Title: Lone Echo
Developer: Ready at Dawn
Publisher: Oculus Studios
Genre: Adventure, Exploration, Narrative
Platform: Oculus Rift, Rift S
Release Date: July 20, 2017
A copy of this game was purchased by the reviewer.
VR games oftentimes follow a certain trope like recreating something you can do in real life, throwing you into a zombie apocalypse, or giving you a gun. Lone Echo on Oculus Rift differs in standard VR gameplay and drops you into the body of an android dubbed, Jack, alongside Captain Olivia Rhodes on a mission on a space station near the rings of Saturn. The game starts out with you aiding Captain Rhodes in some basic tasks as you go through tutorial-like stages by teaching you how to use your IO-sensor, welding torch, repulsion traversal jets, and a rocket pack. In the opening act of the game, you will move around the space station accessing control ports and panels, turning dials and levers to complete small puzzle sections.
As you move through the opening act, your space station is shaken by an EMP blast coming from around Saturn’s rings. You and Captain Rhodes need to move quickly to recover satellite power, uncover the mystery of the environment around you and how it affected your mining station. You’ll need to pilot transport vehicles and maintain your suits’ radiation levels so you don’t have to reset your position and reboot into a new suit.
Lone Echo VR feels a bit like Nintendo’s Metroid series in some ways. There’s a bit of back and forth through various areas of the space station and outside areas you will come across. Instead of a missile launcher or beam cannon, you will need to blast viral spores that float around the corridors and cut apart panels to reach systems below to unlock doors and make your way through the various areas. Along with the torch, you can scan items and learn more about them, as well as use the IO scanner to unlock computer panels. The loneliness of space also harkens back to some of Samus’ adventures as you move through dark tunnels that link areas and use your laser to cut through alien pods you will eventually come across.
One thing that Lone Echo does well in, is in its second half of the game (which I will be intentionally vague about the main story), the game quickly becomes a search and rescue mission for Captain Liv, that has you piloting Jack through an expansive alien ship. There are a few times in the latter half of Lone Echo that may cause anxiety as you navigate tight spaces while avoiding enemy spores and infections that have spread to most of the walls of the alien spaceship.
A VR Visual and Audio Masterpiece
Lone Echo is one of the prettiest games that I have played in VR. From character models of Liv, other androids you come in contact with, and the space station itself are all rendered in high detailed quality. There is an attention to detail in every object, from the knick-knacks you will find within the bridge of your ship, to the lighting effects that flicker on computer consoles.
On top of impressive graphical effect and environments, Lone Echo has a great cast of voice actors from an emotional delivery by Alice Coulthard, as Captain Rhodes to Troy Baker giving Echo One/Jack a heart as the player-controlled android. Within the gameplay, you will oftentimes learn more about Captain Olivia Rhodes and Echo One and their relationship as a team aboard their ship. There seems to be more to their relationship than just coworkers which makes for some real moments of angst and care for each other during their mission.
An Oculus Rift must play
There are not many games I would say are must play on the Oculus Rift, but Lone Echo is definitely one of them. The game isn’t difficult, it’s more of an experience in navigating Zero-G space exploration and light puzzle solving. At the end of the game, it’s easy to see the care in the friendship between Captain Rhodes and Jack and in some ways, what it means to be human. If you have an Oculus Quest 1 or 2 or a Rift, and a capable PC. I would recommend Lone Echo as I am giving it our highest score rating and dubbing it as a ‘Must Play’ for any VR enthusiast or die-hard gamer.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can get your copy of Lone Echo from the Oculus Store
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.