A Cyber-Horror puzzle game where you have to outwit your own echo.
ECHOPLEX is a psychological horror cross 3D platformer. Set in some form of hospital complex, you must venture into your mind to retrieve your lost memories. And it’s all a result of some dabbling from a group going by the name of “CloneChem Corporation”.
The basic premise of the game sees you navigating through mazes to find their ending. Located throughout the various maze are doors that can be opened, and closed, by walking through colourcoded fields. The problem is, when you venture within your mind to muck about with it, bad things are bound to happen.
Now. in real life, the bad things would be, well everything; in ECHOPLEX though, the main problems are the trasity of this virtual world, with only a short amount of time before you are booted out into the stark and creepy medical/not-active-yet torture chamber that most of the game ‘takes place in’. Oh yeah, and a horrifying ‘echo’ of you chases you through your mind, repeating everything you do, eternally chasing you, your own worst enemy.
This is where the puzzles really take shape, with you quickly having to learnt o use your echo to trigger fields to allow you access through doors. Later, as you go on, you have to learn the level first, pretending that you’ve explored areas, but having your shadow act it out. Then you must go through the doors and triggers you opened for yourself, to let yourself get somewhere to help… Okay, enough of that. As the game goes on, more echos come into play and more complex puzzles emerge, with yourself as both the solver, the solvee, and everything in between.
Dressed in a white lab coat with a ‘phantom of the opera-esque mask’, you are given instructions by a disembodied voice – hidden amidst warnings about upcoming levels. These warnings all serve to introduce new mechanics to the game, but also build on the atmosphere of the game. All of this is extremely creepy, the ‘murderer’ style garb, the fact that your echo is chasing you through your memories, and the threat that, if you are too slow, you’ll get booted out of your own memory.
As mentioned before, you travel through these levels to secure the memory at the end. These memories are rather strange, telling a disjointed story. You’ve got the story of some dude who works at CloneChem working on producing a controversial product called Continuum, and another story of a woman protesting about it.
ECHOPLEX feels like a video game version of a student film, in that it all revolves around ideals, twirling in and out of the spotlight. The movie ‘bits’ were filmed by a director, so ECHOPLEX fits, at least for me, in between a movie and a game, each vying for priority.
The whole game is filled with jump scares, which certainly managed to startle me a few times. Psychological horror, which is a centrepiece of ECHOPLEX, is something that I find very difficult to deal with. Chuck in jump scares, a creepy white dude chasing after you, the creepy ‘cyber-horror’ soundtrack, and of course the fear & anticipation of what’s next… it was almost too much for me.
ECHOPLEX is a great game, showcasing how games can be art, people who don’t mind being shook by jump-scares, and teased by environmental, atmospheric efforts will enjoy it; although I can certainly understand that people like that, it’s certainly not for my weak heart.