Two of the biggest “trends” in gaming right now (outside of animal simulators and open world “build stuff” games) are rogue-likes and Mega Man nostalgia. I can’t exactly complain, since The Binding of Isaac is one of my favourite games of the past five years, and the happier Nintendo can make Mega Man fans, the less likely it is that the world will implode in a chaotic whirlwind of nerd rage.
Enter Echoes of Eridu, a rogue-like action platformer with Mega Man-esque music and character designs. The game has been on Kickstarter for a month now, and has almost reached its modest $20,000 goal – unsurprising, considering the nature of its concept. The idea of an action platformer with procedurally generated levels confused me at first; most platformers tend to work off the player’s ability to repeat levels when they fail them the first time, something a rogue-like could never accomplish. Thankfully, the levels in Echoes of Eridu are kept fairly short and sweet so as not to punish you too harshly for failing at a particularly difficult sequence of enemies or jumps.
That’s not to say that the stages feel restricted though; each level generally throws up one or two sections wherein exploration to the furthest horizontal and vertical reaches of the area are paramount to the player’s survival. The same level of variety is echoed throughout the rest of the game too. There are a few different map skins that generate on each go, each accompanied by different enemy types that range from flying imp creatures to metallic Zoid-like beings.
There are currently two characters to choose from, though more are being promised on the game’s Kickstarter page (including one that looks suspiciously like a robotic Rick from Rick and Morty). Ace can slash at foes with a blade, while Nina can blast them from a distance in true Mega Man style. Along the way there are randomly generated items and buffs to be collected, although all too often they don’t alter gameplay too drastically from the core experience.
There are times when Echoes to Eridu’s shunning of modern design in favour of retro alternatives actually backfires somewhat. Case in point: only being able to fire ranged weapons left and right feels a little archaic, and can often lead to some frustrating falls or messy enemy encounters. To be given a wider spectrum of shooting angles would add a little more depth to Echoes‘ gameplay, without detracting from its Mega Man aesthetic too much.
The true quality of a rogue-like is difficult to ascertain in such an early stage of development, since rogue-likes are generally built upon an extremely wide array of variables and random encounters. Echoes of Eridu does manage to impress on its solid platforming and superb character design alone, it just so happens that there are some accomplished rogue-like elements thrown in for good measure too. Only when Echoes of Eridu is released will we know if such potential is seized or squandered, but for now, the team at Batterystaple Games has built a solid foundation for a fast-paced rogue-like platformer.