A point-and-click shooter is essentially a game that puts you in control of a character with limited movements. Depending on the game, players usually have a certain amount of health or time left as they clear the map of enemies and move to the next level. Epoch is this type of game, initially developed for mobile devices by Uppercut Games and now available on Steam for PC.
The gameplay is simple and easy to understand quickly: Along with shooting enemies, players will eventually be able to throw grenades, fire missiles, or use a special power. The player can move the robot left and right along three locations on the screen, and press up to jump to the opposite side, or press down to duck behind cover.
There are a few different kinds of enemies that attack in different ways, adding an extra level of strategy and test of reflexes to the game. Players avoid gunfire, grenades, lasers, and energy blasts with consistent movement and by mastering when to jump and when to take cover. As the level progresses in difficulty, the speed and power of the enemies increase. Thankfully, there are also several types of equipment available that players can use to level the playing field against encountered enemies. These types of equipment include weapons, armor, grenades, missiles, and a special piece of equipment that grants a reusable power in battle.
The game uses quality graphics, though they unfortunately looked better on mobile devices. Still, Epoch looks good, and the graphics provided are enough to render the gunfire and other explosive elements of the game. The soundtrack, unfortunately, does not do very much to impress. The game music might actually be from the original mobile game and simply was not changed or expanded upon for the PC port.
The story is set in a war torn city, and follows the actions of a single robot that powers back up next to piles of rubble in the middle of a battle. Remembering the main objective it was tasked with, protecting a princess, the robot fights through wave after wave of robotic combatants. A war has begun within the city that has spread far around the country, perhaps the world. What’s worse, the conflict that arose was between two factions of robots and occurred suddenly, surprising and confusing the humans who thought they had their technology under control.
The player then learns more of the story through sent messages and voice memos that the robot intercepts between battles. These messages tell stories about the lives of different characters, and also explain the current state of affairs within the world of Epoch. These messages come from people of completely different circumstances, such as the human body guard of the Princess, the President of the country, and even a simple accountant trying to get home to his wife and family. There are multiple stories told within the game by a long list of characters.
The game is fairly long, with the campaign mode offering 10 levels, a final boss at the end, and three levels of difficulty that progress as the game is played. In simpler terms, in order to unlock the medium mode, the player must beat all 10 levels in easy first. The difficulty increases the speed and damage of enemy robots, as well as the variety of enemies that the player deals with early on. On top of that, Epoch also offers an Arena mode that sends an almost endless supply of enemies for players to fight and earn points off of. There are also missions that players can use to gain bonus experience points, which is shared between both the campaign and arena modes.
The game is simple, and more fun to watch than it is to play. Though it does get more exciting as the difficulty increases, forcing players to jump, roll, and take cover more often. It’s important to be aware of enemy patterns, and use tactics and special equipment to turn the tide. In the end, the game is interesting even if it isn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever played. It certainly uses its cinematic graphics to show great action, and offers an interesting way to provide story narration.
This genre of gameplay isn’t very common, at least to me. The last time I played a game like this was Star Wars: Rebel Assault, and that was a much simpler version of thegameplay on display here. Epoch innovates this type of gameplay by providing fast-paced action and movement, almost constant combat, and equipment.
Epoch is currently available on Steam for $4.99 as part of the summer sale, but it’s regularly $9.99. Even though it gets difficult, the gameplay is still easy enough that everyone can enjoy it. At the same time, the story is fairly optional, players don’t have to read through the intercepts if they don’t want to, and can just go straight to the next level. The game is worth the price by virtue of the length of play.