Echo Generation

released on Oct 21, 2021

Echo Generation is a turn-based adventure game that follows a gang of kids through otherworldly adventures as they investigate mysterious and supernatural events in their hometown that will change the course of their lives forever.

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If I had to sum up Echo Generation in one word it’s lazy. Outside of the art style, nothing about this game stands out. Not the story, characters, or gameplay, all of which emits a lack of effort. I could write more about this game, but honestly I just don’t feel like it deserves my time.
+Good art style
-boring story
-stale characters
-horrible defensive QTEs during battle
-mediocre battle system

Extremely charming, a bit challenging though

I downloaded this game back when it was released on Game Pass and completely forgot about it until they announced it was leaving the service, so I decided to knock through it really quick since it looked interesting on a cursory glance. After beating it, I think I'd say I'm content with the experience I got and I wanna give it a full review because I haven't seen any discussion on it anywhere.
To start off, the visuals are fantastic and I'd say it's one of the most visually pleasing games on Unity. Normally I'm not a fan of voxel-based art styles since most games that use them tend to look a bit samey but Vanessa Chia and her team did a great job at creating their own style with the tools they used. On top of that, the lighting is fantastic and used very well in conveying tone and atmosphere. I feel it shines best in bigger, open areas where they use 2D pixel art to create distance detail, like sunsets, distant cities or neighborhoods, and plains. In terms of the world you're interacting with though, every area is full of lots of clutter and detail that all feels intentional and makes the world feel lived in which makes taking in your surroundings a joy. The music and sound design are also great, with the soundtrack matching very well with the lighting and coloring of every scene and the ambient audio creating good tension when needed. Props to Pusher for making an overall fantastic soundtrack.
When it comes to gameplay, Echo Generation has you going between two main methods - Paper Mario-style combat and point-and-click-style exploration. Every combat encounter is turn-based with you, your sister, and one of several pets you can find each having unique skills with different purposes. When you level up, you have the choice of choosing between upgrading each characters' health, strength, or skill points. I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND upgrading health evenly with all characters, while having the humans focus on strength past that and your pet upgrade skill points. Your humans will be the main damage dealer and the pet will be mostly focused on healing them both. Unfortunately, early on the combat isn't particularly fun since most enemies can take you out really quickly unless you get a feel for the timed actions for blocking their attacks and landing yours. Thankfully the enemies are physically in the world except for two areas so you can pick and choose your fights, but there aren't that many and they respawn on a timer so if you need to grind, it can be a hassle. As your journey progresses, you can find comic books which expand a specific characters' moveset while adding more utility to their kit, like making the enemies bleed or poisoned or stunned. Unfortunately, these status effects aren’t that important as they all last for less than three rounds and deal only one damage per enemy turn while nearly every enemy has over 50 health past the 1/3 point.
My biggest gripe is that you don't have much of a reason to use anything except the first pet since it has a cheap healing move and every pet you get starts at level 1 in a game where grinding is time consuming. Once you hit about the 1/3 point in the game, every fight ends up going the same way with you spamming the same moves over and over just because they're more efficient than anything else. This slightly changes when you hit the 2/3 point and you swap to some new moves, but most of the encounters go the same way and take a while because enemies are extremely tanky and combat is a bit on the slow side. They are very well designed in a visual sense however. There aren't many enemies in the game overall, but all of them have incredibly good designs and the animation work done by Edgar Abrego and Ian Mendoza make them all stand out. I just wish fighting them was more fun.
Past the combat, the exploration and story progression were some of the few things I didn’t like from the start. Like I stated earlier, exploration is like a point-and-click adventure game where you search every nook and cranny for items to pick up and for where they might need to be used. The highly detailed environments you explore through are very nice like said earlier but some areas have so much clutter that it’s hard to tell what you can and can’t interact with. On top of that, there are a lot of items your character will just decide they need for an arbitrary reason so it makes the discovery process not very satisfying overall. At a certain point I needed to use a guide for several things because I missed small items or couldn’t find the single interactable object that I needed to progress. I feel it was an interesting choice since it encourages full exploration of each area, but some things felt really obscure and didn’t make sense to me. If you’re a more patient person than I am, this might be something about the game you’d enjoy but I personally didn’t like this aspect. The world is also a little annoying to navigate since there isn’t any form of fast travel, unless you can consider a bus to an area that’s disconnected to the rest of the map to be that. There are two points where the end of an area would connect with a previously closed off part of the map, but the movement speed of your character when sprinting is just slow enough to make it not feel convenient.
I don’t really have much to say about the story honestly. It’s fine, it’s not particularly interesting and felt like most of the plot just kind of happened without much cause or effect. I’m probably misremembering, but the initial drive for the story was also completely unrelated to what ends up happening, other than the inclusion of aliens. Early on, people around you are talking about you and your friends are going to make a movie about aliens the next day, but you’re not driven to go to the first plot beat of the game which involves the player heading to the right and entering a repair shop. Everything felt really disconnected and lacked any sort of stakes so I was hard pressed to care about what could happen next.
In the end, I would recommend this game to someone wanting a more puzzle focused game who is fine with the combat shoving you around a little bit. The story doesn’t do enough to keep you engrossed in it and the lack of variety is a little disappointing, but the art, music, and world are solid enough to make the experience enjoyable. If they were to make a follow-up, I would want them to make the combat have more variety in terms of enemies, useful skills, and options in the early game and I would love to see a quest log or character thoughts page or something to make the direction a bit less vague.

Didn't expect a turn based game but what I also didn't expect was the auto save being so aggressive that it made me overwrite items and I didn't notice any type of manual save.

This game is a GEM! I Finally got around to playing the game and loved every little bit of it. If you like games like legend of Zelda and the TV show stranger things you will love this game
The idea of it taking place over the course of a summer and solving the mystery within your small town is done very well in this game.
I will also give alot of praise to cococucumber as they are a small studio that created this game and in my opinion they knocked it out of the park