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Epitasis Review

Epitasis Review

Epitasis Review

Experience a beautifully-crafted alien world in this 3D exploratory puzzler from Epitasis Games

Category: Reviews
Written by: Cindy Kyser on May 13, 2019
Developed by: Epitasis Games
Published by: Epitasis Games
Release Date: May 1, 2019
Genre: 3D Exploratory Puzzler
Platform: Windows, Mac OS/X

Epitasis has been on my radar since August of 2017 when Lucas Govatos first launched his Kickstarter campaign. I was enchanted by the artwork, the music, and the concept. I made a pledge and looked forward to his regular updates on the game’s progress. For those who are curious, ‘epitasis’ is a term used in classical drama. According to Wikipedia, the epitasis is “the main action of a play, in which the trials and tribulations of the main character increase and build toward a climax and dénouement.”

Based out of Annapolis, Maryland, Epitasis Games is a one-man indie development studio. For 3 years, Lucas has been hard at work transforming his artistic visions into a 3D world that is breathtakingly beautiful. Built with the Unreal 4 Engine, the game allows free exploration of a diverse landscape that is infinitely engaging in terms of color, light, and form. In addition to delighting your eyes, your ears will perk up to the synthesized soundtrack produced by Pejman Roozbeh (also known as Funk Fiction).

The game begins in 1994 at the Very Large Array Radio Telescope facility in New Mexico. While listening to the sounds of the universe, a signal is detected. Within the signal, scientists find a set of earth coordinates that you are sent to investigate. At the designated location, you find a mysterious portal that moves you through time and space.

Epitasis is presented as a central ‘hub’ with 4 primary portals. Each is associated with a geometric shape (circle, square, triangle, hexagon) and leads to a different area of the planet. Within each portal are ‘sub-portals’ that provide additional destinations. You find remnants of an abandoned alien civilization with structures, machinery, and drones. There are puzzles to solve beyond each portal and a primary area is ‘completed’ when a specific artifact is recovered.

For the most part, puzzles consist of activating and directing lasers to open gates and operate machinery. There are pressure plates and boxes involved in almost all scenarios. Although each puzzle has a different topography and architecture, most puzzles are conceptually similar. You figure out the laser path needed to open a gate and then use the boxes (and/or yourself) to activate it by applying weight to the proper pressure plate(s). Often, you are required to open multiple gates to gain access to the area that is your ultimate objective.

In some puzzles, aiming the lasers to refract light in the proper direction is required. Occasionally, there are red ‘death’ drones on patrol, but they are not too fast and can easily be evaded if one is paying attention. You also need to pay heed to lethal red laser beams which can be avoided or blocked. The penalty for death is not steep and you find yourself reincarnated at an earlier place in the current puzzle.

Along your way, you will encounter some complex machines that have no operating instructions. For these, the puzzle becomes learning how to use each device and understanding its purpose in the game.

While boxes are carried temporarily, there are a few items that are picked up and stored in inventory. As mentioned, each portal has a primary artifact to collect and there are red cubes to be gathered for a non-essential puzzle that results in a Steam achievement. And, along the way, you just might find a friendly drone who turns out to be a very useful traveling companion!

When I first entered the Epitasis environment, it felt so large that I was overwhelmed. I began jumping through portals and sub-portals in search of a starting point and found myself lost and confused. I decided to return to the central ‘hub’ and rethink my strategy. I was advised that focusing on a single portal might be a better approach. I stepped through the ‘circle’ portal which contained only two sub-portals. Each sub-portal had a different puzzle to solve and after I had completed both and witnessed the results, the game began to make sense to me.

The navigation is intuitive for anyone who has played a game built with the Unreal Engine and prompts are provided along the way for commands needed to interact. The game has an auto-save system with a single slot that is updated during game play and upon exit. I would have preferred to see an explicit save with multiple slots but that’s just me! At the time I played Epitasis, the save system was slightly inconsistent and progress on your current puzzle was not always fully saved. As a nice feature, there is an option to ‘reset the current puzzle’ which was handy when I managed to leave boxes inside a structure and then jumped to the outside without a re-entry point!

