Here’s a game that traces its roots back to 1979 and a classic arcade game called “Asteroids.”  Rather unlike the majority of Shooters, where your ship moves through scrolling environments, these two games both keep the focus on a central playfield. Like Asteroids, Echoes puts you in a ship that’s being bombarded by space debris and other hazards, only this time with bigger explosions and much more frantic activity.  Fortunately, this game also sports a much improved control scheme, utilizing two analog control sticks – one for moving your ship and the other for rotating the cannon.  That being said a keyboard and/or mouse can also be used but I highly recommend using a gamepad for the full experience.  The other great thing about the controls is your cannon fires automatically so you only need focus on staying out of the way and blasting whatever comes onscreen. Purists can disable the auto-fire if they prefer.

It’s a really great setup that works well, and in my mind takes this arena style Shooter to a new level.  Granted Echoes is a take on a more successful commercial game called Geometry Wars, so credit for the visual style most likely belongs with that development team.  None-the-less, this scaled down freeware version still has much to offer and will certainly put your reflexes to the test.

As you whiz about through the exploding debris there are really only two possible upgrades to collect.  One increases your cannon fire and the other replenishes your shield.  Things start out fairly calm at first and quickly ramp up as you progress through the Levels.  Each new “Level” simply means more enemies are on the way with a good variety of enemies to contend with.  Each one has unique characteristics in the way they move about.  The asteroids float about randomly, for instance, while others make a beeline strait for your ship.

The sounds and music tracks work well and I believe there’s even a feature to have it access your own music files (though I haven’t tried this myself).  Another thing I appreciate about Echoes is the ability to tweak the audio and graphics settings in order to accommodate slower computers or personal preference.  There’s a lot of fun to be had here trying to see how far you can progress (you only get the one ship by the way) and trying to best your previous high score.  It’s a focused game that offers good graphics, tight gameplay and comes bundled in a nice small package.

Please Note: The game’s homepage, hosted at, makes several juvenile references to drug use.  If you have this in mind for a child it might be best to retrieve and install the game without their assistance.  The game itself, as far as I can tell, is completely Family Friendly.

Designer: Chris Jeffels and Lauri Suopera
Type: Retro Remake
Genre: Shooter
Format: Compression Pack
File Size: 11 MB
Control Scheme: Mouse, Keyboard, Gamepad
Portable: I’m not sure
Version Played: 1.03

Visit the Official Homepage

Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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