Hack ‘N’ Dash: Epic Flail Is A Pants-Stealing Good Time

By Nathan Grayson on May 29th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

There is also a mace, and it's way, way, way overpowered.

Epic Flail is one of those games that I’ll never claim to be groundbreaking or The Gaming Industry’s Long-Foretold Savior, but goodness is it a delicious little morsel of blood-drenched fun. It’s currently fairly early in development, but the basic formula is already solid. You’re a tiny gladiator accosted on all sides and woefully lacking in armor. You have one attack: an almost imperceptibly quick sword dash. You’ve got to knock off armor, weapons, and shields to claim them as your own if you want to survive – kinda like a reverse Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. All’s fair in love and war, I suppose. Also, I really like your pants so I’m taking them.

Dashing is fun but flawed. The simple motion of hurling your tiny bones at the abyss between life and death over and over and over feels great. When an opponent does the same, you both go flying apart as though your blades were made of rubber and explosions. Showdowns become high-flying bumper-car (or sword, really) matches. Ting-ting-ting-slish. And then someone’s lying in pieces at your feet.

Problem is, you really have to double tap baddies to get through their defenses, so you can’t, say, dash down behind them and get them in a single satisfying strike. Granted, you still have to be smart about positioning – especially in later waves when you’re dealing with upwards of three heavily armored foes at the same time – but it feels strategically limiting. No matter what sort of enemy I was dealing with, I tended to rocket into the sky and slam down, down, down repeatedly until my enemies realized they’d become piles of bloody ribbon.

I hope that, as the game evolves and new items, enemy types, and armor options enter the fray, strategies become a bit less singularly straightforward. I mean, I’m not expecting Sun Tzu’s Art of War from a game where your only attack is literally¬†dashing forward,¬†but a little more variety couldn’t hurt.

As is, however, Epic Flail is free and fun in short bursts. You can give it a go here.

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10 Comments »

  1. Syra says:

    Very fun! Gets damn hard quickly though.

  2. Premium User Badge LTK says:

    Wow, this is great fun. Really hard as well. So you can only kill someone if they don’t dash at you at the same time, and their dash seems to be on a longer cooldown than yours. The tactic of smashing down on them repeatedly could work since you have gravity working in your favour, but I found that diagonally downward works well too, since it doesn’t knock you back as far as dashing horizontally, so when you hit the ground after bouncing off diagonally you’re in range to hit them before they have a chance to parry.

    Alternatively, when they’re in the air they’re pretty much helpless, so you wait for them to fall down and then slash ‘em. Baiting them into attacking you while you dash up and then down is also good.

    When there’s three enemies on the screen though, tactics just go out of the window and I mash at them until they eventually die. The female gladiators are especially tough.

    My high score is 33, what’s yours?

    • Coldyham says:

      By my sadness, I reached 109 in brawl and 33 in chains (second arena), mainly by dashing diagonally up towards them then diagonally back again. Only just realised the 2 player existed, so must wait until someone worthy enters my domain to pound them mercilessly into the dust.

  3. Premium User Badge Robbobin says:

    I got lucky with a couple of epic flails and got to 45. Really fun little game!

  4. Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

    Some weirdness with the controls happened to me. I could control my guy with the anlog stick of my controller, but to strike I had to press the X key on my keyboard (the one on the controller did nothing). Still a fun little game, though.

  5. apocraphyn says:

    Pfft, got to 49 – just missed out on unlocking the new arena thing. Don’t reckon I’ll be trying again any time soon, but the game’s pretty fun!

  6. Premium User Badge LTK says:

    I had two games where I got to 49 but finally had a good flail run that got me up to 60. The second arena is even more impossible, it’s glorious.

  7. Cronstintein says:

    By going into the air you can cause them to do an attack that misses, opening them up for a 1 hit kill on unarmored foes so you don’t HAVE to double click (although that is easier most of the time)

  8. KingNathan says:

    Highest score on stage 1 is 55 , 2nd is 53 , and haven’t did 3rd yet.

    Edit : 22 on first try on stage 3

    Edit : 38 2nd try!!

    Edit : 44 4th try

    edit : 10th try 82