Ecolis: Save the Forest

Imagine if every time you wanted to boil the kettle you had to push six or seven buttons, set a timer and then choose a temperature instead of just flicking a switch to set the water boiling. That would be pretty annoying, right? This quirky Pikmin-alike RTS also suffers from being too convolved for its own good.

As the title suggests, Ecolis has an anti-pollution vibe, with idea being to save a forest from destruction by ordering around armies of squirrels and beavers. But whereas Pikmin and Command & Conquer were blessed with simple and effective control systems, Ecolis has been lumbered with a painfully cumbersome way of doing things.

The main character you control is a hefty yellow chap named Dorian. Because the camera is fixed on him at all times you can’t scout around the maps without making him plod slowly around the 3D environments. So, for instance, there might be a few enemies in the area, but there’s no way to send a wave of troops over to them without physically walking over there. To make matters worse, to select magic attacks you have to tap on Dorian and select them from the menu, but as the game doesn’t pause while you do this it leaves poor Dorian open to attack. There’s loads of waffle to skip through during the cut-scenes, which are too long anyway.

If you can put up with these niggles though, then Eclois does have a certain charm to it. It’s pleasing on the eye and surprisingly deep, with the ability to level up your squirrels and choose your own order to tackle the levels. Dorian can power-up his skills by visiting a magic shrine and praying for more abilities with add an RPG-style vibe. If only the developers had sorted the fundamentals out first.

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