QSimutronics' One Epic Knight [Free] boasts a more interesting pedigree than your average endless runner: it shares a setting with the studio's Tiny Heroes [Free], a tower defense game that broke new ground for the genre by switching up the mechanics in a big way and being really funny.

Could Simutronics do it again? Would One Epic Knight do for the 3D runner what Tiny Heroes did for tower defense? The short answer is... not quite.

One Epic Knight is funny. The game's tutorial is in the style of a workout video, with your gold-armored avatar coaching you through your first run. He's a chatty little fellow, especially when faced with immediate death, with quips that reference everything from Monty Python to Adam Sandler. Many of his one-liners are original, as when he hopes that his latest ignominious death "won't wind up on Twitter."

Twitter and Game Center are represented with cute bugs on the game's parchment menu, so if you really want to tweet that, you have to catch and smush the blue bug. It's the little details that count. As you play further into One Epic Knight, you unlock more of the traps and monsters from Tiny Heroes, and, like in that game, the resulting deaths are silly and amusing.

The problem is that the humor value of catchphrases and ridiculous deaths wears off rather quickly in this genre - the first time the Knight started his run by with the battlecry "Leeroy Jenkins!" I cracked up. By the third time I got that line, I barely cracked a smile. That leaves the gameplay system itself, and the mechanics of One Epic Knight are resoundingly mediocre. The game uses three lanes, like Subway Surfers [Free] or Agent Dash [Free], and is overall a little less responsive than those games, leading to frustrating "but I was swiping left!" moments.

The major addition to the genre is the Knight's sword and shield, useful against monsters and against traps or monsters respectively. You could stockpile swords (and there is an achievement for that), but every time you kill a monster or disarm a trap, you increase your score multiplier. So if you want to attain a stratospheric score, you have to aim for monsters when you have a sword or two, and away when you're empty handed. There's no mechanic to using these items: you find them as you run, and you use them automatically when you can.

Swords and shields won't help you if you run into a wall or fall into a pit. That's a real problem, given that the blue-on-blue color scheme of the dungeon walls can make it hard to tell where a pit begins, and what the appropriate response is. One type of pit is actually a cliff, where you fall down to the lower level unscathed if you do nothing, but hit the wall and die if you try to jump it. That could be cool if it wasn't so hard to tell the difference between that and a normal pit you're supposed to jump over.

Some of the game's traps can be a bit sneaky the first time you encounter them, and that's alright by me - they're supposed to be traps, after all. Even the game's habit of placing power-ups in places where you will die if you try to get them suits the game's setting - luring heroes into traps was Dungeon Mastering 101 in Tiny Heroes. But when the game's greatest challenge is figuring out whether there is a pit at your feet, that's a design flaw.

There's a lot more Simultronics could do with this game, and maybe they will in updates. Some integration of One Epic Knight with Tiny Heroes would be cool: there's no realistic possibility of sharing levels between the games (the design principles are very different), but some crossover achievements would be a good start. For now, however, One Epic Knight just doesn't stand out enough in a growing field of Temple Run [Free] inspired games.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • webman2k

    Accurate review. Still, I'm having fun with this one. Best thing about these endless runners is that there are so many, they're practically disposable after a while. My favorite so far is pitfall. Love the art style, the different camera angles, and the different environments. I really wanted to live agent dash, since it's oozing with style, but the camera movement along with a speed curve that I think went a tad too fast spoiled it for me.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkusN Markus Nigrin

    One of the few times I'd like to respectfully disagree with a TA review. Playing this one a lot and had not a single frustrating mis-swipe. Scenario and art style are intriguing, the obstacle types are plenty and logical. Other than the author I didn't have a strong sense of unfairness when playing. Or better: Dying. It's what you do in endless runners and I always felt a faster reflex on my side could have avoided that death. Powerups are well balanced, it's not a greedy game.
    Easily one of the best 3D runners I've played, introduces some nice new ideas to TR without overdoing it.
    IDK what others think but this one's a clear 5 star on my list. 
    (this comment is my personal opinion, is in line with what I said on Twitter when the game came out and David is not paying me for this :)

  • Cirnol

    3 stars? No, just no. This game deserves more than that. Especially since theres an update that will fix every problem mentioned in the article. I mean no disrespect but this is why you replay the game, learn from past mistakes and see the difference between a cliff and a jump.

