These days, gamers have a lot to complain about. If it isn’t having to pay a certain amount of money to access a popular feature in a game, it’s about how their $60 purchase of a so-called sequel isn’t justified because it’s buggy and missing flair. That’s not to say we don’t have good games out there — we obviously do — but some issues are fairly easy to spot.
And that’s just what the raccoon and llama characters discover in SuperEpic: The Entertainment War, the first title from the publishers at Numskull Games. They’re part of a renegade group in the future fighting against a tyrannical game publisher named Regnantcorp, who runs the industry with an iron fist. Going floor by floor, they’ll make their way through a Metroidvania style set-up, taking out enemies, building up currency, facing off against bosses and eventually getting to the heart (if there is one) of the company.
We’ve already seen our fair share of awesome Metroidvania games for the Switch — Axiom Verge and the Guacamelee games immediately come to mind — but SuperEpic works on its own level for two good reasons.
First off, the structure. The team at Undercoders do a splendid job with the game’s levels, which can differ from one another. True, some of them are a bit too long for their own good when it comes to making progress, but the themes are very cool. I was actually a fan of working my way through a vampire’s castle (no, not that one), only to find him sucking cash out of people instead of blood.
And that leads us to the second thing — the game’s sense of humor. It’s hilarious how many great references you come across over the course of the main adventure. What’s more, you can actually find secrets and discover even more of these references, if you feel like going off the beaten path a little. And just how nutty is the game’s humor, you ask? Your save point is a toilet — and that’s a distinctive touch that relates these creatures to Travis Touchdown, methinks.
The game’s combat works wonderfully, with an uppercut, break and single strike that can all be combined together to take out most foes. What’s more, you can use intuition to take on most bosses with ease, through some later on pose a greater threat. It’s all very well balanced, and really opens up the game. Again, some parts take a bit longer than others, but the adventure as a whole is really cool.
You can also level up your weapons and stats and make yourself a stronger duo as time goes on as well. You haven’t lived until you’ve smacked around inhuman employees with a stop sign. That’s just one of the possibilities here, as you can toughen yourself and prepare for the greater battles that lie ahead in Regnantcorp.
I was also a fan of the music as well. It’s distinctive, but also lends a bit to classic games, with influences from the likes of 16-bit platformers and even a little Pokemon, believe it or not. Pop on your headphones for this one.
The visuals are nice as well, with excellent character animation, imaginative boss battles and great themes to discover throughout Regnantcorp. I won’t spoil the later ones, but they’ll put a smile on your face.
There is one interesting element, in which you can scan QR codes with your smartphone to unlock one of the mini-games available in the game. If you don’t want to do that, you don’t have to. But they lend to the game in their own special way, and help you get that much closer to 100 percent. Totally your call, though.
Even with some of the world taking a bit longer to explore, and having to deal with a lack of checkpoints in others, SuperEpic: The Entertainment War stands out as an indie gem. It mocks the game industry while taking advantage of most of its best features; and its presentation fits right at home on the Switch.
I’m also a fan of the gameplay, particularly the combat, as you can mix up different attacks to put the smack down on Regnantcorp’s forces. It may not be a hit with everyone, but those that don’t mind another Metroidvania to add to their growing collection will feel right at home here. Even if it a dystopian future run by an unstoppable juggernaut of a game developer.
Wait, is this real life? Where’s my llama?