Freeware Garden: Echoes +

I am certain I have run into quite a few commercial arena shooters that couldn’t hold a candle to Echoes +. It might work as a replacement for Waves, which is an absolutely excellent game, but one that I’ve been playing for far too long. A new, tense, addictive, glowy shmup was something I needed.

What’s more, Echoes + does come complete with its own twist to the twin-stick arena shooter formula; it ads a bit of Asteroids to the proceedings in order to create a relatively fresh take on the genre. It’s a successful addition, throwing in exploding asteroids that break into smaller asteroids when shot.

One of the game’s six well thought out modes – each plays radically different to the other – is essentially an Asteroids clone/remake thingy. It’s nothing spectacular, mind you, but it’s that extra little something that one doesn’t expect to find in a smaller game, and does help to show off the attention and care poured into it.

Then again, this emphatically shows in the way Echoes + plays. It is polished, frantic and smart and knows how to make taking in-game risks seem like a great idea while offering a truly unobtrusive interface. The more enemies you kill, the more multipliers will drop in a simple, effective risk/reward mechanic.

Add in a selection of difficulty settings and controller options, global leaderboards, pleasing neon graphics, a selection of power-ups, varied enemies and you’ve got an accomplished shmup that’s a joy to play and a challenge to master. You might find it hard to tear yourself away.

Provided, that is, you do the sensible thing, grab Echoes + either via Steam or the dev’s site and play it with a joypad. You’ll be happy to know that you can also choose to play to the music of your choice.

5 Comments

  1. DrollRemark says:

    Wow. I played the original Echoes only a month or so back when I found it lurking on an old hard drive of mine. Had no idea they were working on an updated version (and still free). Will have to get this, the original was a ton of fun.

    • DrollRemark says:

      As an aside grumble, I can mark Steam games to be loaded onto my home computer if I buy them, but not if they’re free? Hmph.

  2. Jekhar says:

    I played the original Echoes quite often, back when it came out as freeware. Echoes+ was an instant buy for me when it showed up on the 360s XBLIG channel. It’s really a fine little time waster, and doesn’t have to hide itself from the likes of Geometry Wars too!

  3. peterako1989 says:

    hmmm strange. I thought that this was an xbox live arcade exclusive

  4. The First Door says:

    As someone who really didn’t get on with Waves (sadly) I heartily recommend Echoes+ too! I’ve not played it for a bit, but I had quite a bit of fun with it a while back. Also, I’d recommend checking out Mono, as well:

    link to binaryzoo.com

    It’s also free and has a really nice mechanic where dying enemies paint the stage, and that paint alters the behaviour of baddies passing over it later. It creates a rather nice, organic difficulty curve.