Echo: Secrets of the Lost Cavern (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 7.50
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 7.00

Echo: Secrets of the Lost Cavern is a very interesting adventure game set in the prehistoric ages. Players will step into the role of Arok, a young Cro-Magnon boy, who is on a quest to seek out his master and learn to draw the spirits out of cave paintings just as his master has. This will lead him through several caves and he will also meet new people along the way. The game is a little light on story, full of puzzles, and has somewhat of a historical aspect, but it is definitely well done.

The game looks absolutely gorgeous, you can tell a lot of time and care was put into making these pre-rendered backgrounds. Most of your time will be spent exploring caves and some outdoor areas. The outdoor areas in particular are just stunning, and everything feels alive. Caves are also fairly detailed, and light is realistically reflected on the cave walls as you would expect it to be. There are also some cinemas throughout the game which are up to the graphical standards seen in the rest of the game. Echo’s interface is also intuitive and easily allows you to see what can be interacted with and what can’t. However, it’s not possible to rotate the viewing angle 180 degrees, which could make a few of the earlier puzzles a little bit harder than they initially seem. It’s not a major issue but would’ve been nice.

When there is background music it is nice and fits in with the events currently happening in the game. However, most of the time it’s fairly soft and players may not even notice it. It does fit the time period the game is set in though, which is definitely a good thing. Arok and all the people he will meet are fully voice acted, and the voices are very well done; they will truly help to further draw players into the game.

Echo almost has somewhat of an educational aspect to it. There is an option called the documentary database which the player can access any time. This provides a lot of information on all kinds of things relating to the time period, and can even help provide some clues to the player on what they should be doing in the game. However, for those who don’t want it this isn’t a necessary requirement, but it’s definitely a great thing for people interested in the time period, and shows that the developers also did a lot of research on this era.

As also mentioned before, the story in the game is fairly simplistic and there isn’t all that much of it. The focus is definitely on solving puzzles/problems in the game, and this won’t appeal to everyone, but fans of a more puzzle oriented adventure game will absolutely fall in love with Echo. A lot of times players are required to make a particular item out specific materials, and everything is done on the fly. It’s not hard to figure out, which is great. Although there are a few major trial and error puzzles (and this is to be expected), for the most part all of the issues the players will face are intuitive and will get them thinking about a solution.

The cave painting aspect plays a major role in the game’s puzzles. Arok has a gift in that he can bring the spirits out of cave paintings. Some puzzles will exploit this fact and have him manipulating frescoes in order to affect things in the world around him. These types of puzzles are something new to fans of the adventure genre, and definitely something I want to see expanded on more in the future in a new game.

The game itself is fairly short, although there are some pretty tough puzzles that may have players stumped for awhile. Despite that, adventure fans that prefer puzzles and logic over character development will love this game, as will buffs of the prehistoric ages. This is truly a different breed of game compared to what you usually see on the market, and more people should experience it. Go and give it a try.

Overall Rating: 8.00

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