Epanalepsis is a narrative-focused point and click adventure game that tells a story about those connections across sixty years and beyond that pays equal homage to New Wave science fiction, cyberpunk dystopian stories, and the art cinema of the early 1990s.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (26 reviews) - 73% of the 26 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 21, 2015

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About This Game

Rachel goes out drinking every night. Anthony plays his videogames. The machinery beneath the world keeps right on ticking. Epanalepsis is a narrative-focused point and click adventure game that tells a story about those connections across sixty years and beyond that pays equal homage to New Wave science fiction, cyberpunk dystopian stories, and the art cinema of the early 1990s.

FEATURES

  • Play as three characters in three radically different time periods. Experience an authentically recreated 1990s, a consumerist 2010s, and a cyberpunk 2030s.
  • Hand-crafted visuals wrung from the cramping hands of a very committed developer.
  • Narrative-focused adventure gaming without the stress and trauma of puzzles or inventory management.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP 3 / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: 1 GHz processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics (512MB VRAM and above)
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible.
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.7 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 or equivalent
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics (512MB VRAM and above)
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or higher
    • Processor: 1 GHz processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics (512MB VRAM and above)
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (26 reviews)
Recently Posted
amok
( 1.9 hrs on record )
Posted: January 21
what:
This is basically an interactive story, not a game.

good:
The writing is arty and the music is repeatedly good at setting the tone.

bad:
If I made this myself I'd probably have released it for free. It feels like a prototype or demo reel. The UI in particular demonstrates the product is unpolished rather than minimalist. A playthrough is only about 10 minutes long, and isn't especially memorable. There are better stories available for free.

conclusion:
I wouldn't recommend this to my friends unless they wanted inspiration for their own composition / writing, or it was free and they liked trippy short stories.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
stranger1982
( 2.5 hrs on record )
Posted: October 8, 2015
Epanalepsis lets you glimpse the lives of three different people across various years: they all encounter the same man in red, said man is trying to warn them about the choices they're going to make and how they might affect the future.
The game that follows is more of a slightly interactive story than anything else, you'll walk around, look at objects, pick a few of them up and be faced with a choice for each character: the gameplay is thin and the story is sadly way too cryptic to make up for it.

PROS:

-nice soundtrack

-some interesting dialogues

-what few glimpses you get of the overall story, and their implications, are pretty intriguing

CONS:

-very basic graphics, little in the way of animations

-lack of actual gameplay

-walking speed is too slow

-the white text often gets lost whenever it appears on a light background

-way, way too vague in its narrative to be actually engaging, you're left wondering what happened, why and how your choices affected the endings you get

-very short, I was done in an hour

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=532042963

I like "artsy" and daring games, as you can see from my reviews, but Epanalepsis totally missed the mark for me: the gameplay is way too basic but that'd be excusable if the story had gotten to me.
Sadly said story was way too vague for me to find it interesting, some references and bits of info were intriguing but that's all there was: the disconnection between each character I controlled, despite the fact they all seem to be involved in what's happening, and dialogues that dealt with things and names that were barely explained, if at all, left me disappointed.

In the end I felt as if the game was being so vague, to the point of coming out as obtuse, just for the sake of it rather than doing it in an attempt to challenge my mind: I simply lacked enough info to be challenged. Despite getting it on sale for around 3,50$ I still felt it was a tad too overpriced for what it does: I can't recommend it but who knows, perhaps you'll have better luck with it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Morgan Blair (Shoukanjuu)
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: September 6, 2015
Play this game if you like weird adventures games with cool music. I can't really say that I like it all that much, but I'd backed it on Kickstarter and previously played Catachresis, so I played it through, once. There are probably multiple endings, but I usually don't try to play through to multiple endings. It was a cool weird story that I didn't really understand much, but that's okay.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Philhouse
( 2.2 hrs on record )
Posted: July 9, 2015
What did I even just play
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MartyrA2J
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 4, 2015
Epanalepsis for me personally was a very frustrating game, from art style, to its linear nature, there were things here I just didn't click with. The game is unabashedly a whacked out story and never really explains anything at all. I would love to tell you what the story of Epanalepsis is all about but it doesn't actually give you any answers. The story flows at a rapid pace and leaves it to your interpretation to get your answers. Now I have played games that feature short stories, The Charnel House Trilogy is a prime example of simple straight forward gameplay with a cohesive story and game elements, oddly enough also published by Mastertronic. It seems like Epanalepsis goes against the grain in just about every way, when it came down to it.

