Before I get started on this review, I should really let it be known that Temple Run – yeah, didn’t click with me. I tried to like it, I really, really did, but I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, all of the Temple Run clones hitting the AppStore since, I’ve liked even less. That is, until now. Simutronics, developers of the awesome Tower Defense title, Tiny Heroes, have just released the free2play title, One Epic Knight, and I’m hooked.
Following the typical Temple Run type gameplay, One Epic Knight’s theme is based more off of dungeon crawlers, with your main character running through a castle filled with enemies, traps, hazards, blockades, and of course, loads and loads of loot. The controls are done by swiping on the screen, being able to move left, right, jump and slide all by swiping in their respective directions.
With One Epic Knight being free2play, like other f2p titles, I was worried about the IAP model the developers would decide to use. Would the game have ads? Would the items in the shop be incredibly high priced? Would I feel like players who bought currency through IAP had an advantage over me on the leaderboards? The answer to all of these questions – NO. In fact, I’m still surprised that Simutronics made One Epic Knight available for free. If I would have paid $0.99-$1.99 for it, I wouldn’t have regretted it at all. I actually wound up purchasing a couple dollars worth of currency just to help support the developers. Though, once I saw the IAP model, I was kind of caught off guard.
$0.99 will get you 3,000 coins. That really isn’t much, considering once you pay about 2,000 to upgrade the loot in the shop, you’ll be able to easily snag between 700 and 1,200 coins per game. Not to mention the extra coins you get for completing objectives. The next amount you can pay? $4.99, and that’ll give you 20,000 coins. It just strikes me as odd that there’s no $1.99 or $2.99 IAP option, and that the amount given is so small. Granted, I still would have thrown down a couple bucks if it was just a ‘Donate’ IAP, but I really think increasing the amount of currency given, and maybe adding a $1.99 IAP would push players to purchase them more.
Anyway, as you’re running through the castle, you’ll be able to pick up weapons and shields. As you encounter various enemies, like blobs of green goo, and insane hatchet wielding ghouls, you’re able to use these items to smash through them. Both of these items also increase your score multiplier, which tacks on points for running, collecting coins, and for destroying enemies and objects. After you upgrade both of these items in the shop, they’ll start giving you currency for each time you use them, which definitely helps to gather up some coinage. You’ll also come across lines of currency, gems and treasure chests, all helping you gain enough coins to upgrade items and purchase one time use items from the shop.
Also scattered throughout the castle are large chunks of meat and mana crystals. If you can manage to snag the meat hanging from the ceiling, you’ll go into Rampage Mode, which lets you smash through enemies, objects and hazards so long as you’re still eating the meat. Once it’s about to wear off, you’ll start flashing, and sparks will appear around you. If you can collect 4 mana crystals, you’ll go into Mana Madness mode which boosts you forward for a certain distance, blasting through all hazards and enemies. If you look hard enough, you’ll also be able to find hidden areas, usually behind broken walls, boarded up doors, and under small holes. Some of these areas contain an insane amount of loot, so it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open.
The graphics are cartoony, but fairly detailed, and the animations for each moving object are great. I was actually pretty surprised that the game ran smoothly on my 4th generation iPod Touch. I did experience some issues with some unresponsive controls, but this was only occasionally, and nothing game breaking, though, when it did happen, it was pretty frustrating because it almost always resulted in an unnecessary death.
Priced at FREE and being Universal, there’s no real reason not to check out One Epic Hero, even if you and the Temple Run genre haven’t really clicked in the past, and if One Epic Hero does manage to grab a hold of you, there’s GameCenter integration including 38 achievements along with 5 separate leaderboards including boards for Highest Score, Longest Distance Traveled, Most Loot Collected, Most Critters Slain and Most Obstacles Smashed, all adding to the already high replay value of the game. It would be nice to see some more enemies, and maybe even some boss battles. A huge enemy that gets knocked back, spits loot and shields/weapons for you to pick up, and can either be hit or dodged, but needs to be hit a certain amount of times before moving on would fit in perfectly with the game. It also wouldn’t hurt to see more power-ups. But as it is now, Simutronics has done a fantastic job doing something different with the Temple Run model, and as I already said, I’m pretty surprised One Epic Knight is available as a free2play title. With Tiny Heroes and One Epic Knight now under their belt, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.