Echo Generation Is A Cute Little RPG With Elements Of Earthbound

Just because we’ve entered a new console generation doesn’t mean that indie games are going anywhere. As revealed mere moments about by Microsoft and Geoff Keighley, Echo Generation is a cute little RPG for the Xbox family of consoles that channels some serious Earthbound energy. Developed by Cococucumber, a studio known for Riverbond and Planet of the Eyes, this quaint adventure sees a young boy teaming up with his kid sister to discover a supernatural mystery that is unfolding in their hometown. A demo should be available very shortly after this goes live, allowing you to try it out for yourself.

As I said above, there is some serious Earthbound energy here. The opening minutes of the brief demo were filled with the kind of mundanities that Ness and his friends trekked through. You can collect garbage from trash cans, brazenly walk into your neighbors’ houses and steal items, and get into fights with raccoons. It’s very silly, helped by the charmingly blocky aesthetic that renders this vision of childhood. The quirky writing doesn’t hurt, either.

Apart from those bits, there’s not too much in the way of plot to glean from this demo. Lasting roughly 30 minutes, you get a quick taste of basically everything Echo Generation is hoping to achieve. There are a couple of regular battles before a boss fight, some different items you can find in the corner of certain rooms, and the chance to level up a few times. Nothing here breaks the mold from traditional RPGs. That’s not a slight against the game, but I wouldn’t expect some radical deviation from what has come before.

The main difference from your standard RPG is that combat is more action-oriented. While you are most definitely fighting enemies in turns, there are context-sensitive button prompts you can nail to increase your attack damage. If you think of the Paper Mario or Mario & Luigi series, you’re on the right path. Pick an attack and you’ll be asked to press A as a circle fills up to maximize your damage. Some other special attacks require you to either enter a specific sequence of buttons or stop a pointer on a highlighted section of a bar. It does a bit to try and liven things up from simply selecting an option and watching it play out.

But being such a short glimpse of the final vision, I don’t know what else to really say about Echo Generation. I applaud how quickly you get into your first battle, but the demo ends on a cliffhanger that leaves more questions than answers. Are aliens invading? Is your cat secretly a genius? Why do the animals talk in this world? That is more what I’m left thinking about rather than how the combat works or whether or not the boss fights will continue to be interesting.

I’m typically not one for turn-based RPGs, but I do appreciate that Echo Generation is trying to bring most zest into the affair. The usage of context-sensitive actions helps to keep you engaged, even if the demo is anything but difficult. As long as the difficulty curve is consistent and players are given options for tailoring the experience to their own skill levels, I could see Echo Generation being something to keep an eye out for.

At present, the game is planned for release on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC in early 2021. We may see more of it at The Game Awards this week, so make sure to tune in if you like the look of things.

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Peter is an aspiring writer with a passion for gaming and fitness. If you can’t find him in front of a game, you’ll most likely find him pumping iron.

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