Unepic review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U
Publisher: A Crowd of Monsters
Developer: A Crowd of Monsters
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Humor is a pretty tough thing for games to pull off. For every Portal or Portal 2, there are dozens of Duke Nukems and Bulletstorms and…well, pretty much everything not named Portal. It’s also highly subjective, which means that what one person finds hilarious, others will find annoying or offensive or just plain dumb — as evidenced, undoubtedly, by the fact there are some people who wholly disagreed with every aspect of that last sentence.

I say that as a preamble to writing about Unepic because, as a Metroidvania parody, it’s meant to be a funny game. It starts when you take a wrong turn on a bathroom break during a D&D game, and soon after that you get possessed by a put-upon demon whom you’re constantly antagonizing with snarky comments. Pretty much everything is done with a wink, and the game loves to give genre meta-commentary and break the fourth wall as much as possible.

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Needless to say, Unepic’s not nearly as funny as it would like to believe it is. That’s not entirely its fault, of course. Considering the ratio of funny to not-funny games, the odds were against it falling on the good side of that equation. Alternately, if we’re thinking of humour less as a dichotomy and more as a funny-unfunny spectrum, it’s definitely closer to the middle of that spectrum than it is to the unfunny side. Plus, of course, there’s the whole subjectivity factor to consider. If your tolerance for snarky meta-humour is higher than mine, you may well love Unepic.

Because of that last point — that the quality of Unepic’s humor is largely in the eye of the beholder — it’s worth considering the game apart from its humorous aspects.

Of course, on that front, it’s still nothing special. Strip away the parodic aspects of the game, and you go from a Metroidvania parody to a straight-up Metroidvania-style platformer. You’re running around a castle, battling monsters, opening chests and uncovering secrets, and you’re doing it in a way that’ll be familiar if you’ve ever played any other games in the genre before.

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Which speaks to Unepic’s bigger problem: that, like many parodies, it ends up being exactly what it’s trying to poke fun at. Add in a sense of humor that you’re probably more likely to find annoying, and you can see why you might be better off looking for a Metroidvania fix elsewhere.

Grade: B-