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Published May 18, 2017

Echoplex is a game which has a lot of potential but is very rough around the edges. From what this intrepid reviewer found out, you are imprisoned in a medical facility which has the echoes of Portal ringing all around it. You wake up looking like a white Shy-Guy from Super Mario and an automated voice tells you that your memory has been wiped clean. Luckily for you, there is a door leading from your cell that will transport you into an alternate reality completely devoid of any features except for a very minimalist level design with the only upper being an occasional neon glow around doors and hallways.

The objective is simple: go through the door, solve the Portal-esque puzzle of neon lights and doors opening and closing and find a cube which unlocks a fragment of your memory, generally revealed as a genuinely slick cut-scene that drives the storyline. Once you collect a number of them, those memories are connected together with some other material to form a cohesive chunk of your unlocked memory.

Echoplex screengrab

The twist in this whole game is the Echo, which is a ghost of yourself repeating the actions you did with about a 5-10 second relay. If you run into the Echo however, the puzzle stops and the level resets. Aside from it being quite creepy to forget your doppelganger (I called mine Teddy) is following and copying everything you do like a fangirl, the Echo does serve a constructive element to help deal with certain puzzles requiring a two-man approach. In this you really do play a single-player version of the much-loved two-player Portal levels.

I would have loved to have played more – however, one of the levels quite early on has a substantial flaw in it. Teddy couldn’t negotiate a very open door and had a somewhat emotional crisis while I was waiting for it to hopelessly assist me further. To be fair, the game is Early Access so you can’t be totally surprised that not all the kinks have been ironed out yet but it was disappointing nevertheless.

Echoplex screengrab

Overall. I think the game has quite a bit of promise, but it is still very rough – similar to Portal, with more emphasis on minimalist-inspired puzzles. The budget seems to have been three-quarters spent on the cinematics and the remainder on the game itself which make it seem quite unbalanced in effort. The game controls are slick and simple and the premise of the Echo, whilst on the surface quite a simple mechanic, does add a certain creepiness to it which I actually enjoyed. Dealing with the literal consequences of your actions in both avoiding and manipulation in such a way is quite an innovative approach.

The game is available on Early Access and you can get stuck into it for $9.99 USD. However, I would wait until they bring in more patches to deal with level design and bug fixing before splurging your hard-earned cash on it.

For more information and to buy Echoplex, see the Steam page.

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