With a name like Epoch, you can tell the developers are shooting for something epic, or at least they should be. Epoch is a cover based shooter, which provides head to head robot combat that is entirely controlled by intuitive touch gestures. Now, there’s a brand new sequel which maintains the essence of the original, but expands on the ideas. You still have a cover based shooter where you swipe in different directions to move between cover points, and then tap on enemy robots to target them. The sequel focuses on fleshing out the storyline, enhancing the action, and of course upgrading the graphics.
Epoch 2 really understands the iOS platform, so rather than force feeding a virtual joystick, and action buttons, you just touch. If you want your character to move left, you swipe left, if you want it to fire at a particular enemy, you tap that enemy. The style really makes many other iOS shooters feel archaic, or at least inconsiderate of the touch platform. Since the game is effortless to control, the sequel really puts an emphasis on adding complexities elsewhere to amp up the challenge. The first two levels feel like just an extension of the original, but then you come to level three with a huge boss battle that is a mechanical Tremors style worm. From there on out, you’re consistently given grand challenges with more boss battles, more challenging robot enemies with unique attacks, and a lot more enemies on screen at once.
The difficulty is definitely increased the second time around with the bosses, enemies that attack in your face, flying enemies, and kamikaze exploding enemies. Luckily, you’re given an enhanced arsenal to handle the extra challenge, so you have three quick action buttons to slow down time, toss grenades, or launch missiles. They all replenish over time, and are invaluable when facing the onslaught of new challenging enemies. Another new factor in the sequel is an extensive upgrade system allowing you to outfit your robot with special weapons and armor with different ratings. Each level has a particular rating for what upgrade system works the best to add in an extra level of strategy. Speaking of strategy, there’s a surprising amount included for a shooter game since you’re directing all of the actions with different choices to make on the order of attack of enemies, when to use special items, and when to take cover to reload.
It’s surprising how different of an experience Epoch 2 creates, as it’s still the same basics, but there’s so much else to contend with. There’s also a very involved storyline as you’re battling in a post apocalyptic world in a robot war, while trying to collect fuel cells to both protect, and resuscitate a princess from cryo-sleep. Every single level presents a unique setting with multiple sequences as you travel between different points to do battle in. It’s all presented exquisitely well with ornate 3D graphics powered by the Unreal engine, and they truly shine on the latest A7 based iOS devices. There are some repetitive sequences that arise from the relatively simplistic base mechanics, but it’s still an engaging experience.
Epoch 2 ($5.99, Universal) delivers an entertaining shooter that is suited for iOS, and a should buy for some enjoyable robot action.