I look at UnEpic

UnEpic is a Metroidvania with some interesting gameplay concepts brought down by an uninteresting story and immature characters, but mostly disappointing because of some key systems that I didn't enjoy playing around even though it felt like a Castlevania game by moments.

I like spells except when their use is limited

UnEpic places you in a castle where you have to find keys to progress in different zones (gardens, sewers, libraries) by defeating bosses, completing quests and generally exploring everywhere using your map. There is a distinctive Castlevania feel to this game - in the music at times - but you won't get mist form or double jump to be able to cross into some zones. You gain experience by killing enemies and then place one of your overflowing points into some stat that might or might not be useful. You learn to cast spells and can buy new ones by getting books, but spells require components that you get by defeating certain enemies that might not be present in the zone you are, why not use a MP system? I almost never used my most powerful magic attacks because I didn't want to wander around farming for ingredients.

It gets pretty insane when playing on hard or more, you get even more useless points.

Whenever you level up, you get some skill points that you can place among weapon skills (one skill per weapon type), armor, hp, potions and spells. You also can't place more points in one skill than your current level is. These skills increase some values (weapon damage, how much life you have, etc.) but also dictate what kind of equipment you can put on. So you both get more points than you need, enough to place in one weapon type (you'll find the one you like the most), one spell branch and all of constitution, potions and armor (because why not) (and you get EVEN MORE points in higher difficulties) and at the same time if you find a really good weapon that needs level 10 in swords, you'll have to wait a few level to get there. They should have given less skill points or offered more choices. Maybe regroup all weapon types in 'weapons' and 'magic' and give 2 or three points per level?

 

For some obscure reason, the game slots everything you find in a convenient quick access shortcut that either uses your numerical keys or the control key in addition to the numbers. For another reason, you also have a set of shortcut for every item type in addition to a user-defined one. Drop them all except the user-defined one and stop slotting every junk dagger I find in the hotbar. I like the 'effects and spells' part of the interface that shows you the duration of positive or negative things on your character (except when they're not, like enemies that get in your inventory and deal damage until you click on them). There's also a little delay to everything, drinking potions, switching weapons, casting spells, it's not really snappy, but you get used to it after a while.

 

A legend telling me what the colors meant would've been nice

Most rooms have a bunch of unlit light sources that you have to light up with your lighter. Sometimes it's useful, but most of the time it only seems like doing so is for achievement purposes and competition.  Give it some purpose! Increase the experience you get in lit rooms, make enemies drop more stuff there! I would suggest to increase the gold gained but for all the junk you find, gold is pretty useless in UnEpic. There's also a fast-travel system that allows you to go between each section of the castle you've discovered. Speaking of travel, I hated that mine shaft in the mine. Usually (in Castlevania games) you have a little elevator that you control, not that you need to wait for if you're not at the right floor.

 

Sexy parodius?

I have multiple issues with the general feel of the fighting in UE.  First of all, you can't hit multiple enemies at once. Enemies are staggered when you hit them but if a bunch of monsters are stacked together (and the game loves to do that) you'll only hit one of them and the others will land a blow or two on you. Second, you need to be at a pixel-perfect distance to hit most enemies without getting hit. It happened to me multiple times that I tried to hit a goblin or a snake with my axe, swinging wildly in front of me and missing while the enemy got up to me and hit me. After that I was in range, but always getting hit first is pretty annoying. Third, the ranged weapons need manual target selection. Why can't they just home on the nearest enemy or offer more trajectories than 'in a straight line'? 

Quest completed you'd think. Nope

The quests also range between annoying and broken. Many times I've walked in the castle, passing by items (rocks, plants, magical hammers) and my character would go 'geez I don't know what's that for so I'm not going to touch it!!!' when I tried to pick them up. Invariably, I would get to an NPC with a quest to go back and collect them. Let me pick them up whenever I can or place the NPC somewhere BEFORE these items appear. If you don't talk to the NPC, you can't complete the quests, it gets annoying when you've died two or three times to something and just want to get there, like in the screenshot above. I finally got to the magical book but I forgot to talk to the dude beforehand, my character quips about how he shouldn't touch the book, time to restart!

All in all, Metroidvanias aren't legion and I've enjoyed UnEpic for a while because it tried to be another one of these, but not much more.