When you stop and think about it, endless runners have the potential to be amongst the most incredibly boring games available for any console. With limited controls over the game’s protagonist and with many offering gamers bland repetitive backgrounds, the appeal of so many of these is short lived. With the procedurally generated nature of the games themselves they do present players with a fresh challenge with every game but it does appear that a growing number of smaller developers try their hands at releasing an endless runner at one time or another.
It doesn’t matter whether the game has a contemporary theme, takes the player on a jungle adventure or even explores a futuristic world, to make an endless runner stand our from the crowd publishers need to step up their game and add something new or entertaining to make their games stand out from the crowd. The title makes bold claims, but is One Epic Game just that or does it fail to live up to the promises it makes…?
The world is in peril (isn’t it always?) and once again it’s another alien invasion… well, actually the world is being overrun by zombies. No, an alien invasion AND a zombie outbreak and you’re the only one who can save everyone (why is it that with an entire planet at stake there is only one person capable of saving everybody?). Anyway, the story mode of the game kicks off with the zombie outbreak and One Epic Game begins… an endless runner with a twist! As with all endless runners before (and after) this, the game scrolls continually and you have to jump over and avoid ever oncoming object but here comes the key difference – you can fight back.
In addition to jumping (the duration of which is dependent on how long you hold down the jump button) you can fire your current weapon at whatever creatures approach you. Don’t like the weapon you have? Not to worry as there are weapon pickups along the way so just keep surviving until something better comes along. Unlike other endless runners, you’ve also got an extended chance of making it through each level as you start off with several units of health (represented by hearts on screen) but with things coming at you constantly you can’t let yourself get too complacent as you lose one each time you collide with an alien or any scenery. If things get too hairy, just hope that a health pick-up comes along and gives you a much needed boost. There are even more powerups along the way including a jet pack to help you avoid the platforms to jump on altogether (very handy when you reach the areas where the ground breaks up beneath your feet) and all that adds up to an action packed variant on the genre…
The story itself is told through illustrated cut-scenes where our hero encounters the leader of the alien invasion who explains his plan for world domination by killing all of the Earth’s gamers by throwing all of their worst nightmares at them – zombies, an alien invasion and everything they have seen before in countless other games including a fantasy world, a wartime setting and a post-apocalyptic wasteland! Before too long, the President contacts you and demands your help and it’s up to you from there in. Hey, the game needs some reason to link all the different themes together and to give you a reason to do what you’re doing and that’s as good an excuse as any I suppose.
To add variety to the expected run and jump gameplay, many of the levels have their own objectives that you need to achieve to complete them whether it’s suriving for a set distance, killing a certain number of aliens or something similar and it all adds up to really take the game away from the genre it spawned from and it’s easy to forget that you’re really just playing an enhanced endless runner. What really surprised me is just how playable and compulsive it really is. Grip Games have really managed to pull together a fantastic little game and create something incredibly fresh and addictive in a genre that had become tired and repetitive. There are frustrating moments where the procedurally generated levels don’t quite seem to allow you the ability to jump from one platform or another or require absolute pixel-perfect jumping, but overall this offers probably the most fun I’ve had from an endless runner yet. Certainly the action element really lifts it into a genre all of its own and the addition of mission-based levels adds a much welcome twist to the game mechanics as well.
In addition to the main Story Mode, there are two additional game modes. The Free Run allows you to play on any of the game’s five worlds in a traditional endless runner format just aiming to get as far as you can in your chosen area and the Challenge Mode tasks you with taking on a range of one-off objectives of varying difficulty ranging from scoring a set number of points to running certain distances. A limited number of these are available to start with more being unlocked as you play and once you’ve completed the main Story Mode, both of these extend the life of the game considerably.
Visually this looks fabulous and I’d have to say that it’s one of the best looking Minis that I’ve seen. All of the characters are extremely well animated throughout, the characters and backgrounds are superbly detailed and are varied from one world to another and scroll smoothly with multiple layers of animated graphics zooming past in the background (and foreground) as you play and it’s a joy to watch. The cut scenes, while static, are well drawn and are filled with humour even if the language used in the text isn’t quite child friendly and I’d say that’s probably the only downside to the visuals. Sound is just as impressive with a great thumpng soundtrack throughout ranging from rock to orchestral pumping out from the Vita’s speakers!
This is arguably one of, if not the best endless runners available to date. Not just as part of the Minis range, but of all the endless runners that is playable on the PS Vita. It’s fun, has a great sense of humour and is packed with plenty of action to break up the potentially bland nature than many in the genre have offered. There’s more than enough variety throughout the game just in the Story Mode alone to keep players happy for a while and the fact that you can opt to play the game as either a straightforward runner or as a shoot-em-up add a depth that most others in the genre can’t hope to match with. A sure-fire winner and a real gem amongst the Minis range that you won’t want to miss.
At A Glance
- Title: One Epic Game
- Publisher: Grip Games
- System: Minis
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 21Mb