Echoes+ is essentially Asteroids: Retro Evolved. If you have any love for the shmup genre at all, you need to buy it ASAP. There, review over.
Not convinced yet? Here are ten reasons why Echoes+ is the best shmup on XBox Live Indie games and quite possibly the best shmup on the entire service.
1. Graphics – Tons of enemies + Cool special effects = One pretty game. Sure, if you’ve played the Geometry Wars games, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but looking as good as the gorgeous Geometry Wars series is still quite the accomplishment.
2. Control – There’s nothing that ruins a shmup faster than poor controls. Thankfully, poor controls are nowhere to be found here. Movement and firing are both responsive and that’s really all you can ask for.
3. Accessibility – With a number of difficulties to choose from and an absence of the dreaded one-hit kill (outside of survivor mode), Echoes+ is playable by anyone regardless of their skill level.
4. Interface – Looking away from the action for even a second can mean death in a fast paced shmup, but not to worry. Just by looking at your ship, you can quickly gauge your health (the bigger the aura, the more health) and your remaining bombs (shown on your ship’s tail).
5. Modes – Besides the standard mode, there’s also a time attack mode, a survivor mode, a classic mode, and two other modes that each focus on a specific enemy type. There isn’t as much variety as Geometry Wars 2′s six mode setup, but it’s still very nice.
6. Pacing – Things start out easy but the action ramps up quickly enough to prevent boredom from ever becoming an issue. Before long, you’ll be telling your eyes to stop blinking just in an attempt to keep up with everything that’s happening on screen.
7. Goals – Like the official achievements that Indie Games can’t have, Echoes+ has various optional goals (called Zoots) to shoot for. Not only are there a ton of these optional tasks to achieve, but the game also keeps track of the highest difficulty level for each Zoot that you gain.
8. Strategic – Since asteroids break up into smaller pieces, shooting haphazardly is going to get you in one chaotic mess very quickly.
9. Replayability – See #3, #5, and #7.
10. Price – At 240 MS points, it’s less than a third of the price of your average XBLA shmup while still being of similar quality to their more expensive offerings. Why haven’t you bought this game yet?