Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

[Review] Echo Generation – Nintendo Switch

Developed and Published By: Cococucumber
Categories: Adventure, Mystery, Horror, RPG
Release Date: 06.19.24
Price: $24.99
*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review.

There’s so much to say about Echo Generation. It’s by the same people who made Riverbond and it might be one of the best Switch games of 2024. It’s a mix of adventure, RPG, and escape room that’s just as charming and cozy as it is terrifying. I didn’t like the voxel art style at first, but I was fully addicted to the overall experience after only a few minutes. 

On the surface, Echo Generation is your standard kid having fun in their town story. The protagonist is working on making an indie film about aliens and exploring the town and surrounding areas with his sister. The game quickly falls into a hectic overdrive of haunted buildings, kidnappings, monsters, aliens, animatronics, and talking animals. 

The game is so much fun because of that and the balance between the genres is fantastic. One moment you’re in a treehouse hanging out with your friends, the next moment you’re running from the scariest atrocity imaginable in a haunted school, and then suddenly you’re doing turn-based combat with sassy raccoons. When you’re in a moment that’s supposed to be scary, the game does an amazing job with its sound design to freak you out. 

I love these kinds of stories, ones that take a younger cast from a random town and throw them into a world of mystery and horror. It’s very reminiscent of shows like Stranger Things and Gravity Falls and I think that a lot of people will appreciate that. 

Combat is turn-based and can get quite challenging because it’s real-time actions and every move requires a different action. Some moves will require you to press a button at the right moment while others will require a string of commands or more precise movements. Your standard attacks do some damage but special skills that you casually unlock do way more damage but require SP. 

When you defeat an enemy, you acquire both EXP and money. When a character levels up, you can increase their strength, health, or SP. Money can be used at the treehouse or other locations to buy healing items or other goods. Some of the encounters can be tough and will require a lot of patience and strategy but finally beating some of the bigger enemies gives you such a sense of accomplishment and some great rewards.

There are also a bunch of pet companions that you can unlock to help fill out your party as needed. The first one that’s unlocked is the family pet Meowsy, who is great for healing party members. Each party member has new attacks unlocked by finding a variety of comic books and magazines throughout the map. 

Much of the game progresses in the style of an escape room. You’re never really told where to go but you’re always aware of what item you need and what item you need to find in order to acquire the one that you need. But where to find each item and what each item can be used or exchanged for is usually a mystery. 

Not only that, but there’s multiple chains of items that unlock other items as part of different questlines. For instance, getting access to the principles basement and figuring out how to complete it is its own questline. I’m not even sure if it was required as part of the main storyline but it was 100 percent an incredibly memorable experience. 

The overall story of Echo Generation is a mystery revolving around the protagonist’s dad but the entire town and other locations is a hotbed for supernatural activity and quirky characters that really paint a picture when it comes to the lore. You don’t have to do everything there is to do but you learn so much about the world in a rewarding way if you do. 

One of the reasons that I like the game so much is because the look and sound add so much to the games charm. I’m not a fan of the voxel style and the main environments look pretty simple but many of the backgrounds are breathtaking. Some of the enemies and creatures look really good as well. 

The sound design is fantastic as well. The soundtrack is a great balance between upbeat songs in some areas and scary or ominous songs in other areas. When you’re walking around downtown and listening to the music, it’s hard to believe that this is a game that has a murder, a kidnapping, and terrifying puppets right at the start. There are also cassettes you can collect to listen to different songs when you find a boombox.

Now it’s time to talk about some of the stuff that I didn’t like. For starters, some of the questlines and directions for finding the required items were too difficult or vague at times. For instance, I had no idea how to distract the book expert and when I finally figured out what I had to do, I couldn’t figure out how to get access to a phone to prank call her. Also in the train yard, once I fixed the generator, I couldn’t figure out how to access the house. 

It took me a very long time to get through some of these puzzles. Most of the time I just didn’t have the right item to continue, or I hadn’t spent enough time exploring. It wasn’t anything too crazy or game breaking, just time consuming. There were also a few glitches here and there. The main glitch is that when you interact with an NPC, the dialogue doesn’t start until your entire party is there. Normally this takes like one or two seconds but occasionally your party just doesn’t arrive or is blocked by an object and delayed by 10 to 20 seconds.

The game saves frequently so this is fixed by reloading or waiting and hoping that the rest of your party eventually shows up. There was also a silly glitch where if you start a new game and overwrite a save file, Will calls you by the name that you used in the previous file. None of these hurt the experience but can require some extra patience.

Echo Generation is a perfect blend of charm, mystery, and horror. The overall vibe is very fun and upbeat but can change to a dark and suspenseful tone in a matter of seconds. It’s a really fun experience and it’s fairly cheap. I personally think that it’s going to be one of the best Switch games of the year and you should definitely check it out.


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