Farming game enthusiasts who need an alternative to The Simpsons: Tapped Out should give Epic, a title based on the 3D animated feature of the same name, a shot. The goal is to build a mini kingdom in the middle of a forest and aid a group of warriors named the Leafmen in their battle against the environmentally-unfriendly Boggans. If you hold a connection with Mother Nature or just love the color, this free-to-download title is worth a peek.

From the opening moments of the game, the tutorial will draw you in with a multitude of tasks to finish. Whether it's building a nectar reservoir, erecting a facility to train Leafmen, or purchasing a storage area for seeds, growing your kingdom is an entirely rapid process, at least for the first several levels. Purchasing items in the shop can be accomplished by using up nectar, seeds, or this blue energy item called aura. There will never be an idle moment in this game, thanks to the tasks menu found on the upper left-hand section on your device. You can also pick your next objectives by tapping on the thought bubbles that follow the kingdom's inhabitants.

When growing seeds and harvesting plants get too repetitious, click on the battle icon and your Leafmen will be transported into a skirmish with the Boggans. If you're not in the mood for strategically placing your troops in certain positions, an auto deploy button organizes your army before the fight. Although these fights easily end up in your favor, it's good to have a healing potion on hand just in case one of your units is on its last legs.

Since nothing in this world is ever free, the game does have in-game purchases, with the cheapest price set at $1.99 for 150 aura. There may come a time when buying aura will be necessary in completing an objective, and if that occurs, I'll be perfectly content with the several hours of gameplay Epic afforded me. The freemium model is unbearable when you're forced to buy in from the get-go, and thankfully Epic gives players a ton of content to make a future aura investment worthwhile. Heck, I'll even take a few ads that are thrown my way, as long as there's more fun to be had.

Game Center-integration is also top notch, with 63 achievements ready to be earned. By the time you reach level ten, you can build a defense fort which unlocks multiplayer mode in the battle campaigns. If you any of your men fall during the fight, you can revive them by using auras. With so many goals to accomplish, along with the multiplayer feature unlocked once you're deep into the game, it's hard to argue a case against downloading Epic.

Odds are I'm going to skip the movie, which is currently receiving sub-par reviews. Epic the video game, however, is a completely immersive game that will continue to hold my attention well past the film's sell date.


App Store Link: Epic for iPhone and iPad | By Gameloft | Price: Free | Version: 1.0.0 | 45.9 MB | Rating 9+

7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating