Echo Generation Preview (Steam)

Small Town America Gets Weird

Echo Generation | Hunt for Meowsy

I have to confess, I’ve been interested in Echo Generation for a while now. Since it was announced for Steam and Xbox, actually. Mostly cause I’m a fan of Cococucumber, especially their tremendous artwork. They use voxels in a way I have never seen before, making them vibrant, distinct and practically jumping off the screen. While their previous game, Riverbond, wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I am a big fan of old school turn-based RPGs. So of course I’m hotly anticipating Echo Generation, especially after playing the Steam demo the other day.

Echo Generation | Combat

I’ve heard Echo Generation used in the same breath as Earthbound and Super Mario RPG. And while those are valid comparisons, for me Echo Generation is more Earthbound by way of Stranger Things, with a little Super Mario RPG thrown in for good measure. It’s a quirky and humorous title set in a small town. The day to day life in Mudsville may seem calm on the surface, but things quickly start to get weird. You play a young man named Dylan. He’s off hunting for your missing cat Meowsy. After recruiting your adorable sibling, referred to simply as “Little Sister”, you head off to search around town. There you’ll find many item trade quests, with civilians and less than average creatures asking for your help. Some of them want Christmas lights, others want traffic cones, some even want a new doll to add to their growing evil army. If it’s not clear already, Echo Generation is quite silly and weird, but in the best of ways. It definitely evokes Earthbound, but without copying it.

Echo Generation | Raccoons

Speaking of weird, all the animals in town seem capable of speech. Or at the very least, Dylan and his sis seem able to understand them. You’ll find a determined dog protecting that traffic cone I mentioned, and rascally raccoons will challenge you when you enter their turf. Once you find Meowsy, you’ll find that not only is he a plump Siamese, but he’s also just as sarcastic as most cats you’ve met. He bemoans his “suicidal humans” investigating dangerous things. Pretty much the only things that don’t talk in the demo are some of the enemies, such as the terrifying Rat Wolves and an animatronic clown from your darkest nightmares. But what they lack in vocabulary, they make up with how deadly they are.

Echo Generation | CLOWN

The combat in Echo Generation hit me directly in that old school sweet spot. Though I love Earthbound, I don’t love its combat. Thankfully, Echo Generation’s combat is more akin to Super Mario RPG, with lots of timed commands and special attacks. By pressing the A button at just the right time when an attack or defense icon is displayed, you’ll either deal more damage or prevent some to yourself. Dylan is armed with a hockey stick, which let’s him Body Check foes by inputting several commands without fail in sequence. I honestly had trouble with that, mostly cause I’m more used to my Switch button layout than my Xbox 360 controller. But I eventually got the hang of it. That said, once Little Sister got access to a Jab attack, I made her my heavy hitter. Not only was that attack easier to perfect, it did more damage. And speaking of attacks, you get new ones when you find comic books. Some attacks cost SP, though in the demo I always had enough SP to use any attack I wished. I presume that won’t be the case in the final build of Echo Generation. I also anticipate you’ll be able to use elemental attacks, since I found one townsperson in their garage who offered to trade Scrap for Elemental modifiers.

Echo Generation | Bad Dog

I really enjoyed the combat in the game, as it was easy to understand but a bit more nuanced to master. Though the only foes in the demo are raccoons and the aforementioned Rat Wolves, there was plenty of challenge. Better yet, every time I leveled up, I was able to allocate points to various skills, increasing health, defense, attack and luck. Even then, I still died a handful of times tackling those darn Rat Wolves, mostly cause they liked to hit both my characters with deadly spin attacks. The true threat in the demo was the boss fight against the animatronic clown. He was tough, breathing fire and hitting both siblings, but with less heft than the Wolves. Either way, I’m now really curious what other strange foes I’ll fight later in the game.

Echo Generation | Shifty Neighbor

Much as I loved the combat and artwork, the vibe of Echo Generation is what has me most excited. This is a strange world where the happy surface impression hides something more sinister. There’s Missing Posters strewn all throughout town, talk of alien invasions and a super creepy neighbor who I suspect might be a kidnapper. And once you eventually find your cat, the sound effects and music get truly uneasy. I instantly knew something bad was in store, and was rewarded with the boss fight soon thereafter. As the demo ends, Dylan and sis find their cat and what appears to be an alien ship in a nearby cornfield. So I expect things to get even weirder very soon.

Echo Generation | Matcha Cops

I was already anticipating Echo Generation, but now I’m hungry for it. I applaud what Cococucumber has created thus far, and hope it’s a glimpse of what else is in store. Be sure to stay tuned to HPP for more Echo Generation news as it hits!

Josh Speer
Got my start in the industry at oprainfall, but been a game fanatic since I was young. Indie / niche advocate and fan of classics like Mega Man, Castlevania and Super Metroid. Enjoys many genres, including platformers, turn based / tactical RPGs, rhythm and much more. Champion of PAX West and Knight of E3.

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