Unepic (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Unepic is a love letter to old school role playing games presented as an explorative, sidescrolling action RPG. In other words, it is a Metroidvania. The game draws you in from the opening, and keeps you coming back for more with it's charming sprite work and intuitive controls.

First off, you need to understand that the game has a deep inventory system, and that switching between weapons and using consumables is made much easier by having a comprehensive shortcut system. You can assign a button combo to up to twelve items from your inventory. Hold either L, R, or both at once, along with pressing A, B, X, or Y to switch weapons or use the item. Each type of weapon is useful for different situations, so it is important to assign your primary weapons to whatever combo feels most natural to you. I like to assign my three main weapons (sword, mace, bow) to (R) X, Y, and B (respectively), and my healing potion to A. Then I assign other weapons and transportation items to L. Again, though, assign your item shortcuts in manner that you won't forget or confuse them. The drawback to using an item, or switching weapons, mid-fight, is that your sprite will take a second or two go through an animation, leaving you vulnerable. Unfortunately, you also risk being attacked when you open the inventory menu to instantly use the item, as the action doesn't pause when you bring it up. So, one way or the other you are at risk, and it's usually better to try to find a safe spot and use the shortcut button if you can.

You will get armor, accessories, and special items that have specific uses. Sometimes these are once off, order times they are reusable. You are allowed to equip up to with rings...which is only logical when you think about it.

X pulls up your map, B jumps, Y attacks, A is your action. + Pulls up your menu, and A is used to make your selections.  ZR targets an enemy, but you can only target an enemy in your line of sight. Move with left stick, and pressing down will crouch. If you're by a ledge, you will stick your candle out over the edge to illuminate below, that way you can check for enemies or pits.

As is the case with any Metroidvania, Unepic requires you to explore a vast castle, and requires backtracking after finding keys that enable you to unlock new areas that were previously inaccessible. You will encounter a variety of monsters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and there are boss fights along the way.

To set the stage for this epic quest, Unepic presents us with an interesting premise. What happens if you're playing a tabletop RPG with your buddies, and after going to the bathroom, you are whisked away to an alternate dimension? This is exactly what happens to our protagonist, and shortly after landing in this strange new world, he finds himself host to a malevolent shadow creature that just wishes to he free. Unfortunately for us, this shadow can only be free if we die, and so it always tries to convince us of the most dangerous path. You start the game not really fully understanding what is happening, but it becomes more and more clear as the quest goes on. Our protagonist is also a snarky one, and his disbelief over the situation and good humor about the danger he faces gives the game charm, and creates the somewhat fourth wall breaking satirical environment that let's us know that we shouldn't take the game too seriously.

As you progress through the castle, you open up save points that restore health, and portal gates that allow us to jump from one area to another relatively quickly. There are scrolls and items that enable you to jump to the different shops and crafting areas.
Your weapons, armor, and accessories can become worn down and broken, so it's important to repair them. You can craft your own potions using recipes, but only in a specific location. You earn in-game currency through regular exploration, and can earn Un- credits that give you access to items from a specialty shop found early in the game.

Upon leveling up, you are given skill points to expend powering up your proficiency with different weapons, and bumping up the effectiveness of your potions, and improving your constitution.

Unepic offers a robust amount of options to cater to the inventory management buffs and gear customization aficionados alike. This is one of my favorite genres, and Unepic is an excellent representative of it. I highly recommend it. I only wish that there were HD rumble.


Unepic on eShop
Nintendo Switch Holiday Buyer's Guide - 2017


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