The voxel revolution is here and Echo Generation is coming your way with a fun, if not disorganized, adventure. With hints of Stranger things and some Paper Mario style elements Echo Generation is ready to grab and drag you into its hurricane. If you are persistent and have the right timing then this game is something that you will truly enjoy otherwise… it might not be your cup of tea. With my play through I found that if I was able to run around and click on just about everything then I would have a good time, with a few hiccups of entirely obtuse puzzles to solve. However, the story and cast of characters help to bring everything back together for anyone willing to give it a chance.
Echo Generation grabs you from the start and gives you several voxel models of the main character, upon choosing them you hit the ground running. In your room you can interact with elements and some of the real charm of the game is in exploring. The computer has emails from your friends asking if you are ready to play Dungeons and Dragons, a script for the movie you are writing, and of course reminders from school. Since the setting is in the 90’s the blocky PC fits with the voxel art stylings. From here on out there isn’t an abundance of guidance given. Simply the direction give is to entertain your sister. So she prompts you with a quest, which is clear, kind of. Exiting your house gives you free reign of the neighborhood.
Once exploring the street there are racoons hanging out which you can battle. Battle can take a little time to get used to because it replies on button inputs. Your basic attacks will need you to press an input in order to do more damage, a failure will result in minimum damage. The same goes for blocking attacks, a shield will pop up and an input is required to mitigate it. As you progress through Echo Generation you will find comics which unlock special attacks and use your spirit points, SP, which resets each combat. HP is not reset and depends on the use of healing items or sleeping. When leveling up you can select to increase your HP, SP, or base damage. A balance is required if you have any hope of seeing the end of this one.
The characters and plot are really where the game is at. While the story is not always apparent you are basically a kid doing your thing. In some ways you are looking to find out what happened to your father who worked for a secret scientific organization. Along the way you recruit your sister as an ally and then pets. There are five pets with unique skills to find and act as support. It’s the interactions that really stand out though. Since the pets can talk, your sassy Racoon or Dog friend lighten the mood. The world is ripe with mystery as the principal seems to be hiding some dark secrets, there is a prom monster in the halls of the school, aliens, a lot of aliens. The tons of monsters to battle and bosses.
In Echo Generation there is no journal or mission objective screen to help you out. So talking to everyone and touching everything is mandatory. Only by going around interacting with the world is it possible to find out what to ‘generally’ do next. Picking up items that have a purpose but not always a clue at when you will use them, your inventory starts to build. In this regard I spent a lot of time running back and forth and fighting optional bosses because I didn’t know what else to do. At times the clues are vague. Like saying “I can’t get through these bars”, and not saying “I wonder if my robot’s lasers can cut through these bars”. At times I felt lost and a little confused. It would for sure help a lot to have some direction but how much direction did I have in life at 14? Maybe not the best assessment but better hints could shorten the game and make it crisper.
Echo Generation has a lot to offer to those who enjoy RPG elements, the supernatural, and the downright bizarre. With the problems of not having a straightforward path or a journal to keep track of what has been done or where to go it may not respect your time. If you are a fan of Stranger Things then this might be your jam. I personally would recommend the game given its flaws, I am a sucker for games with sassy talking cats.