Echo Generation review for Xbox

Platform: Xbox Series X
Also on: Xbox One
Publisher: Cococucumber
Developer: Cococucumber
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

I feel like there are two ways to look at Echo Generation: either it?s far better than it has any right to be, or it?s a disappointment thanks to some unfortunate gameplay choices. It really depends on whether you?re a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person, and how forgiving you feel when you?re looking at the game.

Either way, Echo Generation definitely has some good things going for it. Its graphics are gorgeous, for starters, with some of the nicest voxel graphics you?re likely to come across. To some extent it gives the game a Minecraft-y feel (or Minecraft Dungeons, if you want to be more specific), except far, far nicer than that. There?s an incredible amount of detail in everything you see, and it makes the world come alive.

The game also finds a way to be built around ?80s and ?90s nostalgia without being overly beholden to it. Taking a page from Stranger Things, Echo Generation is about a bunch of kids exploring the supernatural, and while the setting is clearly from a few decades ago, it never allows the setting to be the point. It builds on it; like the visuals, you can tell a lot of care went into putting the story together.

I?ve even got to say nice things about the game?s turn-based combat. Usually I don?t care for turn-based battles, but Echo Generation is an exception to that. The different characters have a nice range of attacks at their disposal, and they require a little more skill than what this combat system often demands. It?s a good way of keeping you engaged in what?s going on.

At least, it is at first. One of the problems with Echo Generation that I alluded to up top is that it eventually demands a lot of grinding. It?s not too onerous at first, since your characters seem to level up quickly enough, but as the enemies start getting tougher, you have to spend more and more time going back and fighting the weaker ones just to stand a chance. It gets to the point where it distracts from the story, which is never a good thing.

Similarly, there are a lot of fetch quests in this game ? and, unlike the grinding, it?s not something that takes awhile to show itself. Right off the bat, the game charges you with finding a traffic cone to get your sister to help you on your journey, and that leads to more and more tasks being piled up, nearly all of them interconnected in some way. It takes away from the story, as you end up spending more time searching around for random items than keeping the plot moving along at an enjoyable pace.

And that?s why it?s easy to be down on Echo Generation, even though it does a lot of things well: it never feels like it fully respects your time. It?s got an interesting story and it?s set in an interesting world, but you?ll be spending a lot of time sidetracking into minute, extraneous details that make those bigger picture things difficult to see.

Cococucumber provided us with an Echo Generation Xbox Series X code for review purposes.

Grade: B-