ECHO is a third person adventure from Ultra Ultra, a new independent games company from Denmark who also boast some ex IO Interactive developers.
After waking from years of deep sleep, En wakes to the sounds of her AI companion, London. The craft you arise from is an eerie empty shell and it’s here that you get to control En and slowly wander forth.
ECHO starts with intrigue and rolls out at a slow pace. This is not a bad thing; you’ll want time to stare at the beauty in front of you, as ECHO is a gorgeous sight and a highly polished one too. You’ll be grateful you’re given these moments to slip gracefully through the opening segments and hear every spoken word that accompanies each movement.
The journey begins with En travelling to an outpost where she is in search of a planet-sized palace. Here she is looking to restore life into a friend who has passed away. The friend is supposedly stored in a cube that is strapped to the back of En.
The action is set in a humongous palace, and it’s an epic setting. Long corridors laced with luxurious furniture, gold fittings, and shiny grand marble hallways give a unique backdrop. ECHO has chosen its setting well. Waypoints show your path, although there is still a small element of getting lost. Wandering around the grand palace can give you a sense of deja vu, as the same walls and rooms do become a blur.
Tension mounts slowly as a glitch in the palace triggers blackouts. And it’s here the action starts. You’re met with images of yourself that copy your actions and adapt to your playstyle. Such actions like pushing over these copycats, firing or administrating a choke hold are simple to perform. Once the lights shut down again then there are new threats to deal with and each time a blackout occurs the enemy gets quicker.
While not being a fully fledged horror game, ECHO does have its moments of suspense. The audio really adds to the overall experience too. The sound of lights going out, the low hum reverberating around you, it’s an atmospheric delight.
Strategic play is needed in ECHO. You need enough energy to make jumps down to different levels of the palace and also you need ammo stocked up at all times. You find yourself tied to searching for energy cells that replenish you. It’s not too much of a big deal as there are many scattered posts near by. While this does limit you, it never becomes a frustrating feature. ECHO is definitely one that needs a to be experienced to understand what a clever and unique game this this.
ECHO has a fine eerie atmospheric that holds your attention throughout. Beautiful looking, challenging and compelling, Ultra Ultra’s first release has set the bar very high.
Lizard Rating 8/10
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