To sum up Epanalepsis, gameplay is rather easy. This isn't really a point and click adventure game but more a visual novel. You are essentially on rails but you determine how fast they move. Go straight to your objective in the next room or stop and examine things in the area. This is basically it from beginning to the end of the game. Occasionally a decision is given to you that may or may not affect the ending. Lack of interactivity also felt frustrating to me, you feel like your just moving from text box to text box. The game doesn't actually give you much to play around with other then a few moments of "Go find this item." I felt that the game could've added a bit more for the player to do other than just slide around.

When I finished Epanalepsis, I didn't have a sense of wonder or thoughtful inquiry, I was more shocked that it was just over and that was it. There is nothing wrong with a short story but it felt like Epanalepsis wasn't interested in me as a player. The tone and narrative on the other hand are done well. You really get a feeling for the three main characters who are stretched out over a wide space of time. From 1990s to the year 2030, each section/chapter of the game creates a unique feel and tone to the game. I wanted to know more about these times and characters but felt rushed and moved along, for the sake of mystery and vagueness. What ties the three time periods together are these supernatural characters who more or less say "Your decisions matter, but not really, because you have made them a hundred times." This sentiment is driven into your head several times.

For a game that is exclusively based off its story and themes, your connection to the characters is only represented in the every day objects of their abodes. From the 90's mixtapes to the online gaming of 2000s. Sadly, you're not really encouraged to look at these items littered about the environments. This adds much needed time to the game but isn't required for you to complete the game. You have to approach this game with a sense of investigation that is solely driven by you. The game will never encourage you to stop and smell the roses. There is no bonus or secret hidden anywhere, you simply just get to know more about that character in that time period. Then your ripped away to another main character and restart the process. By the time you get to the end, your exhausted by the fragmented nature of the game.

Moving on and breaking down the other elements of Epanalepsis, the price of the game is subjective. The truth is that you can beat this game within an hour, if you're looking for a game that offers replayability and length, the game is going to come up lacking. You are playing this game because you are interested in its story and message, whatever that may be personally to you. There is also additional DLC for you to purchase and enjoy. The well done soundtrack is available for purchase, as well as The Epanalepsis Papers. A collection of scans of the developers notebooks and essays/annotations on development of the game. These may give you further insight into the games story.

The soundtrack is something that I found to be done quite well, each track is played effectively according to the story. The tracks do repeat but never annoyingly. The music does a good job of making you feel like everything is normal but that there is still something amiss. Then the music shifts to an outlandish track and everything is suddenly trippy. This I liked quite a bit and wouldn't of minded more of in other areas of the game. Sound effects from moving, to walking through doors were there but nothing else that really caught my attention.

The art style is where I was also thrown off quite a bit. Perhaps its a personal preference but it never really spoke to me. The characters themselves moved oddly and looked strange sometimes, depending upon the environments they found themselves within. While there is detail in the different abodes of the characters, you can't help but shake the feeling that the game feels like it was made on Windows Paint. There are times where the game looks ornate but other times where it feels very uninspiring to look at. Again that is up to personal preference.

There are some technical aspects to the game worth mentioning as well. There is a slight bug where the camera isn't oriented with the text box. You have to shift your character to see what is being described/spoken. The game doesn't have any resolution controls or options whatsoever. Other simple features like being able to move quickly through a room is painstakingly slow. Your characters walk very slowly. You can't double click on an exit but must physically walk your character to the door or to the object you wish to interact with. This is fine for things such as doors and small objects but even larger objects require that you approach them to get a description. This feels slightly silly at times and could've been made a bit more convenient for the player. Speeding up the protagonist a slight bit would've fixed most of these issues.

The game does have quite the following, many people have mentioned they felt a connection and deeply impacted by the tones and characters of the game. I personally didn't feel that way but you may find yourself enthralled with its storytelling. What it boils down to for me was that there was no satisfying answers. You just have to accept the game for what it is. If you can't do that you may find yourself as frustrated as I was.

One thing that can be said about Epanalepsis is that it is unique, I haven't seen many games quite like it or dared to tell such a strange story for better or worse. It doesn't really try to innovate the wheel or add any interesting gameplay dynamics. What it does try to do is make you think about yourself and where you are. So with that in mind, if you feel like you can connect with this game and perhaps don't mind games that are open to interpretation, you enjoy weird stories, and don't demand answers, you may enjoy this game. Sadly for me, it just didn't click.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
XMD5a8000
( 0.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 7, 2015
Enigmatic and thought-provoking. Definitely worth a try for the curious!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
@willoneill
( 1.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 1, 2015
Attempting to interpret Epanalepsis in some sort of personal way feels difficult. So much about it seems to indicate that the creator wants to communicate something specific that you feel as if you could take a stab at what it's 'about' and be creatively, wonderfully and totally wrong.

I think what gives this impression, mostly, is the ending. The way the game closes with a final wraparound to the fate of each character seems to shut the door on the idea of open interpretation.

Still, what I took from the experience was some mixture of the two - having the knowledge of a small part of something without possessing the greater whole, and maybe even being in a position similar to that of the characters themselves: People who don't understand that most of their significance lies in things that they can't possibly know.

I like Cameron Kunzelman games because they really are what they are. His narrative vision is not always conventional, but it never compromises. This is an interesting game, and you should play it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
sboyette
( 0.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 30, 2015
Get this game if you have a thing for (1) shiftless post-college characters overwhelmed by ennui, (2) walking very slowly, and (3) dialog boxes which sometimes clip outside the window. Otherwise, keep your money.

Kudos to the creator for actually making and publishing a game, though. That's far more than most people ever do.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jonathan Kennedy
( 2.2 hrs on record )
Posted: May 26, 2015
Epanalepsis is a game that rewards multiple playthroughs. It never offers easy answers to its mysteries but it begins to fall into place as you play through again and again. This is borne out in the narrative itself. Each chapter offers the player with a choice, but the results of these choices are already made clear to the player before the choice is even made. What results is a game that plays out similarly to Chris Marker's La Jetée: No matter where the story's time travellers end up, no matter what choices are made, the same cycles will repeat, much like the game's rhetorical namesake.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 21, 2015
Epanalepsis is a short game but one that is packed with ideas about moments and how long they can last. If you think of it as the videogame equivalent of a short story, with the associated expectations about the work that needs to be done by the reader then you won't go far wrong. I'd say it is well worth a play.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 24, 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed Cameron's game Catachresis, and was excited to find that Epanalepsis has a similar tone, aesthetic, and quality to what I found refreshing about his work. Epanalepsis is exquisitely written with a haunting, addictive soundtrack, building a tension like a recurring dream that is both familiar and equally surreal. I highly recommend picking up this title and checking out Cameron's other games!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 4, 2015
Epanalepsis for me personally was a very frustrating game, from art style, to its linear nature, there were things here I just didn't click with. The game is unabashedly a whacked out story and never really explains anything at all. I would love to tell you what the story of Epanalepsis is all about but it doesn't actually give you any answers. The story flows at a rapid pace and leaves it to your interpretation to get your answers. Now I have played games that feature short stories, The Charnel House Trilogy is a prime example of simple straight forward gameplay with a cohesive story and game elements, oddly enough also published by Mastertronic. It seems like Epanalepsis goes against the grain in just about every way, when it came down to it.

To sum up Epanalepsis, gameplay is rather easy. This isn't really a point and click adventure game but more a visual novel. You are essentially on rails but you determine how fast they move. Go straight to your objective in the next room or stop and examine things in the area. This is basically it from beginning to the end of the game. Occasionally a decision is given to you that may or may not affect the ending. Lack of interactivity also felt frustrating to me, you feel like your just moving from text box to text box. The game doesn't actually give you much to play around with other then a few moments of "Go find this item." I felt that the game could've added a bit more for the player to do other than just slide around.

