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Chained Echoes - Review - Xbox

Chained Echoes is a beautiful love letter to classic RPG games from the bygone SNES and Megadrive era. The fact that this game was almost completely solo developed by Matthias Linda is a thing to behold and I am honestly blown away by the quality of the game they have created. Publisher Deck13 literally has released one of the best games of the year and everyone should be playing it right now! I'm serious.

Well if what i just said hasn't peeked your interest and you don't currently have it sat in your download list on Xbox then I suppose I better explain more about the game. Chained Echoes is a story-driven roleplaying game with a story that features a group of heroes travelling around the vast continent of Valandis to bring an end to the war between its three kingdoms. While the story is full of classic cliches and nods to other classics like Chrono Trigger etc, it draws you in and keeps you intrigued from start to finish.

The first thing you will notice from playing the game is how beautiful its 16-bit pixelated graphical style looks. With stunningly detailed environments to explore, bright and colourful sprites on characters and gorgeously designed enemies and larger bosses. The UI is slick and everything is well presented where it should be on the screen. There is also good reason to explore these beautifully crafted areas too, with plenty of treasures and secret boss fights to be found by straying from the obvious path. In the course of your journey, you will travel through a wide array of diverse landscapes spanning from wind-tanned plateaus and exotic archipelagos to sunken cities and forgotten dungeons.

The combat on offer is classic turn-based goodness, but with added twists to keep it fresh and unique. The turn order is shown across the top of the screen during combat but the inclusion of an Overdrive gauge. Everything you do in battle will cause it to slowly fill up, once it hits that sweet green spot your party will receive a selection of buffs to make them stronger and take less damage, but the downside is if you push the gauge past green and into red you will end up overheating and you will face negative debuffs! It adds a layer of strategy to what would otherwise be standard turn based battles.

You can also only have upto four party members on the battle field at any time, however you are able to team them up with another party member who is able to "tag" in during the battle. This allows you to switch around mid battle and change the teams dynamic when needed in certain situations. I also liked the inclusion of the Ultra Move metre that builds up as you take a beating and then when full allows you to unleash a huge ability, it reminded me of mechanics found in some of the newer fighting games that enable you to turn the tide in a fight! One thing I did really like in this game is that there are no random encounters. You are able to see the enemies roaming around the areas so you can try and avoid them if you wish. I'm much more of a fan of these than the random pop up encounters that spring from nowhere, as there are just times I want to get somewhere quickly without being stopped every handful of steps.

The game features an outstanding soundtrack inspired by PSX RPGs. It's one of those games where it's full of a huge range of tracks that you could listen over and over again. Don't believe me? Then spend a minute listening to one of the battle tracks below.

The game also features a complex skill and equipment system, the ability to customize your own airship and the ability to travel and fight on foot or in your own mech! Runtime wise, you're probably looking at around 40 hours to play through depending how much exploring you partake in. It's a beefy game and I was super impressed with just how much there was to do throughout my time in the world.

Chained Echoes is a fantastic RPG that pays tonnes of homage to the past, but includes enough modern quality-of-life improvements that make it feel fresh. If you're a fan of classic SNES and Sega Megadrive RPGs then you need to get this game. It's got a great battle system, looks absolutely stunning and feels amazingly polished for a solo developed game. A masterpiece in gaming that more people should be playing! What are you waiting for? It's on Xbox Game Pass right now! GO, GO, GO!


Chained Echoes was released onto the Xbox store on the 8th December 2022. The game is playable on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S Consoles and PC and is priced at £20.99. The game can be purchased HERE. You can also play the game as part of your Xbox Game Pass subscription. Chained Echoes was also released on Steam and other console platforms.

A copy of the game was provided for this review. A huge thanks for that!

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