A Comedy of Errors
Sometimes, games are just weird. You get oddball concepts or mechanics that you don’t expect to work, but often do thanks in part to their charm. Goat Simulator, Garry’s Mod, even The Untitled Goose Game are comedy titles with funky premises, but even in their strange, broken states, they have an appeal to them that shines through. Some games try to emulate that with odd premises, such as indie developer Brilliant Games and their own strange concoction, Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator.
To be clear, Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator, or UEBS, is not really a game in the truest sense. More of a tool to mess around with, the entire point of UEBS is to have mass armies kill each other in real-time. Brilliant Games supplies a ton of options for troop types, broken down into different genres and classes. Each of the troop’s stats are fully customizable as well; so, you want super-powered hulking zombies or tough to kill chickens, that is possible in the simulator.
The number of choices is respectable, with standard and oddball stuff mixed in to satisfy any sort of weird fantasy the user wants to generate. The number of troops on screen can also be staggering, with hundreds of thousands of characters generated into about ten different battle maps is, at least at first, impressive.
The sheer novelty of a mass battle is what carries any motivation the player would have in the end. For a few hours of mucking around, you can have mass battles between medieval knights and World War 2 soldiers, catapults against tyrannosaurus rex, and even chickens fighting penguins! Special appearances by hero characters, godly beings with high stats compared to the rank and file troops, also mix things up in epic 1 v 10,000 matchups. Another fun bit is the ability for the player to possess any character on screen, getting into the thick of the fray as they see fit.
Sadly, this is where the fun kind of ends. The possession controls, for example, are incredibly stiff. Movement sometimes barely registers and attacking is a simple click of the mouse when in range against an enemy, which may or may not even strike your foe as hit detection is dodgy at best. Camera controls are a bit finicky and the games own framerate simply chugs on higher settings. Thankfully, UEBS allows for low and even joking potato visuals to compensate for the large number of characters on screen, but even then, it is sometimes impossible to make UEBS visually striking.
Frankly, once the novelty of thousands of dinosaurs eating laser-toting spacemen wears off, UEBS kind of just sits there. Though that might be the point, after all. UEBS is just a simulator that is designed to be a partial joke, partial tool to let the player's imagination run wild. In that way, the biggest strength the game has is not the game itself; it’s the community.
UEBS is one of the many games to utilize the Steam workshop community, which pumps out modded troops that can be downloaded and plopped into the game as the player sees fit. Want some fantasy werewolves to diversify your evil army or zombies and skeletons? How about modern soldiers instead of WWII-era fighters? Heck, tons of options, from superheroes to Jedi to Pokémon to weird things, such as Samurai Horse Robots, have already been created for use in UEBS.
That fan interactivity is what pretty much gives UEBS some legs after the novelty fades. New options, new matchups, character stats to tweak, all of this just adds to the ridiculousness of the entire experience. It is impressive how much stupid fun can be had in UEBS just by the creations of the fanbase alone.
In that way, Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator succeeds at just being a fun diversion of a tool to play around with. It is still technically rough around its edges, and it chugs along horribly in the thick of battle, but you cannot deny it at least delivers on epic battle simulations and is fun to mess around in. Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator succeeds at being a charming sandbox, waiting to be bombarded with the wild imaginations of those who play in it. You can’t really ask for anything less in the end, can you?
TechRaptor played Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator on PC using a copy purchased by the player.