SuperEpic: The Entertainment War is a Metroidvania-style game developed by Undercoders and published by Numskull Games. Undercoders are best known for their 2016 release, Conga Masters, and before that, they found some success in the mobile market.
SuperEpic’s main pull is its narrative steeped in Games Industry satire. To be more precise, a satire that focuses mainly on the greed of modern AAA developers, be it through microtransactions, mistreatment of workers, or plagiarising smaller studios’ work. These are things that crop up all too often in the modern gaming climate.
A Story of Little Subtlety
SuperEpic has you controlling the scarf-wearing Racoon Tan Tan, who rides atop his pet Llama. A game developer known as RegnantCorp is slowly killing off retro games by pushing out microtransaction-riddled mobile games, and it’s your job to stop them. If you’re looking for any deep, nuanced criticism of the Games Industry, you’re not going to find it here. It’s not something like This War of Mine, a game that beautifully captures the horrors of war and condemns the people responsible. It’s more along the lines of something like South Park or Grand Theft Auto V, things that criticize actions or ideas with over-the-the top characters and dialogue. This is by no means a bad thing; in fact, SuperEpic is dedicated to its overall narrative, and each area comically replicates a current issue in the AAA market.
My two favorite areas were probably the Employee Lounge and the Server Room. The employee lounge is the second area you visit and is a cushy, fake plant and gym equipment-filled workspace. I liked how this area served to mock how big corporations will create a false sense of comfort, by installing various leisure facilities in your workplace. Sure this isn’t always bad, but it’s often used as a tactic to keep employees reliant on their workplace, and therefore spend more time there. This doesn’t just apply to the Games Industry either, just take one look at any large company like Google or Facebook, and you’ll see a similar structure in all their major branches. I also loved the Server Room. This portion of the game has you chasing a programmer who is plagiarising ideas from smaller developers, and implementing them into his own work. I feel like this is a lesser-known problem concerning the AAA market, as it’s often hard to identify. Despite this, most people in the know wouldn’t refute the suggestion that AAA developers often “borrow” design elements from smaller, more ambitious teams.
Pigs All Over the Shop
I can’t say I’m blown away by SuperEpic’s art style. Like many of its fellow Metroidvanias, it harkens back to the days of 32 bit. The background of each area is relatively simplistic, with each having a pretty set, monotonous color to work with. There’s still enough going on in the background for it not to seem lazy – props like lights and plant life, for example. Simple isn’t always bad either; each area having its own background color to work with obviously helps them stand out. The visuals really shine in the context of the narrative. Each floor of the building follows its own theme, reflected largely in its …