When I finished Epanalepsis, I didn't have a sense of wonder or thoughtful inquiry, I was more shocked that it was just over and that was it. There is nothing wrong with a short story but it felt like Epanalepsis wasn't interested in me as a player. The tone and narrative on the other hand are done well. You really get a feeling for the three main characters who are stretched out over a wide space of time. From 1990s to the year 2030, each section/chapter of the game creates a unique feel and tone to the game. I wanted to know more about these times and characters but felt rushed and moved along, for the sake of mystery and vagueness. What ties the three time periods together are these supernatural characters who more or less say "Your decisions matter, but not really, because you have made them a hundred times." This sentiment is driven into your head several times.

For a game that is exclusively based off its story and themes, your connection to the characters is only represented in the every day objects of their abodes. From the 90's mixtapes to the online gaming of 2000s. Sadly, you're not really encouraged to look at these items littered about the environments. This adds much needed time to the game but isn't required for you to complete the game. You have to approach this game with a sense of investigation that is solely driven by you. The game will never encourage you to stop and smell the roses. There is no bonus or secret hidden anywhere, you simply just get to know more about that character in that time period. Then your ripped away to another main character and restart the process. By the time you get to the end, your exhausted by the fragmented nature of the game.

Moving on and breaking down the other elements of Epanalepsis, the price of the game is subjective. The truth is that you can beat this game within an hour, if you're looking for a game that offers replayability and length, the game is going to come up lacking. You are playing this game because you are interested in its story and message, whatever that may be personally to you. There is also additional DLC for you to purchase and enjoy. The well done soundtrack is available for purchase, as well as The Epanalepsis Papers. A collection of scans of the developers notebooks and essays/annotations on development of the game. These may give you further insight into the games story.

The soundtrack is something that I found to be done quite well, each track is played effectively according to the story. The tracks do repeat but never annoyingly. The music does a good job of making you feel like everything is normal but that there is still something amiss. Then the music shifts to an outlandish track and everything is suddenly trippy. This I liked quite a bit and wouldn't of minded more of in other areas of the game. Sound effects from moving, to walking through doors were there but nothing else that really caught my attention.

The art style is where I was also thrown off quite a bit. Perhaps its a personal preference but it never really spoke to me. The characters themselves moved oddly and looked strange sometimes, depending upon the environments they found themselves within. While there is detail in the different abodes of the characters, you can't help but shake the feeling that the game feels like it was made on Windows Paint. There are times where the game looks ornate but other times where it feels very uninspiring to look at. Again that is up to personal preference.

There are some technical aspects to the game worth mentioning as well. There is a slight bug where the camera isn't oriented with the text box. You have to shift your character to see what is being described/spoken. The game doesn't have any resolution controls or options whatsoever. Other simple features like being able to move quickly through a room is painstakingly slow. Your characters walk very slowly. You can't double click on an exit but must physically walk your character to the door or to the object you wish to interact with. This is fine for things such as doors and small objects but even larger objects require that you approach them to get a description. This feels slightly silly at times and could've been made a bit more convenient for the player. Speeding up the protagonist a slight bit would've fixed most of these issues.

The game does have quite the following, many people have mentioned they felt a connection and deeply impacted by the tones and characters of the game. I personally didn't feel that way but you may find yourself enthralled with its storytelling. What it boils down to for me was that there was no satisfying answers. You just have to accept the game for what it is. If you can't do that you may find yourself as frustrated as I was.

One thing that can be said about Epanalepsis is that it is unique, I haven't seen many games quite like it or dared to tell such a strange story for better or worse. It doesn't really try to innovate the wheel or add any interesting gameplay dynamics. What it does try to do is make you think about yourself and where you are. So with that in mind, if you feel like you can connect with this game and perhaps don't mind games that are open to interpretation, you enjoy weird stories, and don't demand answers, you may enjoy this game. Sadly for me, it just didn't click.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 30, 2015
Get this game if you have a thing for (1) shiftless post-college characters overwhelmed by ennui, (2) walking very slowly, and (3) dialog boxes which sometimes clip outside the window. Otherwise, keep your money.

