Way back in 2010 when Monster Dash [$0.99] was released it felt a tiny bit lacking. Not that it wasn't a fantastic game, but it could have used a little more depth. You know, upgrades to earn, a complex mission system, maybe eventual retina support?

Now there's no need to worry about any of that. Not because One Epic Game [$0.99] brings any of that to the table, mind, but because Jetpack Joyride [Free] came out a year later and blew its predecessor out of the water. So why is it we're still seeing retreads of an older, lesser product? Could it be, she wonders, because Grip Games forgot their own game's roots when bringing it back from PlayStation Minis?

Say it ain't so, but I can't see many other explanations for what's happened here. One Epic Game isn't a Monster Dash clone, but there are some obvious similarities. To name a few, both have a humorously hardcore hero, randomized levels and weapon drops, the same flavor of non-stop platforming, the same methods of murdering slow-moving enemies, and three-life heart system. Maybe one wasn't inspired by the other, but that reads like a bit of a stretch. Now, all's fair in love, war and game development, especially when it comes to making games on different platforms. But if you're going to bring your game back to compete against its grandaddy, you at least ought to be sure you've made a few improvements in the meantime.

Here's the thing: One Epic Game has more content than Monster Dash. The latter is an endless runner, period. The former has a handful of levels in a story mode and seven challenge modes on top of that. But more isn't the same as better, and that's doubly true here.

The game is presented as a parody, hanging a lantern on all those silly things we've seen in games. It's the broadest sort of parody, satirizing concepts that are virtually universal. Ha ha, tutorials are a pain, aren't they? And so many games have zombies, am I right? Look at this obnoxiously jingoistic story, and mock these bland heroes and villains.

But here's the rub - the story, heroes and villains are extremely bland. The tutorial is horrid. It's not a great joke when you actually respect your audience so little you feel you have to teach them the ins and outs of the jump and shoot buttons. One makes you jump. The other makes you shoot. Got it? And yes, there are zombies. And aliens. And World War II settings. Hah, I bet you haven't seen so much of any of those things before that you might actually be profoundly tired of playing games that fail to use them in any sort of interesting way.

Maybe I'm just not getting the joke, but does it extend to clarifying why the rest of the game is so sloppy? The lack of Game Center and Retina support are the biggies, but if you look any deeper it's just issues all the way down. The game makes due with the bare minimum of animation, for example. Alpha Dog, your musclebound space marine stereotype, has just one: running. Jumping is just the running animation slowed down. The enemies only get to walk (or fly) in a straight line until they fall off something, still walking. Only the weapons and jetpack do anything of note with the visuals.

So it goes with the platforming. The game just loves to screw with you, sticking the best power-up in a place you can't survive or hiding the fact that a platform is too small to hit until you're already mid-jump. That's the joy of intentionally frustrating design, but then occasionally a platform crumbles away before you can reach the end or an obstacle you jump over stretches a little too far to be survivable. It's sloppy, pure and simple.

One Epic Game has two things over Monster Dash: you can chain kill enemies to build up a score multiplier, and you actually have a score, making killing monsters distinctly more valuable than avoiding them. All other things being equal, maybe that would be enough to set it apart. But all other things aren't equal, and we've had nearly two years to find better endless runners in the interim. There's just no reason to go back to something that might have been an okay (if slightly familiar) title two years ago when there are so many fantastic games coming out right now. If you decide to take the plunge anyways, share your thoughts in the discussion thread. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Anonymous

    heheh, sensitive much? 🙂

    its an endless runner, like all the rest, the fact that there's a story actually puts this in the top 5 automatically for me.  still, its a genre i don't waste time on.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/NissaCam Nissa Campbell


      • Anonymous

        If you have a question for him, then ask it.  Just saying "What?" is not helpful.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/NissaCam Nissa Campbell

        Oh shoot. I'm sorry, I'll try to comment up to your standards in the future. 

      • http://twitter.com/nullerr Lucas Foss

        I thought her (lack of a?) question was pretty appropriate. araczynski's comment details that he apparently has a Top 5 for a genre he doesn't even play, with a lolumad thrown in for giggles. Uh... What? indeed.

  • Anonymous

    looks pretty much an epic fail from the video.
    Chillingo, what are you doing?

  • Anonymous

    That's an awfully long-winded post when all you really have to say is that the game is a piece of shit compared to where the genre evolved into.

