Closing in on the end of the year, our final thoughts for Games of the Year and titles just trying to squeak themselves into the 2020 calendar, I found myself falling for a quirky RPG that after 5 minutes had me wanting more. Sadly, it cut me off 25 minutes after that basically telling me to come back next year for more. Available until December 15, 2020 through a limited time free demo of the alpha build, Cococucumber’s RPG Echo Generation is going to be a contender in 2021.
While the art style and the premise caught my eye, it was both the gameplay and some of its quite clearly Canadian features that sold me on Echo Generation. starting off by picking up a hockey stick and a hockey magazine in your bedroom you head out to face the world, or your mother telling you to spend time with your sister. Asking you sister to tag along, she says sure, but you’ll need to get her a traffic come first as decoration for her bedroom. So heading out the door, that’s exactly what you set out to do!
The world of Echo Generation makes me think a little bit of Earthbound and a little bit of Citizens of the Earth that came out quite a few years back now. The colors are vibrant, there’s stuff littered everywhere to interact with and who knows what you’ll use it for down the line. If at all.
So setting off to find that traffic cone you soon encounter a group of raccoons that won’t let you pass because a three-on-one fight just isn’t fair. Thankfully, there’s a one-on-one fight to be had which leads you into a quick battle to teach you the ropes. And by teach you, I mean figure it out for yourself as the controls are intuitive enough.
Using a bit of interaction to keep things interesting, battle is a more hands on than your average RPG. Once you decide to attack, you’ll have a timer that appears in order to press at the right time in order to do more damage. The same is done when it comes to defending yourself. It has a little bit of QTE (Quick Time Actions) for the normal stuff but it has a lot more for your special attacks.
Special attacks which require points to be used, and are refreshed per battle, are fairly hands on if you don’t want to waste your points while using them. This is where you’ll be wanting to pay attention as attacks can range from inputing a sequence of buttons to properly hitting the sweet spot as your cursor slides across a meter. They really pack a punch so don’t be afraid to use them especially as you get a new set of points for every battle.
While perhaps short, you do get a glimpse into the RPG leveling up system. Once enough experience has been acquired and your characters level up you can choose one of several stats to be increased. Hit points, attack power, special points, and more will all be useful in the coming battles as I regretted not taking extra hit points for the boss that ends the demo as it really came down to doing more damage than he could before they wiped out my party of two.
But it’s more than all these mechanical aspects that make Echo Generation interesting, and I’m saying this after only a half hour. The environment has some quirkiness to it, there are a lot of little details here and there that you take in while running around town trying to find your way to that traffic cone, and then it’s just the way that it’s displayed. Walking from one street it’s up to another there’s a blurriness effect that brings things into focus the closer you get to them. Time was taken in order to put this together and this is just the alpha stage.
Acoustically, Echo Generation also has some interesting sound effects and music to go along with the short glimpse into this adventure. Perhaps one of the most interesting was actually the battle music which actually doesn’t sound like something you would expect to be playing in the background while in the heat of battle. If anything it’s this quiet catchy tune that you would expect is a pre- or post-battle while characters are bantering before finally getting to the good part. it just blends in so well I didn’t even notice the first few times until I actually stopped and listened and went huh, this isn’t bad at all.