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Echoes – Episode 1: Greenhearth (iOs) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: iOs
 
Genre: ,
 
Year:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
8.0
8/ 10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

We liked?


Spooky film noir look combined with skillful piano soundtrack sets the tone perfectly.

Not so much?


Much heavier on words than action.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Now, I’m not going to pretend that this is a game for everyone – obviously, if you’re not a fan of reading or you just gotta have some action in your gaming, then you’ll probably have a hard time losing yourself in Echoes. For those with an open mind, though, it really is a unique game that is done well. The story is well written, and not at all predictable, and I really enjoyed the look of the game as well. I can’t wait to see what the next episode holds in store for Ricky Fox.

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Posted July 24, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Like stepping inside your favorite crime novel…

Echoes is a different kind of game. Half crime novel, half interactive game, it’s a sure bet you haven’t played a game like this before.  As you begin Echoes, you are introduced to your character, Detective Ricky Fox – but he looks far from what you’d expect from a promising young police officer. Unkempt, deranged, paranoid – what happened to Ricky Fox? As he sits down to write out his story while some unidentified maleficent force comes ever closer, you are slowly given the tale of what happened in Greenhearth. Your best friend Arthur has died, seemingly of a suicide, but you aren’t convinced and so head to Greenhearth to launch your own investigation. But the people there aren’t quite right, a mysterious group seems to be pulling the strings, and Arthur’s newly acquired obsession with bells holds an ominous tone.

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If all that isn’t spooky enough for you, everything in Echoes is done in a wonderful film noir style. Each part of the story consists of a black and white still picture, while ominous piano music fills the background. It really feels just like stepping into your favorite old crime drama, and as you are taken back in Ricky’s mind to those fateful days in Greenhearth, the stark contrast between the Ricky then and the Ricky you now see only adds to the mystery. Nova-Box has done a great job of setting the perfect tone for this type of game.

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So what type of game is it? It feels often times like an interactive book, as much of the “action” in the game consists of reading. Still, Echoes does a good job of making you an integral part of the story by giving you a variety of choices on how to proceed – and your choices *do* matter, greatly, in how things play out. Basically, you are giving the story in portions in a comic book style, with things told as part of a conversation with a variety of other characters. You can choose both who you talk to, and what you say to them. And real choices are needed – how you approach a witness affects how they’ll answer you (and what evidence you are given), and some conversation choices will disappear entirely if you choose to take another approach.

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If you take a completely wrong path, you can even get faced with a “Game Over” screen and forced to start again from your last save. Even better, each time you play through, things will happen differently, which adds an element of replayability to a game that would otherwise have none.  In addition to choosing the line of questioning, there are also a few hidden object type puzzles, where you are to search for evidence in a variety of locales. You choose which locations to search, and then try to find clues with little to no direction. This is made more challenging by the art style of the game, as things really aren’t all that defined, but it’s done fairly well and adds some variety to a game that is mostly reading.
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Now, I’m not going to pretend that this is a game for everyone – obviously, if you’re not a fan of reading or you just gotta have some action in your gaming, then you’ll probably have a hard time losing yourself in Echoes. For those with an open mind, though, it really is a unique game that is done well. The story is well written, and not at all predictable, and I really enjoyed the look of the game as well. I can’t wait to see what the next episode holds in store for Ricky Fox.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)