Chained Echoes is a story-driven JRPG inspired by classics like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and Xenogears.
The game is a love letter to the genre, featuring a compelling cast of characters, a vast world full of lore and secrets, tactical turn-based combat that makes you think of Octopath Traveler, and much more. There’s a lot to love about Chained Echoes for fans of the genre looking for new takes on old ideas.
- Name: Chained Echoes
- Price: $24.99
- Developer: Matthias Linda
- Publisher: Deck13
While the focus switches between the entire party often (especially during the first chapter), the player starts as Glenn, a world-class Sky Armor (mech) pilot joined by his friend Kylian. The two are in the company of a band of mercenaries on an ill-fated mission to get behind enemy lines to reclaim recently-occupied territory. Things aren’t all as they seem, and the fates of each playable character quickly become intertwined in a plot of political intrigue full of twists and turns, humor, and charm.
A traditional turn-based JRPG without random encounters, Chained Echoes rewards the player for exploration. Each area you visit on your journey contains treasure chests and crafting materials off the beaten path, all of which will help you on your journey, so it pays to take your time.
The game also features a system that rewards you for the more objectives you complete, such as the number of hidden treasures you’ve found in that area or defeating a certain number of a type of enemy. The more objectives you chain together on the board, the more rewards you receive. Therefore, the game encourages players to go back to previous areas to complete goals they might have yet to do the first time around.
Typical of games in this genre, there’s a lot of dialogue, but Chained Echoes doesn’t feel like it’s bloated in the dialogue department, although it is a story-heavy game. Like other titles of the era to which it pays homage, there’s no voice acting, and the text is easy to read and written succinctly. Characters have their own portraits during dialogue, drawn in an anime-adjacent pixel art style, and each character feels unique.
Combat is turn-based, and encounters are not random, although sometimes you may not notice an enemy on the map before you end up in battle with it. That said, failing an encounter in Chained Echoes is no big deal; you can start the encounter over, which takes you to your menu first in case you want to switch your gear or party around. If you don’t want to start the encounter over right then, you have the option to go back to your last save or your last auto-save. Auto-saving is frequent and occurs nearly every time you move between maps, but you can disable the option if you prefer.
On the surface, Chained Echoes appears simplistic in its classic JRPG-inspired combat, but battles are surprisingly complex. The Overdrive bar requires that you stay within the green to receive less damage from enemies while doing more damage to them, but sometimes using the right spell or item to avoid putting the bar in the red is tricky. Battles can quickly turn around on you if you aren’t paying attention to your Overdrive bar.
Once you get into Sky Armor combat in the game’s second chapter, battles become even more complex. Sky Armor pilots must change gears to make the most of their mech’s abilities, which also comes into play with balancing the Overdrive bar. Sky Armor can be customized with new equipment, and you can even give them new paint jobs.
Characters receive points, usually after boss battles, that are used to purchase skills and stat boosts rather than leveling up traditionally. In regular battles, characters gain points that can be used to level up existing skills, making them more effective.
Chained Echoes features a pixel art aesthetic like the 16-bit classics by which it was inspired. Colors are painterly and vibrant, and each region has its own flora and fauna. In one area, the characters speak of flowers that used to grow everywhere and go on for miles, but now all we see is ash from the fallout of a recent war-related explosion. In another, the party takes a path “under the seabed,” a winding cave filled with growing clusters of coral and seaweed.
Star Rating for Chained Echoes on Switch
Ninty Gamer is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission.