Following on from their excellent Orcs Must Die series and Hero Academy, Robot Entertainment are back with a new iOS game – Echo Prime. Leaving behind the fantasy setting and strategy genre this new title is focused on sci-fi and action. Having enjoyed their previous titles we were keen to see what they have come up with.
In Echo Prime you play as an elite Enforcer on a mission to save the galaxy. With all manner of dangerous aliens, space pirates and mercenaries in your way this is no easy task. Fortunately you have help from mysterious beings known as Echoes. As you travel across the galaxy you make contact with the Echoes who are able to share their powers and abilities with you.
The game presents you with a star map for you to plot your course across the galaxy. As you complete each mission you open up new branching paths that give you a choice on what to tackle next. Some of these missions are optional and others are required in order to progress.
The randomly generated missions are set across a series of chambers and most task you with moving through them from left to right. In your way are all manner of nasties out to get you so you need to rely on your combat skills, echo powers and quick reflexes to survive. Some missions require you to defend a position against waves of enemies for a period of time and others feature boss battles. You need to defeat all enemies in order to progress and the game keeps a percentage complete in view at all times.
Controlling your Enforcer via the touch screen has been incredibly well implemented. Everything from moving to shooting is done via simple taps and swipes. Tapping or holding your finger on the screen moves in that direction. Swiping your finger in a direction performs a combat roll which is essential to get out of the way of enemies and their projectiles. Tapping two fingers together activates a protective bubble for a short period to absorb enemy fire.
Combat is simple but satisfying and engaging enemies is as simple as tapping on them. At range you will fire your gun and up close you will slash them with your sword. Swiping towards an enemy when close enough does a jumping melee attack on them. The variety of enemies keeps you constantly moving to stay alive. Some will rush you while others will remain at range.
What really helps keep things interesting are the Echoes and their powers. Once you have discovered an Echo you can equip their shared power. As you level up you can equip up to four at once. You can also link up with one extra Echo per mission that has been discovered by friends and other players. For doing so they will receive some bonus XP at the end of a mission.
Some Echoes give you passive abilities such as a boost in damage or defence. Others give you extra abilities such as one that shoots fireballs at three enemies and another that allows you to paint a line of toxic slime in the path of your enemies. If you’re struggling on a mission switching to different Echoes can really make the difference.
Completing missions earns you XP and levelling up makes you stronger. You also earn credits and occasionally emblems which can be spent on equipment and upgrades between missions. A nice feature is that each item has a challenge attached to it to obtain a certain number of kills. The incentive to complete these is a reward of credits which can be spent on even better gear.
Players that like to progress faster can purchase emblem packs via microtransactions. These start at £0.69 for 5 emblems up to £34.99 for 500 emblems. Buying these is completely optional and the game will probably last you a lot longer if you don’t bother.
Graphically the game is quite simple but the environments are rendered in full 3D and these do look really nice. A little more variety would have been nice but this doesn’t really spoil the enjoyment of the game. The game also features some really lovely artwork in between missions and for the different Echoes.
We’ve really enjoyed our time with Echo Prime and can see ourselves going back to it often. The game is packed with content and the missions are just the right length for a quick session. Fans of hack-and-slash dungeon crawlers should check it out.
Echo Prime is available now for £2.99 on the App Store and you can find out more information via the official Echo Prime website.