Kudos to the creator for actually making and publishing a game, though. That's far more than most people ever do.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 8, 2015
Epanalepsis lets you glimpse the lives of three different people across various years: they all encounter the same man in red, said man is trying to warn them about the choices they're going to make and how they might affect the future.
The game that follows is more of a slightly interactive story than anything else, you'll walk around, look at objects, pick a few of them up and be faced with a choice for each character: the gameplay is thin and the story is sadly way too cryptic to make up for it.

PROS:

-nice soundtrack

-some interesting dialogues

-what few glimpses you get of the overall story, and their implications, are pretty intriguing

CONS:

-very basic graphics, little in the way of animations

-lack of actual gameplay

-walking speed is too slow

-the white text often gets lost whenever it appears on a light background

-way, way too vague in its narrative to be actually engaging, you're left wondering what happened, why and how your choices affected the endings you get

-very short, I was done in an hour

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=532042963

I like "artsy" and daring games, as you can see from my reviews, but Epanalepsis totally missed the mark for me: the gameplay is way too basic but that'd be excusable if the story had gotten to me.
Sadly said story was way too vague for me to find it interesting, some references and bits of info were intriguing but that's all there was: the disconnection between each character I controlled, despite the fact they all seem to be involved in what's happening, and dialogues that dealt with things and names that were barely explained, if at all, left me disappointed.

In the end I felt as if the game was being so vague, to the point of coming out as obtuse, just for the sake of it rather than doing it in an attempt to challenge my mind: I simply lacked enough info to be challenged. Despite getting it on sale for around 3,50$ I still felt it was a tad too overpriced for what it does: I can't recommend it but who knows, perhaps you'll have better luck with it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 22, 2015
A short video game about causality, technology, and things which lie just beyond the horizon of our understanding. The game creates a really strong sense of atmosphere with its minimalist pixel art, fantastic soundtrack, and clever writing. Epanalepsis is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 1, 2015
Attempting to interpret Epanalepsis in some sort of personal way feels difficult. So much about it seems to indicate that the creator wants to communicate something specific that you feel as if you could take a stab at what it's 'about' and be creatively, wonderfully and totally wrong.

I think what gives this impression, mostly, is the ending. The way the game closes with a final wraparound to the fate of each character seems to shut the door on the idea of open interpretation.

Still, what I took from the experience was some mixture of the two - having the knowledge of a small part of something without possessing the greater whole, and maybe even being in a position similar to that of the characters themselves: People who don't understand that most of their significance lies in things that they can't possibly know.

I like Cameron Kunzelman games because they really are what they are. His narrative vision is not always conventional, but it never compromises. This is an interesting game, and you should play it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 21
what:
This is basically an interactive story, not a game.

good:
The writing is arty and the music is repeatedly good at setting the tone.

bad:
If I made this myself I'd probably have released it for free. It feels like a prototype or demo reel. The UI in particular demonstrates the product is unpolished rather than minimalist. A playthrough is only about 10 minutes long, and isn't especially memorable. There are better stories available for free.

conclusion:
I wouldn't recommend this to my friends unless they wanted inspiration for their own composition / writing, or it was free and they liked trippy short stories.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 21, 2015
This game is the game that HP Lovecraft would make if he had any self-restraint. And cared about people at all.

Okay so that's not a great description but it's the best I can come up with. It's a very restrained story about 3 people over 60 years. It's a very small story and at the same time a very large one. It is resistant to any attempts of grand understanding, but also invites that sort of analysis. It plays with causality and fate, and also how it feels to see your ex-girlfriend find someone else.

There's a lot I don't understand about this game, but I think that's why I like it. Highly recommended for folks who want something to chew on, or just want something with a cool atmosphere and good music.
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 22, 2015
I enjoyed this as a nice, trippy art game. Not too long, varied in approaches, and by the end I was pretty engaged with each little vignette. Soundtrack was good too. I like changes of pace like this that mix things up.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny