Have you ever played a game and two hours in you think, “I am having fun, right?” Then another hour passes and you think, “Okay this is pretty fun,” as you play on losing track of time. Of course you have if you’ve played more than one game in your lifetime. That is the feeling I had while playing what I consider a surprisingly good game called SuperEpic: The Entertainment War. This wacky Metroidvania style game is giving you the chance to take down a greedy gaming company called RegnantCorp while riding the back of a llama. Yes you heard correct. Even better you are a raccoon riding the back of said llama. Funny? Absolutely. Equipped with a variety of weapons you infiltrate the corporation and begin a journey going from room to room, top to bottom. As in most Metroidvania games you will be doing some backtracking and searching for ways to advance to new areas. That leads to one of the biggest issues I have with the game but I will discuss this later.
As you make your way you will find points of interest that will show up on your map. For example in order to save the game you will have to find a toilet, and use it. Remember to flush you animal. This will be your next spawn point in case you die. Admittedly I didn’t die often but make sure to save when possible because it refills your health, rage and stamina. Don’t worry though if you die the theme of the game rears its ugly head and offers you a solution. Pay half of what money you have collected from defeating enemies and continue or start over from your last save point. Decisions…decisions. You can only do this once between save points so make sure you save often and if you happen to die weigh your options.
The enemies of the game are an absolute delight. Not as in they will come up and offer you things in an elegant way. No, they just appear so cool on the screen. I got the feeling at times I was fighting against a slew of Animaniacs characters. If you don’t know the reference it was a quirky cartoon back in the 90’s. The enemies for the most part do not pose much of a threat. Some will attack strait forward while others attack from all sorts of directions. There is a good variety of baddies which is certainly a plus in a game like this one. It wouldn’t be fun though if you didn’t get the occasional boss fight and they are a hoot. Each boss battle is different in its own way and will come with comical dialogue. In some cases you even get to choose what to say back to them. In order to dispatch of these foes which mainly consist of other animals dressed in human clothing or clothing that is just clothing. Okay let’s not get off track, this is a discussion for another time. Your raccoon dressed in clothing is equipped with weapons such as an umbrella, golf club, tennis racket, plunger etc. You have a straight forward attack, an upper cut attack and I downward attack. Each weapon does different damage and can be upgraded by finding vendors placed throughout the map. What I really enjoyed was finding vendors that will sell you items to equip that will upgrade your health or defense. Needless to say you can become a very powerful raccoon\llama combo. There will also be items to purchase later in the game that will help you progress so keep an eye out.
The currency in the game is pretty basic. Defeat enemies and gain money. The majority of the vendors use this currency but there are some that use gems instead. You can find them in hard to reach areas as gems will allow you to gain special attacks. This all plays out like every Metroidvania game, so the further you progress in the game, the more abilities you will need to discover. You know the drill. Double jump, floating, special items etc. This all works really well in the game for the most part. The menu can be a tad tedious to navigate at times due to its appearance but it’s no biggie.
At the heart of the game is its Metroidvania formula but there is something seeded in the game that I didn’t quite enjoy. In certain areas you will find access points that will ask you to pull out your smartphone and use a QR scanning app. This will take you to another silly game on your phone mainly consisting of copycat finger tap games. That isn’t the problem. The issue that I have is that first I have to have a smartphone. Second I have to download the app. Then I have to actually play a phone game I don’t want to be playing in order to get a code to access an area on the actual game I am already trying to play. Whew! I understand what the developer is trying to do here with this implantation and it doesn’t stop you from progressing in the game. Accessing these areas are just like finding a hidden area. What if I didn’t have a phone? Or internet access at the time? In reality it took me away from the game that I was enjoying and it seemed unnecessary.
One of the best parts about SuperEpic is the humor. The greedy corporation is trying to pinch every penny from its consumer with micro transactions and paywalls etc. but they don’t care one bit. They like to throw it in your face and even boast about doing so. The fun doesn’t stop there though as your character the raccoon has odd comical things to say as well. Such as, “Hey, we can double jump thanks to that weirdo! Let’s see if we can find her again…” and just when you think the weirdness has ran out you get sucked away into a game within a game. Some straight Inception type stuff. Perhaps not that deep but it does pull you into a retro style game that reminded me of Castlevania. It wasn’t easy. Kind of like Castlevania.
What you should enjoy about SuperEpic isn’t just the variety of characters and baddies but the attention to detail as well. Not as in the character models which are done well I might add yet the little things such as figuring out how to access an area. For example there is a spot in the game where you will find two basketball hoops. In the background there is a score board and an enemy shaped ball that you can hit upwards into the net. I won’t give away what you need to do exactly but get it right and be rewarded. That is what you will find in this game. The details I tell you…the details.
It isn’t all easy going for SuperEpic though as some areas will be extremely confusing or you will get the sense you are doing the same thing over and over again. There is a stale period of the game right before the halfway point as you’re trying to unlock more areas. Don’t get discouraged though, move forward and enjoy whooping ass. You can play the RC Roguelite Proto which you get access to at the home screen after playing the game for a while. I didn’t play it as much as it seems to be a single run through without having to worry about game progression. One piece of advice for the game. Get the elevator working, you will thank me later.
SuperEpic: The Entertainment War hit me by surprise. I was not expecting to have this much fun riding the back of a llama. I also have to admit I have been a little down on Metroidvania type games recently. The balance between humor, gameplay and story helped pace the game nicely. The combat was addicting in ways I didn’t expect even if sometimes you would get caught in a hit loop. It rarely frustrated or annoyed me. The game understands what it is and it plays off of it very well. Area designs are great and the sound of the game is actually pretty amazing. I played it on the Switch and think it is definitely made for that platform. Of course like any game there are a few bumps and bruises but nothing major. I experienced zero crashes and no issues when the screen was full of baddies. The status in the menu is neat being able to see your characters attributes and your progress in the game. I didn’t 100% like the menu screens but it’s a picky thing to even bring up. The only major issue would be the QR barcode scanning. Some might not have a problem with it but it goes along with some of the other issues in the game. If you don’t know what it is then you have no idea what to do in that situation and might spend way too much time on it. This happens a few times in the game and did hurt the overall experience for me. Remove that from the equation and overall I enjoyed this game. If you own a Switch I recommend adding it to your library. It just might surprise you.
A review copy was provided for the Nintendo Switch.
Release date: December 12, 2019 on PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
Rating: 8 out 10 (Buy)