2021 has been filled with a ton of great games, with high-profile titles and hidden gems both in abundance. However, there’s one that might be a perfect fit for your comfy holiday play sessions. It’s a turn-based RPG that’s got some adventure and puzzle elements with a bit of humor and a cozy aesthetic. That’s right, we’re talking about Echo Generation, which is also available on Game Pass, so if you’re not sure you’re interested, that’s a great way to give it a shot and see.
Echo Generation, in a nutshell, is a burrito of homecooked 80s and 90s love. So yeah, it’s basically Stranger Things meets Earthbound, with a fun turn-based combat system that’s more like Paper Mario or South Park: The Stick of Truth. In combat, you not only control the two main characters of the story as they use axes, ninja shurikens, and alien laser weapons, but you also get a cool pet to take along with the crew. There are a number of interesting companions to find and unlock over the course of the game, including a rapping raccoon and a curious cat. For all the abilities you execute, you’ll need to find a comic book to learn the sweet skill first.
“Modern era” takes on traditional RPGs are always enjoyable, something that Earthbound gets plenty of credit for popularizing and pioneering. Here, we get to roam around town, break into the school, discover the sinister secrets about the principal, and deal with aliens, monsters, mutants, and a ton of other oddities that threaten to break up the good times. If it weren’t for all these threats, we’d just be hanging out at the video store and a super cool treehouse. Echo Generation is rife with nostalgic elements for a time long gone, but it’s okay if you’re not into that – the combat mini-games are amusing enough to carry the game by itself, and the voxel art style is well executed. Locations like a spooky pet cemetery and an alien spacecraft are as interesting to explore as they are stylish, too. Boss fights are the best part, with a ton of mechanics to handle as you time command inputs and actually move your characters around to dodge lethal attacks.
While none of the systems get very deep, what’s there works really well for Echo Generation. This isn’t a massive game that you’re going to sink hundreds of hours into, or even ten probably. This is an RPG that delivers its characters and mechanics pretty quick, and tasks the player with handling some old-school adventure fare along the way, conjuring up notions of King’s Quest problem solving as you ferry items to various townsfolk and find critical objects to advance the tale. Plenty of optional quests and bonuses are out there too for those who really want to explore!
I completely missed Echo Generation when it landed, but I’m glad I discovered it here as the year wraps up. If you’re in the mood for a snack-size RPG that serves up a hearty helping of cozy vibes, look no further. Cookies!