When it comes to modern shoot 'em ups, Qute are masters of crafting stand-out formulas and Eschatos is quite a fun arcade shooter.
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After enjoying many complex shmups recently, Eschatos makes for a nice change of pace with its easy to pick-up-and-play controls and simple scoring system that rewards you for efficiently shooting down enemies without letting them escape. In order to play, all you do is move your ship around and use 2 buttons to shoot with one being a forward shot and the other being a wide spread shot. The enemy formations complement these shot types well so you'll end up swapping between them constantly. Plus, if you hold the 2 buttons together then you can raise a shield that absorbs projectiles and decreases its power. I didn't find need to use the shield often as I opted to dodge enemy fire but it's still useful for when you're overwhelmed. You can change your speed, too, but it's not really necessary. v1d30chumz 3-235-186-94
Although it features solid gameplay, the most stand-out aspect of Eschatos is its presentation complete with stylish 3D visuals and phenomenal music that'll get you pumped as you play. One interesting feature is that the camera will regularly move to different angles which makes the shooting action feel cinematic yet it never gets in the way of the gameplay. The music also seems to go with the action which is more prominent at certain times and it all comes together to make for one pleasing arcade experience for your eyes and ears.
Eschatos may feature easily digestible gameplay but that doesn't mean that it's easy. Well, it is on the easy side when you compare it to many of its genre contemporaries but it still provides a hearty challenge, especially on its increased difficulty settings. Speaking of which, there are a few modes to choose from with Original being the basic half-hour or so campaign and Advanced being the same except you can power-up your ship at the cost of shield energy. There's also Time Attack mode which may not be exactly what you'd expect because you're tasked with completing the campaign within a certain amount of time and are rewarded extra time for playing well.
As you play Eschatos, your total score is tallied up and various unlockables are doled out at particular thresholds. I enjoyed unlocking new things but after a while, the rewards became underwhelming with thresholds being a bit too far between which made me wish that everything was just unlocked right off the bat. Merely getting a new wallpaper after a handful of fruitful attempts just isn't all that satisfying. Meanwhile, there could be more variations to help mix things up because no matter which mode you play, the campaign remains the same. I'm glad that Qute got this aspect right in their successive games although Eschatos is still undeniably great.
WonderSwan Color games
As if one shmup wasn't enough, this Switch release of Eschatos includes a couple of WonderSwan Color games that originally released in the early '00s. Both Judgement Silversword: Rebirth Edition and Cardinal Sins: Recycle Edition are solid portable shoot 'em ups that feature similar mechanics to Eschatos albeit with 2D visuals which are actually quite detailed and well-animated. I particularly enjoyed how these games report your progress after each segment so you can see how many enemies you defeated and how long it took you, etc. They may not be the most robust shooters but I'd definitely give them a few goes whenever I'm in a waiting room or at a bus stop.
Genre newcomers will relish the intuitive gameplay of Eschatos with its simple scoring mechanics that make the relentless shooting action even more satisfying. Plus, the fact that a couple of charming bonus retro games are included is a treat.
- + Simple yet challenging shmup gameplay with rewarding straightforward scoring
- + Excellent soundtrack and visuals
- + Contains a couple of fun bonus games
- - Genre veterans may find it a bit too simple
- - Grindy unlockables aren't all that rewarding
- - Could use more variations such as multiplayer