  • Adams Immersive

    Free, and 30 MB... once the next update hits, I’m giving it a go for sure! Sounds like a 3 star game that could be headed for a better rating in future.

  • Tone

    I have to tell you, I really disagree with the review for this one. I'm having a blast with it. Controls seem spot on, haven't had any issues with the response time. Humor and art style are awesome. I highly recommend this game especially for free!

  • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

    I agree with all the negatives mentioned about this game, but I'm still really liking it despite them. This is one of the few Temple Run style games that I find I keep coming back to. 

    But the gaps being hard to see is the biggest thing bringing my experience down. I understand some people can deal with it better, but still a lot of people have issues with it. I've put in at least a couple hours with this game so far and I still get confused on if it's a "jump gap", a "fall down" gap, a "jump off the ramp gap", etc. It's insanely frustrating, especially when it causes your death on an otherwise great run. 

    Also it really bothers me that the coins don't stand out more, they just sit there flat on the ground, drab and un-animated. I like my coins to be sparkly and enticing :)

    Anyway, like I said I'm having fun despite these issues, and this game really is just a couple of minor tweaks away from being amazing. They definitely nailed that "certain something" with the overall feel of the game which other endless runners are lacking. Here's hoping for lots of cool updates :)

  • Steven Lewis

    I agree with most of the negative points in the review, but I absolutely love the theme and humor of this game. Most importantly however, I can last a while in this game unlike many of the others interesting TR type games I have played (example: Agent Dash). And while there are times when I feel like the controls did not respond to my jump swipe, almost always I feel like my character's death was due to my mistake and I have to give it one more go. I think One Epic Knight is fantastic and I am hoping for plenty of updates and success for it.

    Now if only the developers would get an HD version of Tiny Heroes out...

  • dmarcoot

    better jumping mechanic is critical. I like this game but that is the worst part of it by far. the 3 lane navigation is 2nd on my list of things that could be improved

  • GiHubb

    I have to say that although I agree with most points in the review, the bottom line is that I'm really enjoying this game. There is something about it which is just more fun than other behind the back endless runners. (current high score: 1.5 million, not bad I think.)

    Personally I think the controls are very responsive, rarely had an issue, although I would have liked to be able to change lanes while in mid-air after jumping and the ability to duck after a jump, that would have solved the issue when some doorways after a gap don't require a jump.

    I completely agree that some gaps are hard to see and I also encountered a few cheap deaths such as a wall which demands I move to the left and then immediately a gap with a bridge to the right with not enough lane changing space.

    My only other gripe is that it doesn't do anything new really, even if I prefer it over the others. Hopefully a dev finally advance this genre in a similar fashion other devs progressed the 2D endless runner genre such as Wind Up Knight, Project 83113, and the recent One Tap Hero. Would love to see a more inventive 3rd person runner with proper levels.

  • http://www.games.99k.org/ games

    cool cartoony graphics  on this game

  • http://www.digitalstormonline.com/ Andy Houghton

    These games are always addicting. Haven't played this one yet but it looks fun. Based on the other comments I feel like I should make up my own mind due to mixed reviews.

  • CyborgOne

    The BEST endless runner on the store, by far - there are so many ways of playing, and avoiding death, that you never feel "one little mistake and your dead".

    And, with the recent v1.2 update, most of the (minor) complaints raised, have been obviated.  This update allows for better agility for the Knight - he can now switch lanes when in mid-air, as well as swipe down when in the air to return to the ground faster.  And, it includes enhanced lighting for the pits & ledges, which helps with visibility (you won't die because you didn't know what to do in these cases).

    * The knight even alludes to the frustration felt by some due to this concern; when starting a run, he will sometimes say: "I hope they don't have any blue-tinted chasms in there. 'Cause those are pretty hard to see."  ;-)
    Anyone who was avoiding this great game due to this (misleading) review, or was on the fence regarding whether they'd like it, should really download it, and try it out.

One Epic Knight Reviewed by Tof Eklund on . Rating: 3