[Review] Lost Sounds – Adventures of Poco Eco

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Adventures of Poco Eco $2.99

Developer: POSSIBLE Games
Genre: Adventure
Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes 

I know what you’re thinking, and I wish to dissolve the ambiguity right away – Adventures of Poco Eco is NOT a lesser version of Monument Valley. Even though I can’t blame you for drawing that parallel, the two games fall in the same niche technically, but Poco Eco is neither a clone, nor a lame attempt at exploiting the Escher-esque art in gaming. Quite the opposite – Adventures of Poco Eco is a unique, wonderfully relaxing, musical exploration. If you like to take your mobile games with a pleasant laid-back attitude, take them at your own pace and enjoy every bit of them – visually and musically, take that plunge. If you are after hard puzzles, however, you are knocking on the wrong door.

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Story

The game takes itself lightly and offers a good deal of funky, laid-back elements. At the beginning, you watch a short cutscene, where you see Poco Eco and his people hanging around a sea shore. They’re fun little fellas that look like a mix of a fox and a bear. Poco Eco falls off a cliff to discover a tape, which he adjusts on his belly and plugs two earphones into his ears. And so, the music begins. Clearly, Poco Eco likes what he hears because he starts moving his head rhythmically. He is summoned by a spirit that looks like a constellation of a bear, telling Poco to find the lost sounds and return them to the totems and restore the music for his people.

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If it sounds like nonsense it’s because the story itself does not bear much weight on the gameplay, but adds quite a few nice touches here and there. Even though Poco Eco is on an important quest, he keeps dancing and wiggling his little chubby body with the music, obviously enjoying himself. Sometimes he would stop to listen, or play a guitar. His fellow inhabitants of the beautiful world seem to be enjoying quite a hedonistic lifestyle – you will find them chilling by the pool, playing chess, hanging out.

Gameplay

Technically, Adventures of Poco Eco – Lost Sounds is an adventure puzzler, but the puzzles are fairly easy, so don’t expect to find any particular depth in terms of the difficulty. At the same time, I would describe Poco Eco as a complementary, interactive and extremely beautiful journey that accompanies IamYank’s music album Lost Sounds. By the way, the $2.99 game purchase comes with the complete OST download for free, so when you are done with the game, the music stays with you. I, for one, have changed all my ringtones to the tunes of the Lost Sounds.

Here is the deal – if you like the music, you will like Poco Eco. It’s as simple as that, and I believe it’s something you should be aware of before buying.

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So, Poco Eco sets out on a journey through 14 areas of his wonderful music world. Each area holds a formidably lightweight challenge, and the pleasure comes not from solving it, but from the journey itself. You will be walking about the fascinating scenes, most of which are dramatically larger than Monument Valley’s puzzle levels. There will be buttons, elevators and staircases, and you will need to activate them to alter the environment and get to the totem of the level.

Each level has a funky gizmo that looks like a light bulb of sorts, which , when activated, shows you all the elements you need to activate at once. It’s a tips’and’tricks kind of thing perfect for the kids.

Besides Eco is accompanied by a neon red wasp that goes by the name Ledbug. It’s a fairy of sorts, and she helps Eco by going ahead of him and literally showing him where to go next.

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Yes, it may feel like the game is holding your hand, but since you can take it at your own pace and not necessarily follow Ledbug’s tips, you can enjoy the environments as much as you like, from different angles.

The environment is a part of the gameplay, too. On the one hand, there is a set number of gadgets, mechanisms and buttons you need to activate, and the puzzles are quite easy. On the other hand, the environments are wonderfully spiced with the interactive elements you can tap to add a few extra sounds to the music, which is an integral part of the journey. There’d be drum stick flowers, sub-woofer rocks, drum kit lakes and more elements you will surely want to explore.

The only downside here is these interactive elements are not an integral part of the puzzles, but my guess here is the game is primarily aimed at the music fans and kids, so the puzzle difficulty is not the objective here.

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Controls

The control scheme is dead easy and straightforward – tap anywhere for Poco Eco to walk, and if there is a path, he’ll walk it. If there is no path, he will remain standing. The buttons and elevators are easily activated by tapping. Everything is responsive and easy to figure out. The interactive elements are all over the place – don’t ignore those.

Design

Adventures of Poco Eco is a fascinating experience, and the 14 environments provide for a delightful variety in the visuals – from the pink and purple to the dark blue and neon green. It’s all very meditative and Zen experience, and then – there is the music. Every step of the way, Eco is accompanied by the dreamy electronic music of Iamyank, a Hungarian composer. I sincerely hope his fandom expands way beyond Hungary with the release of Poco Eco.

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What I noticed is how ingeniously the music is interwoven with the gameplay. As you wonder about the level, you may at some point realize the music is not progressing – that is because you’re not making any progress. However, press the right button to activate the next mechanism and the music will let you know you’re on the right track by adding a few new noticeable elements to its flow. Hence, Poco Eco is a game you must play with your headphones on, or with the external speakers. It’s an overall artistic delight.

Difficulty

It’s an easy challenge, and if you are looking for an age-appropriate game for your children, you can’t go wrong with Poco Eco. At the same time, if you’re a grown-up fan of the electronic music, you will equally enjoy the experience.

Another part of the game that I liked is how it’s neither time-limited, nor violent. Nobody dies, nobody falls, nobody gets lost.

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IAPs

Zero, kein, nada. $2.99 gets you the full game and the 6 track OST from Iamyank, so you can enjoy the music long after you have finished the game.

Replay Value

It’s not a long game, and the 14 environments will not take you long to finish. It all depends on how you take it. I, for one, like to savor the experience and take two areas a day to linger with the game. I don’t know if I’ll be returning to the game when I am through with all the levels, but I am surely enjoying the OST far beyond the game. As far as kids are concerned, this may be their go-to exploration adventure for a good while.

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Pros

  • Gorgeous OST
  • Dazzling visuals
  • Inter-connectivity of music and gameplay
  • Lighthearted story
  • Adorable characters
  • Easy puzzles
  • 14 areas to explore
  • Interactive environments beyond the puzzle areas
  • Full Lost Sounds OST by Iamyank comes free with the game’s purchase
  • Perfect for the kids and the electronic music fans – no violence

Cons

  • A questionable replay value for the older players

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Conclusion

Adventures of Poco Eco – Lost Sounds is one of the best releases this year, I dare say. It is intriguing, beautiful, addicting and engrossing, despite the simplicity of its puzzles. Its environments are vast and a delight to explore, and nothing like Monument Valley, although the pyramid level may look like it. If you fancy some excellent eye candy and great music – Poco Eco is right down your alley. Don’t expect too much of its puzzler side, though. The game is more of a meditative, laid-back audio-visual journey rather than a mental exercise. In other words, the Lost Sounds is mesmerizing. Get it.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Story
Gameplay
Controls
Design, Music
Replay Value
Difficulty
Performance
Extra Content