Sunday, December 22, 2013

IOS Spotlight #36: Third Epoch Rising

Title: Third Epoch Rising
Developer: Blitztream
Platforms: iPhone (iPad HD version coming soon)
Price: Free
If there's one aspect that makes being an indie gamer so rewarding, it's seeing ambitious and innovative concepts come to life. Don't overlook Third Epoch: Rising because it's a mobile title; you'll be missing a fun, deep, and intelligent experience.
Most likely the first aspect that stands out, and the one that certainly caught my eye, is Third Epoch's minimalist style. The contrasting colors, the art, the minimal UI all combine to give the game a style and vibe all its own. But behind the art lies a deep and complex space RPG. You play a courier essentially, taking jobs from NPCs you talk to in the various stations you visit, jobs ranging from simple package delivery, to search and rescue, to even espionage. Combat is turn-based and tactical; you're able to target enemy subsystems to disable them and must also deal with environment factors like black holes and solar flares. Positioning, orientation, crew members, ship type, and other variables factor into the combat. Outside of the art and gameplay, Third Epoch offers an expansive and intelligent world to traverse, systems to travel between, random encounters to stumble upon, NPCs to converse with, skills to enhance, and more.
However, the game is not without its flaws. Third Epoch is minimalist to a fault, meaning it can be difficult to figure out the mechanics, how tools and gadgets work, and just get a grasp on the controls. Thankfully the developers have confirmed that they're aware of these issues and are working on improvements as well as new content and features, ranging from new star systems with new stories and missions and new ship classes, to more tools and even asynchronous multiplayer. What's more, the developers see this game as setting the foundation for an ambitious shared universe of games about the other epochs ("eras") including steampunk, fantasy, and time travel.

You can download Third Epoch: Rising for free. While there is IAP, it's so well hidden and unnecessary to enjoying the experience that I didn't even know there was IAP until the developer said it was present.


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