Trying out Lone Echo for the first time was as exciting as the first time I tried out the Oculus DK2. Ready At Dawn has built an amazing virtual reality experience from the ground up that takes advantage of the Oculus Touch controllers in a way never before seen.
Lone Echo is an upcoming space adventure game that gives players a true feeling of weightlessness accompanied by a brand new means of locomotion in virtual reality. Ready At Dawn Studios uses the Oculus Touch controllers to empower players' hands. The demo starts with a short tutorial that teaches players to grab onto any part of the level to pull and push themselves around the zero gravity space station. There are also two propulsion jets located on each of your gloves that can help you guide yourself around. Players will feel a bit like Superman as they fly through zero gravity with their hands in front of them.
As the tutorial ends, the demo continues on the outside of a space station. Lone Echo's new locomotion mechanic powered by the Oculus Touch controllers is masterfully showcased as players have to navigate through zero gravity to reposition a satellite array. The hand presence in the game is some of the best in any VR title. Balancing use of the propulsion jets in your gloves with the grasping mechanic is extremely important because you don't want to drift out into the nothingness of space. After replacing a fuse in the satellite array using your handy laser cutter, you receive a distress call from one of your friends on another part of the station.
You are instructed to get to a nearby space transport. You have to grab onto the rail as they are wisked away to another part of the massive space station. You arrive to find your friend is trapped in a hatch on the exterior of the station. Once again, using your laser cutter, you free the hatch just in time for a massive explosion to go off in the distance. The demo fades to black and I take off the Rift and come back to reality. The campaign demo of Lone Echo created a heart racing, immersive and innovative experience that left me wanting more.
Luckily, the developers had two demos at OC3. After the single player campaign demo, I was urged to go check out Lone Echo's multiplayer. 5 on 5 ultimate frisbee in zero gravity? Sign me up! Oculus Connect 3 was coming to a close, but the developers joined myself and Brian from SVVR, aka Mikuya on the Chatty, for some intense games. Players start with their teams in a pre game lobby where they can practice and strategize pregame. Multiplayer adds another boost to your wrist propulsion jets that allows for super fast movement in short bursts. Once the game begins each team is given 5 minutes to score as many goals as they can. This is accomplished by throwing the disc into the marked goal zone. Easier said than done, as your opponents can stun you by punching you in the head and stealing the disc away. Players have to balance navigation by wrist jets and grabbing onto the level's various surfaces. You can also grab onto teammates and opposing players which can lead to some hilarious and awkward moments. Brian and I were able to win our matchup, no thanks to our 0-0 draw in the first game, but sadly our time was up after an intense 4-2 game. The feeling of weightlessness combined with the frantic pace of 5 on 5 multiplayer provides players with another great experience outside that of the single player campaign.
Unfortunately, we all have to wait until next year for Lone Echo to immerse us in a truly new way to play games in virtual reality. Ready At Dawn Studios has earned my praise for thinking outside of the box with respects to their truly unique take on locomotion in VR. The single player campaign combined with the ridiculously fun multiplayer makes this an Oculus Touch title that all Rift owners should be looking forward to.