Hands-on Impressions of Echoes of Eridu from PAX East
If there was one common theme to be be picked up on during last week’s PAX East 2014, it was that the most innovative and enjoyable games of tomorrow are being created by the smallest, most dedicated teams today. Batterystaple Games, a three-man team, and their upcoming title Echoes of Eridu, are without a doubt one of the best examples of this indie game mantra.
With such a small team, it is genuinely impressive to see their efforts in Echoes of Eridu come to life. Even in the game’s alpha built, the Mega-Man inspired platforming and procedurally generated levels and enemies continued to wow me as I played through the demo build at PAX.
Echoes of Eridu is at its core a challenging platformer that takes the best elements of Mega Man X and mixes them together with roguelike inspired level and enemy design, all with a nice side of permadeath thrown in for good measure.
Sound fun? Of course, that’s because it truly is.
In my time with Echoes of Eridu, the dizzying action and platforming found within the game instantly had me hooked. As a fan of the previously mentioned Mega Man titles, seeing Batterystaple’s take on the core gameplay elements was a treat, especially once I got my hands on a controller and felt just how well the game handled for myself. To style a game after a franchise known for its tight controls and frantic action and not be able to produce a game with similarly tuned controls would be a disservice to players. Batterystaple, however, has Echoes of Eridu’s handling nailed perfectly even this early into the game’s alpha.
Visually, Eridu instantly draws the viewer’s eyes into the game. The bright design of the characters does a wonderful job of allowing the player to stay on top of the action and explosions that occur during gameplay, ensuring that even in the game’s difficult moments, the player is never lost amid the chaos.
Echoes of Eridu’s best feature is that it is not only genuinely fun to play, but that it keeps the player coming back for more. Thanks to the game’s tight and intense platforming and shooting, the player is instantly hooked. This, coupled with the random generation of levels, ensures that Eridu is a game that will instantly become timeless.
Adding even more replayability to Eridu is the insane amount of powerups and items that players can collect, equip and utilize as they progress through the game. As they player progresses, unlocking and uncovering different weapons and powerups becomes an integral part of survival. With permadeath always a threat, Eridu is one title that the player should always learn to be prepared in and thanks to the game’s pre-level loadout customization, fine-tuning your character for the potential struggles to come is a great touch.
In these loadout screens, the humor and personal touch that Batterstaple Games has put into Eridu shines. Each and every item I saw in my time with the game was replete with its own unique art and description, many of which were filled with minor jokes that kept me chuckling. Perhaps the best are the equipable Space Jammers, boots that have basketballs built into them, allowing the player’s character to jump higher than usual. Touches like these make playing Eridu all the more enjoyable.
At PAX, I was fortunate enough to not only experience Echoes of Eridu’s single-player mode, but also the game’s co-op feature. Echoes of Eridu supports both local co-op and matchmaking over the internet, making sure that players who wish to traverse the game’s dangerous worlds will never have to do so alone if they so choose. Co-op feels markedly similar to the single player experience, but also adds a new level of intensity to the game. With random level generation, both players are unaware of what is coming next, making exploring – and fighting – together and experience that will never get old. Additionally, should you fall in combat (which you will), your partner has the chance to quickly revive you, making managing the line between life and death a thrilling mechanic in and of itself.
Echoes of Eridu’s level design is a wonderful mix of lasers, lava and robotic imagery. The stages that I played at PAX all felt naturally put together, which is no small feat considering the game’s randomly generated pedigree. Exploring each stage required intuitive platforming and wall-jumping, as numerous elements of the level seemed designed to cause my death. Overcoming these challenges created for a rewarding feeling, as well as a desire to repeat the same level and see how the game changed its layout the second time around.
As development on Echoes of Eridu continues, the small team at Batterystaple hopes to continually create new content and draw more players to their game. At the start of PAX last week, Echoes of Eridu hit Kickstarter, where the developers aim to raise $20,000 in order to make their game the best it can possibly be. Additionally, Echoes of Eridu is now available for voting on Steam’s Greenlight platform, which can be found here.
All in all, Echoes of Eridu, is arguably the definitive indie action-platformer currently in development. The game’s tight controls, great visual style and roguelike level generation offer some of the most enjoyable gameplay in recent memory.
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