Echoplex (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 03.05.2017

Review for Echoplex on PC

First-person puzzle games are often a rough sale nowadays. There's just too many of them to really know which weird task the player should participate in, hoping by the time it's over it's not painfully redundant. Just as often as puzzles are put into the first person, they also seem to happen a lot in labs. Who is funding these giant facilities who are absolutely adamant about destroying test subjects through weird trials? Echoplex is a neat little addition to the first-person puzzle family, one that definitely needs some fine tuning.

In Echoplex, players control an unnamed test participant, who has to run through weird mazes and collect memory fragments. There's a time limit in each level, before the test subjects eyes get all blurry and they get dropped at the beginning again. Levels are filled with intentionally minimalist architecture, most likely to keep the player from memorizing paths.

In order to progress, the player must unlock certain doors by stepping into different coloured force fields. They must be wise, though, as if they take too long, they may run into their Echo. This is the game's biggest draw, and to be fair, it works pretty well. The basic idea is that during a test, the Echo will show up a short time after the player. The Echo will imitate the player's every action, and should they collide with the Echo, they will fail the test.

Screenshot for Echoplex on PC

All of this requires quick thinking, and to an extent it works fairly well. The puzzles tend to be small enough, and you get to retry quickly enough after each failure, that everything feels okay. This doesn't work, though, because it's hard to grasp how you accomplished certain things at such a breakneck speed. The player may find themselves going through doors they previously couldn't, not sure as to why. It's easy enough to figure out what you just did, but it makes it hard to build an action plan.

Also, a lot of the action just feels aimless. Moving at such a quick speed is very rollercoaster in nature, as it's easy to miss important points because they become a blur. This makes the screen shaky and difficult to read, and figuring out how to reach the goal can be exhausting. This isn't just a failure on the basic mechanic, but on the minimalism. Also, a lot of the corridors are very tight, and with the mouse sensitivity, it's easy to get turned around a little bit too quickly.

The central idea is sound, but the very things that make Echoplex its own experience are the things that hurt it. The simple colours make the world feel sterile, which makes it too easy to get lost in. The haunting images of your former self are absolutely mesmerizing, but they create so much pressure, it's hard for the player to get a good grounding. It can be quite dizzying, but if you can get past it, there's a unique little experience here that's definitely worth your time.

Screenshot for Echoplex on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Echoplex falters because it does what it's aiming for too well, but what it's aiming to do is sadly a bit too chaotic. For those of you with solid nerves who are very patient, be forewarned this may cause stress. It seems like a game that urban legends would be based on. A booth at PAX descended into chaos while patrons were playing Echoplex, as they all went mad. This sounds relentlessly mean, but it's actually a tremendous compliment. There's something amazing here, but not everyone is going to be able to appreciate it.

Developer

Output Games

Publisher

Output Games

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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