    The tone is also quite mean spirited.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/NissaCam Nissa Campbell

      What can I say? I don't like hacks that rip off decent games and make them worse. If you're going to be hackish, at least put your heart into it.

      Also, as hard as I try, the gentlemen in charge won't publish tweet-length reviews. Rough luck for all of us, I guess.

    • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

      Did your feelings get hurt? That's no fun... Do better next time then huh?

  • Anonymous

    While I agree with you on the fact that One Epic Game is in dire need of Game Center and Retina support, come on Nissa; saying we shouldn't play this because it resembles Monster Dash, which paled in comparison to it's successor, Jetpack Joyride? As we Arabs say: "Shoo khass toz bi marhaba?" One Epic Game (and Monster Dash for that matter) relies on a gameplay mechanic that's completely different to that of Jetpack Joyride. If I want to a play a runner in the style of Canabalt or Monster Dash that has a silly storyline, is it wrong for me to play this? Yes...it does have it faults, but it's certainly not the spawn of Satan like you make it out to be.

    Oh...unrelated: Jetpack Joyride hardly brought anything new to the genre, but instead resurrected a gameplay mechanic that was present in games (such as the criminally underrated Air Supply) that were around way before it came out. I love Jetpack Joyride as much as the next guy, but come on...it's given way too much credit.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/NissaCam Nissa Campbell

      Not quite my point, sorry if I didn't make that clear. The Jetpack Joyride reference was a joke (another game made by Halfbrick that has most of the things MD doesn't), my contention is that there are far, far better endless runners in the Canabalt or Monster Dash styles if that's what you're looking for.

      I do quite like Jetpack Joyride, but you're right, it isn't really the same sort of game.

      • Anonymous

        Fair enough, fair enough. Honestly, you're right, but the couple of things that separate this game from the rest in the genre are the humor and the "challenges" in each level, IMO. If the humor/sarcasm is not your thing though, then yeah...you probably wouldn't like this...and...as for the challenges, I guess I just like the fact that the game doesn't present them as the "objectives" that we've become so accustomed to in endless runners, but intstead treats them as missions in each level. i dunno lol

  • Anonymous

    I don't think abysmal is a strong enough word. Friends, don't let friends fund shovelware.

  • Anonymous

    Regardless of how bad this game may be (not tried it!), let's be honest here; if there wasn't a tutorial, it would get marked down for not having one.

    • Anonymous

      A game no deeper than a puddle won't get marked down for no tutorial; there's only two buttons and no combos or anything else that needs any explaining. Even grandma who'd never played an iPhone could pick it up in seconds. In this case, it was a joke that fell very flat and should have been cut.

  • http://twitter.com/ZarieoZ Lamis Ghaly

    Woah.. I really love Toucharcade, its my refuge when it comes to buying apps from the AppStore & I still do.. But boy this was the worst review I ever read, & I don't care about the game. Its just like the writer was in a bad mood & just had to finish this last duty(review) before going to sleep. Its not like something that should be written by toucharcade.. Its TOUCHARCADE guys.

    Next time if you don't like something that much just don't review it & we'll know you hated it 😉

  • https://me.yahoo.com/rekzkarz#a0df5 rekzkarz

    I want to comment on the game, not comment more on a comment like all the comments by folks who perhaps need to 'get a life' -- losers!!  (Get your attention?  HA)

    I wouldn't play this game with a 10 foot iPhone!  This is a dud, and the one it's supposed to be a copy of (Monster Dash by Halfbrick) also looks like an un-fun game to me.

    And while I'm on the rant roll, why buy games lacking depth & replayabity for $1 when the mobile gaming market has revolutionized pricing for computer software -- great games can be found for $1 - $3, where just years ago the cheapest games were $10 and none of them were good!

    Every time players buy crappy 'throw away' games for $1 or $2, they are paying for great games to NOT be made & sold for cheap prices.  And a million buyers of a $1 game is a fine return for a small quality developer, while Chillingo backs all kinds of games (they are not developers but promoter/consolidators) w/o getting any negative blowback for duds.

    Don't pay for duds (or for that matter, knock-off immitations) but do support awesome games!

    • http://twitter.com/ZarieoZ Lamis Ghaly

      Hey, Toucharcade is our home.. atleast it is for me. I comment like this for them to make it better not because I don't have a life 🙂

One Epic Game Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 2.5