Developer: Kickback Studios
Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Greg is a bright young entrepreneur who’s meeting with his girlfriend Chloe when she mysteriously disappears. He awakens in a hospital with little knowledge of what happened or where she’s gone, and begins a frantic search for her. Nobody seems to remember her or who she is, and Greg becomes increasingly aware that something seriously strange is going on.

Kickback Studio’s first iOS game Lost Echo is an episodic story-driven, point-and-click adventure that utilizes beautiful 3D interactive environments, character interaction, and puzzle solving in order to tell an engaging futuristic story with elements of mystery and science fiction. Taking on the role of protagonist Greg, players will explore immersive 3D locations, meet and interact with a bunch of bizarre and interesting characters, find clues, and use creativity and intellect in order to solve the mystery of his missing girlfriend and find out who is behind these strange events.

IMG_0123Upon starting a new game there is a choice of two gameplay modes: Casual or Normal. The first provides the player with a lot more guidance and simplifies puzzles, whereas the latter gives players the full experience with very little help and a harder difficulty setting.

The controls are easy to get to grips with. Tap once to move Greg or tap an object to get him to interact with it. Tapping twice will cause him to run, and holding down two fingers anywhere on the touchscreen will highlight the interactive hotspots. The box in the top right hand corner brings up the inventory and objects can either be combined here or used to interact with other people, places, or things.

Graphically, the game is beautifully designed with a striking highly detailed and realistic visual style. The user interface cooperates well to a certain extent and is easy to navigate, but unfortunately the hotspots have a tendency to stop working at vital points, so saving often is beneficial (though there is an autosave function).

IMG_0135Lost Echo’s narrative speaks for itself as its story is beautifully written, humorous in all the right places, and gives the game an overall great feel and personality. The dialogue is perfectly presented and nicely readable, with the variable text speeds giving it a whole lot of character. The soundtrack also speaks volumes, creating the perfect atmosphere for every scene and event.

The puzzles are wonderfully presented and spaced out well, with a good combination of item puzzles, dialogue-based puzzles, and self-contained puzzles and mini-games thrown into the mix. Although some of them take some getting used to, as a whole the variety of styles keeps things refreshing and interesting.

Overall, to speak of Lost Echo in any negative sense would be quite a difficult task as it’s a beautifully designed game with a strong narrative voice and works remarkably well as an iOS “point-and-click” adventure. This is a must-buy for anybody who loves sci-fi, mystery, or just adventure games in general.


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