I think it's fair to say that there are quite a few gamers who might consider some gaming companies out there a little bit... evil. Still, they're usually "load up a game with microtransactions" evil, not "take over the world" evil — except for the villains in Undercoders' new game SuperEpic: The Entertainment War.
In SuperEpic: The Entertainment War, society is ruled over by the evil RegnantCorp, a company that likes to make video games and — gasp! — try to squeeze out every single penny from their customers. In fact, they're the only game developer left in the entire world.
Tan Tan's the Man
In SuperEpic, you take on the role of Tan Tan the Raccoon. Tan Tan isn't really able to walk, so he rides on the back of his llama friend. While the bad guys have all sorts of dastardly weapons, Tan Tan begins the game with an umbrella, a broom, and a plunger. Yes, that's right — you've decided to head into battle against an evil megacorporation with some things you grabbed from the hall closet while riding atop a llama.
Combat operates in a pretty straightforward fashion. You have your usual directional key movements and three distinct attack buttons; each button uses one of the three different weapons. These weapons have their own strengths, weaknesses, and purposes, and all of them can be swapped out later in the game for new ones. As an example, the broom (or anything else in the slot) swings down-to-up and can pop enemies into the air, letting you execute a Guilty Gear-style aerial combo.
As things progress, SuperEpic: The Entertainment War broadens its horizons, You'll gain a double jump, a dash, a rage meter, and new weapons and attacks as you play. Unlocking these new things, however, may be one of the strangest (and coolest) things I've seen in a video game yet.
The Minigames of SuperEpic: The Entertainment War
SuperEpic: The Entertainment War is a Metroidvania — quite a good one at that. Like many other games in the genre, it has some secret areas that are normally closed off to the player. While some require special keys and others necessitate movement abilities, there are some which require you to play a minigame by scanning a QR code.
First, you approach some kind of barrier with a safe full of treasure behind it. Somewhere nearby is a keypad and a pretty large QR code. Scanning the QR code will take you into one of several minigames which are send-ups of stuff like clicker games, Flappy Bird, bubble shooters, Frogger, and likely others. Successfully beat the minigame and you'll be given the code for the keypad.
It's a completely unnecessary fourth wall break — and I absolutely love it. The meta of a crappy game made by the evil company crashing and outputting a secret code is pretty darn amusing. Unfortunately, one of the several minigames I played also crashed for real, rendering me unable to get past one of these secret doors.
There is also a "Pigcoin" ATM which takes you to a clicker game. As you progress in the clicker, you can convert Pigcoins into in-game money and withdraw the cash at a later ATM. I thought this was a pretty cool mechanic and an interesting take on the culture of coin mining and modern gaming.
A Loving Parody
What's clear to me is that SuperEpic is, on its face, a really solid Metroidvania game — at least in the 2 hours I played. I made it about 18% of the way through the decently-sized map by that point, fought three bosses, and loved every second of it.
A keen-eyed gaming veteran will spot several homages, parodies, and throwbacks to many classic games. You save and restore health in bathrooms, much like the save rooms in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and the later games that emulated it. One level has you fight a boss that is a vampire — and yes, he does throw a wine glass on the ground and subsequently make fun of the cliché. A later level is very clearly an homage to Mega Man. It's all wonderful fun.
I think the charm of SuperEpic: The Entertainment War may be lost on many people. If you like a good platformer or a Metroidvania, you should absolutely pick this up — doubly so if you're a fan of classic video games like Castlevania, Metroid, and Mega Man.
TechRaptor conducted our SuperEpic: The Entertainment War Coverage Club on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the publisher.