“An excellent shooter occasionally weighed down by half-baked ideas.”£1.99
Streaming movies, web browsing, finding restaurants, confounding our elderly relatives – man, is there anything our iOS devices can't do? As it turns out, yes, there is actually: they can't imitate console cover shooters to save their lives. And that's why EPOCH. doesn't even try. Instead, it attempts to be the first in a new breed of iOS-friendly stop 'n' pops, and – for the most part – it makes every other robotically stiff attempt at the genre look like a prime candidate for the scrap heap.
See, EPOCH. doesn't “do” time-consuming fat. It cuts right to the heart of these games, straight to the combat. You're physically stuck to cover (as the result of some tragic glue accident, we're sure), resulting in a control scheme based entirely on swipes and taps. Swipe left and right to move between three lanes of cover, then tap on different enemies to target them. Simple, right? There are, however, a couple wrinkles: swiping down lets you duck, and swiping up sends you jetpack-flipping through the air, usually putting you out of harm's way.
Meanwhile, enemy bots attempt to vaporise you with all manner of guns, grenades, lasers, cover-smashing blasts, and so on. The end result is fast, fluid and heart-poundingly hectic. In a word, it’s excellent. Really, combat's only big hang-up is that baddies look like garbage – literally – and have a habit of blending in with EPOCH.'s junked-up post-apocalyptic world.
Problem is, EPOCH.'s sandwich becomes decidedly less appetising the further you get from the meat. In terms of structure, it does its best Infinity Blade impression, but gets the details all wrong. Exploration is non-existent, progression is snoozeworthy thanks to samey upgrades, and the first not-even-an-hour-long playthrough is a total cakewalk. Granted, the game goes from R2-D2 to Terminator on higher difficulty levels, but you have to unlock them first.
It is, however, a joy to look at and – in spite of its lows – highly replayable. Like guns, robots, and hiding behind walls? Then EPOCH.'s a no-brainer.