Review: Echo Prime
It’s been a while since we’ve seen much fromÂ Orcs Must Die!Â developer Robot Entertainment. Â After the amazing co-op success ofÂ Orcs Must Die! 2, they tested cross platform waters with the equally successful strategic combat gameÂ Hero Academy. Â Now it seems that after a stealthy mobile release, Robot Entertainment has brought their new game,Â Echo Prime,Â from iOS and Android over to the PC. Â Usually games from PC or console see ports over to the mobile space, but rarely do they cross from mobile to big screen. Â Was this a good idea and a trendsetter or a port best forgotten? Â Let’s find out!
30 Second Review
+ Â Much needed departure from typical action RPG settings
+ Â Interesting new skill sharing system with echoes pulling from the community
+ Compact missions with a variety of objectives
– Â Maps/enemies are a bit repetitive in the early levels of the game
A Stir Of Echoes
Let’s talk about exactly whatÂ Echo Prime is, because as I alluded earlier, I had no idea that this game popped up in the mobile space or that Robot Entertainment was the talent behind it. Â Echo PrimeÂ appears to be the current vision of a 90’s side-scrolling beat ’em up title. Â It very much looks and feels that way but has all the elements of a current action RPG in a sci-fi setting. Â Your character is armed with a sword and pistol and travels the galaxy completing various missions in bite sized chunks. Â Many missions are broken into various sections; your character gains experience, and there are lots of optional side missions that you can use to farm for xp or just skip altogether.
If all of that sounds hum-drum, well then let’s talk about the echoes! Â You can equip skills or perks called echoes that can be passive stat/defense buffs or offensive attacks that must be triggered. Â Examples could be a buff to your ranged/melee damage or a multi-hit blast of fire/corrosive damage with a 30 second cooldown timer. Â These echoes are earned from contacting other life from within the game universe (and in real life, but I’ll explain). Â Before each mission you may choose one echo to equip from a pool of echoes that you do not own. Â These are randomly chosen from any of your Steam friends that may have and playÂ Echo Prime,Â or even from anyone who owns the game on Steam and is not in your friends list. Â In addition, as you use each echo it will gain xp for you AND send xp to your friends if you “borrowed” that echo from them for a level. Â You can use some of your currency to ensure that some friends’ echoes have a higher chance of appearing in your pre-level choice screen. Â Also, you can friend request people on Steam that continue to show up in your game via the echo system and, again, that will increase the chance of gaining echoes from them to use.
Space Age Gameplay
As I’ve said, you play as an elite Enforcer and make your way across the galaxy on various types of missions. Â Most missions Â have you clearing all hostile aliens or space pirates from different sections of planets. Â Other missions will task you with alien egg elimination, rescuing and trying not to kill brainwashed humans turned rogue or protecting certain artifacts from waves of enemy attacks. Â The missions offer much needed variety and seem to integrate at just the right times when the last four “wipe out all hostiles” missions have lulled you a bit. Â There are also optional arena based missions where you must overcome the odds and outlast endless waves of enemies of increasing difficulty.
Each mission completed gives you many options, one being to visit the store and upgrade your gear. Â As your weapons and armor gain levels it grants a choice between three echoes to upgrade or unlock. Â Various xp or stat boost tokens can be purchased from the store, as well, to give your eliminator an edge for a set number of missions. Â All of this adds a welcome level of depth in customizing your character in many different ways to suit the missions you are taking on.
In Space, Your Screams Don’t Have an Echo
After spending a fair amount of time withÂ Echo Prime,Â I must say that I am more than pleasantly surprised. Â The thought of a game being ported from mobile to PC was a tad offputting, even with the knowledge that Robot Entertainment did a stellar job withÂ Hero Academy. Â I can see how the echo system would work well on mobile platforms, and I may even go back and check out the iOS version ofÂ Echo PrimeÂ after playing its PC counterpart. Â The brief missions really fuel that whole “just one more” addictive sentiment as you are always ever so close to leveling up your character, or a piece of gear, or completing a set of missions. Â There is definitely some tired environments that will thankfully become more varied as you progress to deeper sections of the galaxy. Â All in all, for the retail price of $9.99 on Steam, I find it impossible not to recommendÂ Echo PrimeÂ to anyone who enjoys action/RPG style games. Â I really applaud Robot Entertainment in both innovation and setting because if I have to play one more mage/warrior/ranger style ARPG, I think I’ll just keel over without respawning. Â The sci-fi setting is a welcome change as are the interesting mechanics Robot Entertainment has chosen to infuse into what would otherwise be “the same old skill system”. Â If you are looking for an action RPG in a fresh, new setting with some interesting design choices, then look no further thanÂ Echo Prime! Â Echo PrimeÂ earns nine echoes out of ten.