During the last few years platformers had been returning on the monitors of wide gaming community. And big part of that resurgence lies with indie game developers who often use that genre to start out and to get a hang of game development. Some of those projects turn out to be great, others… not so much. So, will that latest contestant in the genre sweep us off our feet with awesomeness, or will it turns out to be ‘meh’? Let’s find out!
Gameplay and art
To start, Echoed World is a very short game. I’ve finished it in less than 30 minutes. And developers say as much on their Steam page – for them it is a game to see what they are capable of creating and to receive feedback from the community, that’s why they made that game free in the first place.
Setting that aside, in the terms of gameplay we have a standard platformer game with some simple puzzles. Sounds simple, right? Well, as it happens, I think that, unlike in some other games, where those sequences feel forced and tacked on just to be there, there it feels natural. And simplicity doesn’t take away from the flow of Echoed World. As it stands, I feel that developers hit that right spot on the integration of platforming and puzzles. And there are even some collectibles in the levels, too! All of that in the game that lasts for less than 30 minutes.
And now let’s talk about art and music. In my opinion, it is very strong point in favor for playing the game, despite its shortness and drawbacks. Art is very immersive and backgrounds, while being simplistic, let you feel that your character runs on the different world. Depiction of our character and his instruments, as well as enemies, is really neat. And while I would like to have some more colors and locations, I perfectly understand why developers have chosen that palette, since we run mostly underground. And outside proves to be of really different colors…
Music is quite charming too, if a little bland. Though it helps with feeling the atmosphere of your situation and changes accordingly whenever there is a danger, so there are no complaints from me on that front. Both artwork and music prove to be quite fitting to the game.
Controls and problems
Now, that I’ve praised that game and put it on the pedestal, it is time to tear it down and fling some mud on it, for there are some problems with the game. As it is a first try at game-making I feel that they need some critique to improve their performance.
Now, the main problem in the game lays in the controls. Thing is, they are a little laggy and not really responsive. Responsiveness of controls should be game developers priority in every game, but especially so in the genre of platformers, as it is main medium between the player and the character. After all, what’s the point in the great artwork if your players can’t play the game? Of course, problems with Echoed World’s controls are not so dire, but still.
Another big problem is general clunkiness of environment. Sometimes when you move a box on the button, it will catch onto something and will not move, either blocking your exit, or stopping you from resolving puzzle. I had to restart level 2 times because of that.
And there is a problem with restart. It is a small one, but it vexes me the most. You see, when you restart the level, all of your collectibles just disappear! And you can’t return back and get them back, they are gone forever. It is probably my biggest issue with the game, but it is me.