Echo Prime is what I’m going to call a good “installation game.” On the iPhone it would be a good “toilet game,” but I very seldom take my PC to the bathroom. I do, however, install things on it regularly, and while I’m doing that, running a few missions in Echo Prime is a fun experience that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
While it’s true that Echo Prime doesn’t seem to add anything new to the action-RPG genre, it iterates on the norm very well. The mouse is responsible for movement and attack, the WASD keys are used for dodge and the number keys kick off special abilities from the various echoes found throughout the campaign. I would have liked to see controller support, but keyboard support in a port from the iPhone is a step in the right direction.
There are a few mission types, a few environment sets and a half-dozen or so normal enemies. When played for 15 minutes at a time this is plenty, and I won’t hold pick-up-and-play design against a game originally designed for a phone. Each encounter takes about two minutes to complete, and combat is simple to control. Clicking on an enemy hurts it, either using the pistol for range or the sword for melee. New weapons can be purchased at the shop along with armor, helmets and temporary buffs.
Echoes are what set Echo Prime apart from other hack-and-slash affairs. Before each level you choose up to five echoes, depending on your level, to take into combat. Each echo imbues an active or passive ability, like increased defense, health regeneration, seeking acid projectiles or enemy stun. In addition to choosing an echo from your stable, you can also bring along an additional echo selected from three other random players. If that doesn’t suit you, you can pony up a little cash and choose an echo from your friends. The echo you use will take back experience points or money back to its owner, and when yours are used by others they’ll bring the same back to you.
Considering its roots, Echo Prime is fun to play. The constantly-changing loadout makes each short level fun to play, particularly when you regularly trade out echoes to earn additional experience for all of them, and the Pokemon-esque echo collection is fun to take on. Every level-up and many mission successes yield new echoes or upgrades to old ones. There’s always something to do; just don’t plan on playing for four hours in a sitting. Bite-sized chunks are better here.
Pros: Collecting echoes is fun, keyboard controls work well, echoes provide great options
Cons: Less fun in long sessions, no controller support