Echos of Aetheria – What We Think:
Straight from the minds that brought you Skyborn and Deadly Sin comes an action-packed, turn-based strategy game that quickly shifts from a lighthearted adventure to something much more sinister. Developed by Dancing Dragon Games , Echoes of Aetheria begins with highly-skilled kidnappers sabotaging a royal wedding meant to bring two empires to peace. Sound familiar? Cliche or not, this disruption turns into much more as your protagonist, Lucian, eventually comes to realize the magnitude of the situation.
I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends?
Lucian embarks on a mystical quest to save the royal family and to find the culprit responsible for such a heinous crime. Ingrid (engineer, entrepreneur and an unlikely sidekick) and Soha (rich, mysterious and beautiful) join Lucian’s squad. and each has specific abilities that greatly aid him in battle. There are multiple interfaces for each action and a skill point system for leveling up abilities.
Crafty Little Buggers
The crafting in this game is highly intriguing. There are reagents and crafting materials you can discover to add depth and power to your crafted armor and weapons. The game told me to create a weapon for Lucian, but I chose to make a sniper weapon for Ingrid. I should have listened to the advice, because that decision ended up biting me in the ass.
Push My Buttons
I absolutely love the combat in this game (even if I’m not very good at it.) It is very Final Fantasy-esque and uses a tactical turn-based strategy design to showcase the true power of each character. Echoes also gives the player the opportunity to build a battle formation with all of the characters in their party before each fight. This can be the difference between living to see the next fight or suffering an embarrassing defeat.
The controls and layout are simple. You use the WASD keys to move around or you can move by clicking tiles. You click on objects or people to interact with them and on the battle screen, your controls are both clickable and hotkeys are available. Everything is very intuitive until you get to the menu screens. They feel rather clunky and somewhat too deep without explanation. I found myself clicking around more than I should have just to discover how specific items worked.
Questing with Questions
Each quest is tied to your main campaign. Every story in the campaign has three difficulties: Easy, Normal and Hard. While it’s tempting to go with either Normal or Hard, go with Easy. You’ll understand what I mean once you finish the tutorial.
There are no side quests, but it will always benefit you to explore and talk to as many people as possible. It feels very much like Pokemon in this regard. There are many hidden items to uncover, XP bonus tiles, and each person you talk to might hold key information.
You’ll come for the action and stay for the betrayal. Echoes of Aetheria puts a nice spin on the JRPG genre and is definitely an adventure to check out. But please, do not play on Hard difficulty. Your sanity will thank me later.
Echoes of Aetheria is available on Steam.
Watch the trailer for Echoes of Aetheria below: