Echoes of Eridu is a recent Kickstarter success that promises the idea of infinite Mega Man levels with friends. I got a look at an Alpha version to see how well it lives up to that promise. Let’s get right into it.
When you start up, you select one of two characters: Nina, the game’s Mega Man analogue; and Ace, the game’s Zero analogue. Then you choose a weapon and armor, and I don’t know what those others are. Don’t think that you have this selection of weapons right off the bat. As you play, you’ll get blueprints for weapons, armor and whatever the other slots are for, and you’ll have access to them when you restart the game.
At this point you’d be stupid to pick Nina. She only shoots in two directions, so she has no way to deal with the enemies that hover outside of the range of her shots. Yes, I love the Blue Bomber, too, but Mega Man is designed around his limited aim. Echoes of Eridu is not. Hopefully, she’ll get revamped in some way to make her worth using (and since this is only alpha, that’s still possible).
Otherwise, you can just use Ace, whose wide slash more than makes up for his lack of range.
Echoes of Eridu challenges you to play for as long as possible. You get only one life. Once you die, you go back to the beginning. No, falling into pits doesn’t kill you. Rather, you lose a point of health, and restart very close to where you fell. Still, every fall puts you that much closer to failure, so it’s not completely without punishment.
Echoes of Eridu plays like side-scrolling Mega Man. You go through the level, destroying enemies until you get to the boss room. The bosses are just larger, more complex versions of the basic enemies. The ones I faced were easily dispatched.
After the boss, he drops loot that you can use to power up your character, or maybe a new sub weapon to play with. You’ll then move on to a room that gives you access to more stat-boosting items, health regeneration and sub weapon energy. Honestly, I didn’t use the sub-weapons much. Right now, the game isn’t very difficult, and I was able to dispatch most enemies with a few swishes of my mighty sword.
There were only two levels in the demo I played. The variety in the level design was both surprising and disappointing. See, the level generator seems to have a set number of pieces that it can draw from. It takes those pieces, and arranges them randomly. It was disappointing because the random level generator chooses a certain set of pieces a lot. It was surprising, because there are a lot of pieces here that can be placed in many interesting ways. There were times when I felt as though I was running through the same set of corridors over and over, then the game would break out a new platforming challenge that I hadn’t seen before. I get the sense that there are a lot of pieces in each level, just waiting to be pieced together. And, since each level has its own set of pieces, there really is potentially a lot of playtime here for Mega Man fans, myself included.
This may be an alpha build, but the game already runs solid, even with the special lighting effects. The sprites are pleasantly detailed, and the music is fantastic. What little multiplayer I tried ran fine, as well. This is a really good start on the presentation front.
All in all, I’m intrigued from what I played. There are some problems, but this is alpha, so there’s lots potential that those issues can be resolved. Plus, this only represents 20-25% of the final game. It may well be that when we get all the rest of the levels that are planned, the lack of variety I mentioned might become much less pronounced.
Check out the Kickstarter for Echoes of Eridu here.