Eko Episode One: Strange New World
opens in the cargo bay of a spaceship zooming past a planet in a cartoon-like universe. As light, jazzy music plays, Eko tinkers with the small spacecraft he's repairing. A fellow crew member has an "oops" moment, accidentally ejecting the small ship with Eko still inside.
Gameplay begins on the planet surface where our green-skinned, bug-eyed astronaut has crash landed. After assessing the damage to his ship, Eko sets out to find replacement parts.
Graphics in this game are bright, fanciful, and minimalist. Environments include a bar, a junkyard, underground caverns, and a forest at sunset. The musical background is sometimes funky and at other times carnival-like.A Cyclops, A Hobo and Spies
In his quest to repair his ship, Eko meets a weird collection of characters -- including underground rebels, a tax collector, and a sassy little girl with a red balloon. Our hero is determined and polite, but nevertheless he inadvertently (well, perhaps inadvertently) leaves certain characters in worse shape than when he found them. The dialogs are not voiced; you can click through them.
The game presents amusingly deadpan situational humor, including a bit of bathroom humor. It's also peppered with tongue-in-cheek pop culture references -- riffs on Monkey Island and Star Wars, for instance.
The writing in Strange New World
, like the environments, is minimalist, though it establishes the characters and story well. This episode ends in a cliffhanger, leaving the gamer longing for the story to resume in Episode Two.Nuts and Bolts
Interaction in Strange New World
is comparable to that in The Curse of Monkey Island
-- where you hold down the mouse in order to see various options -- "use," "look," and "talk." You play from a third person perspective, using a point-and-click interface.
Puzzles are inventory based and sometimes wacky, though none are so bizarre as to be illogical, and the challenges suit the game's offbeat atmosphere. At each point in the story, movement is restricted to a few screens, so you don't wander aimlessly. This episode contains about two hours of gameplay.
Overall the gaming experience is smooth. I encountered a save game glitch when I first played, but this issue was remedied quickly by the developer.
This is the first episode in a planned three-part series. The developer is currently working on the second episode whose (unofficial) release date is still a couple of months away.Links
You can find out more about the Eko series here.
You can purchase Eko Episode One: Strange New World
via download from The Adventure Shop.