Although the Steam page indicates that the astute gamer will be able to play through Epitasis in 3-4 hours, I am not the person they are describing. I’ve logged over 15 hours in the game, several of which are due to a ridiculous gaffe on my part. After making quite a bit of progress, I saved my game and logged off for the night. The next day, I hit ‘New Game’ (instead of ‘Load Game’) and it started over and auto-saved over my progress. Grrr… Gamers who are easily distracted will be pleased to know that Mr. Govatos has since added an ‘are you sure???’ warning when a player with a saved game starts a new one. I don’t blame him for not originally planning for ‘the idiot factor!’

I have been actively watching the Steam discussions regarding Epitasis and my hat is off to Lucas Govatos. He has been tirelessly accepting feedback and tweaking the game to incorporate suggestions that improve the player experience. At times, players have been less than cordial and he has responded with kindness and grace. The original ending for Epitasis involved a gravity-free chamber that was a real challenge for some players. Unlike the rest of the game, this segment involved timing and coordinated movements. It was actually a very interesting scenario and the problem with it (for me) was in my chair, not on my screen. However, Lucas reworked the ending to simplify the mechanics and I applaud his flexibility and responsiveness.

Those who enjoy exploration and puzzles should play Epitasis. With the combined artistic talents of Lucas Govatos and Pejman Roozbeh, it is a lovely game to experience. For me, it represented a total departure from reality and a real step into someone else’s imagination. It was a refreshing respite from the frenzy of everyday life.

Grade B+

+ Stunning and complex 3D environment with diverse color, light, and form
+ Beautifully synthesized soundtrack that changes to set the tone for each scenario
+ Reasonable puzzles that make sense within the context of the game
Although puzzles differ in terms of presentation, many are fundamentally the same
Nighttime in Epitasis is very dark. Navigation becomes difficult, even with a flashlight.
– Save system resets all or part of some puzzles so stopping in the middle of something may mean performing a bit of rework


System Requirements
MINIMUM Windows:

OS: Windows 7
Processor: Core i3 / AMD FX 2.5Ghz
Memory: 5 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX / AMD Radeon 6870 HD
Storage: 6 GB available space
Additional Notes: Intel integrated graphics is supported, but not recommended


OS: OS X 10.12
Processor: Intel Quad Core CPU
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000, Iris 5000. Most Macs from 2012 and on.
Storage: 7 GB available space

Cindy Kyser

Cindy Kyser

Cindy’s love affair with gaming began when she opened a mailbox in front of a white house and took the first step in a long series of adventures. ‘Back in the day,’ Cindy was a regular contributor to JA and an active member of the online gaming community. She has attended several E3s and has had the pleasure of spending time in person with both Ray and Randy. Her all- time favorite adventures include the Tex Murphy series, the Gabriel Knight series, and The Longest Journey. She also enjoys RPGs and her list of ‘best ever’ includes Fallout, Asheron’s Call, and Planescape Torment. Â Frustrated with the cost of rising PC system requirements, Cindy decided to switch to console and tablet gaming. Although you can teach some old dogs new tricks, she discovered that console controller dexterity is a skill set that she is lacking. Her results with tablet gaming were not much better. With the exception of a few gems such as The Room and Forever Lost, there is a limit to how much one can play Candy Crush and Hidden Object Adventures. Having proved that pure escapism is worth the investment, she has a new gaming laptop and is back to her search for the perfect adventure. Â After spending most of her life in Los Angeles and Atlanta, Cindy escaped the stress of urban life and moved to rural Arkansas. To show that she has become a true Arkansan, she has taken up deer hunting, wears pink camo, and put a chicken coop in her backyard. On a stressful day, she can be heard yelling ‘Woo Pig Sooie’ when all else fails.

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