Developer Cococucumber has made a name for itself in the indie game scene by creating accessible throwbacks with a fresh twist. Their latest offering, Echo Generation, is the second installment in their self-proclaimed ‘Voxel Trilogy’ and promises a nostalgic and charmingly funny adventure/RPG experience.

Set in the ’90s in the small town of Maple Valley, Echo Generation follows the journey of a protagonist chosen from preset templates. The game kicks off with the player emerging from a cluttered bedroom, interacting with their mother, and embarking on a quest to grab a traffic cone for their sister. However, things quickly take a bizarre turn as the protagonist encounters talking dogs, abusive raccoons, missing children, and even a crashed spaceship.

The storyline draws comparisons to popular works like Stranger Things but also carries a unique blend of Amblin Entertainment and David Lynch influences. The writing is sharp, funny, and plays well with the fantastical elements and quirky characters the protagonist interacts with.

One of the standout features of Echo Generation is its distinctive voxel-powered visuals. The environments look like meticulously crafted dioramas, and the blocky character animations are fluid both in and out of battle. The game’s frame rate is smoother in handheld mode, but still holds up well on a larger screen.

However, where Echo Generation falls short is in its blend of adventure game mechanics and RPG elements. The gameplay sticks closely to familiar formulas without offering anything particularly innovative. The tasks mainly revolve around fetch quests, finding items, and battling monsters, leading to a repetitive core loop that lacks engagement.

Combat in the game is turn-based and reminiscent of the Mario & Luigi series, with attack potency depending on precise timing of button prompts. Special skills add variation to the input mechanics, ranging from simple presses to more complex reactions that can be challenging. The party includes the protagonist, their sister, and a third slot for critters, offering a decent variety of enemies and bosses to defeat.

Echo Generation requires a fair amount of grinding, especially before facing bosses or entering new areas. The difficulty spikes and progression can feel dull at times, with party members often feeling underpowered until later in the game. Despite these challenges, the game shines in its visuals, atmosphere, and standout moments that blend eerie and nostalgic elements seamlessly.

Echo Generation is a fun homage to classic genre greats with its exceptional aesthetic, sound design, and witty writing. While the game may have some mechanical shortcomings and lacklustre progression, it offers a unique and engaging experience for players looking for a nostalgic adventure with a twist.


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