Linux you know…

    • bill says:

      The thing that annoys me about Wine* is that it actually plays most old windows games better than it’s possible to play them on windows. That just seems backwards.

      *which is totally not Wine’s fault.

  4. Kefren says:

    “I hate being killed by bats; it seems like such an unlikely way to go but happens to me so often.”

    And in the game.

  5. caddyB says:

    Zeratul LOL

  6. Magus44 says:

    Not going to lie. I do enjoy it. The explorations pretty fun, and I like the linking of the Diablo style loot and inventory, with the recepies and ingredients. Plus I am a total sucker for “Metroidvanias”. I made it to the trap room first life… thought I was going so well, ducking fireballs, cautiously moving avoiding spikes, then BAM it shoots one along the ground… Well Played Mr Franco, Well Played.
    The combats a bit of a bore though, once you hit something, you just keep hitting it till it dies, or its mate comes and rescues it forcing you to move.
    I think I shall purchase.

  7. Revisor says:

    Tried the demo, in the first ten minutes it alluded to System Shock, among others (WOW, MGS, Castlevania). Instant buy. :)

    • Revisor says:

      10 hours later, should go to bed but I can say: The game is great.

  8. haowan says:

    I played the demo of this a while back and found it to be really awesome to be honest. I love translational humour – the finest example I can remember is Space Rangers 2, which was not only funny but hilariously translated. I found the humour in Unepic to be similarly funny and funnily translated. There were a couple of control issues both related to the game playing as a client/server model or something, but besides that I also enjoyed playing the thing.

  9. RyuRanX says:

    I loved it. The only problem I had was the lack of sound effects and a couple of crashes (no musica tocando), some problem with the music.

    The dialogs and references are very funny. Who else had to restart the game after THAT part?

  10. JackDandy says:

    Started playing this demo… I think I’m going to like this!

  11. LTK says:

    Demo crashed on me after I attempted to read the sign next to the cooking pot. It takes a real effort to crash something on my computer, and this is even the first time I ever had a game fail to restore my original screen resolution after closing. What the hell?

    Also, the (really forced) pop culture references in response to “who are you?” got old after the first time.

  12. apachebreak says:

    Nup. Not feeling it. Waaay too small to get immersed in.

  13. Wulf says:

    That screenshot is a bit amazing and reminds me of some of the higher-quality PC side-scrolling adventures from the ’90s. I’m going to try the demo. I want this to be good, because it looks like a rare thing, and I like rare things.

    And yet the tiny, well-hidden, hard hitting enemies are what absolutely ruined Capsized for me (along with the poor controls), because I don’t want to be punished for being partially sighted. I don’t think I should be. Even in a dark game it would be easy to make the presence of enemies clear, in fact, the use of sound as opposed to graphics if it’s that dark in places would be especially clever. Since it’s a 2D affair you could definitely use stereo in interesting ways, along with forms of audio trickery to imply above or below.

    So whilst I want this to be good (and I do), I’m rather worried that I’ll be very disappointed.

    Edit: Noap. Too small for me. I liked what it was trying to do and I enjoyed the humour, but no. For someone who’s partially sighted, that game was just far too punishing. I don’t see any reason not to scale both the game and interface up, really. I can’t imagine that it would hurt it.

    Might be for some people, but for me? No. Shame, because it was quite funny. I do feel a bit let down, so I am disappointed. I can’t understand why developers make games like this without any form of accessibility in mind. Welp, just not a game I’ll buy.

  14. dogsolitude_uk says:

    Thoroughly enjoying the demo, and wishing there were more games like this.

    Personally I’d love a seriously huge free-roaming platform RPG game… This really took me back to the days of exploring Dr Blitzen’s lab in Dynamite Dan, and Willy’s Mansion in Jet set Willy, except this time with an inventory system, weapons and spells.

    I could lose myself in a game like this for hours, just running round lighting torches.

    Great stuff, and a definite buy.

  15. irongamer says:

    I really enjoyed the demo as well. May pick up the real deal.

  16. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Hmm. This -was- mentioned before on RPS.. I know this for a fact as I played the demo after I found out about the game from RPS. Ah, yes.. here: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/10/07/and-a-bunch-of-other-random-indie-bits/

    Well, no matter, it was a short bit about several indiegames. Oh, and I enjoyed it.. made me think of dark castle.

  17. JackDandy says:

    Well, I’ve kept playing the demo… do the battles get a bit more interesting then just “whack whack whack”? The combat kinda feels like Diablo’s, but I’m not sure that’s really a good thing.

  18. Theon says:

    This thing is actually fucking epic.
    I love it.

  19. nemryn says:

    Every Metrovania needs a user-annotatable map.