Echo Bazaar is a web-based game that uses social networks (Twitter and Facebook) for sign-in authentication. Of the countless games on my radar that grapple for my free time this one only asks for 10 minutes at a time, but I have a tough time deciding what to do with those minutes.
The game is set in Victorian London that has been pulled into the earth and now resides in what is commonly known as the ‘Neath. For what purpose? Well I’ll leave that for you to discover but I can tell you that this isn’t the first city to have been ‘acquired’.
The are many common elements that appear familiar but often have an unusual twist in this game.
You are limited to a maximum of 10 actions at any one time, these gradually refresh 1 every 6 minutes, you are also limited to a total of 60 actions in one day.
The type of actions you can perform are defined by your location and by your progress in one of four skills. These shape your character and the path they follow, new tasks are unlocked and old ones vanish as you gain experience in each skill.
Additionally there are also opportunity cards that can be played at any location.
Although it uses social media for sign in, thankfully it doesn’t demand that you pressure your friends into playing to increase your enjoyment or bombard your social feeds with information.
The only messages are sent with your full knowledge/permission, messages to friends on twitter are sent via Direct message rather than appearing in your timeline.
The tales found in the game are entertaining and each new thing you discovers gives a little more insight and knowledge about Fallen London and it’s inhabitants.
There are many avenues to travel in order to progress the stories, whether it’s joining a lynch mob, lecturing at the University or spending time in the local pub, each is unique and unlocks more clues or mysteries.
The game isn’t without niggling issues that frustrate players, sometimes there is a lack of options and you need to grind the same content for a level, there is much that can be done without purchasing any in game premium currency (Fate), but without it some areas are locked from you.
That said I still find the game really enjoyable, I’ve been playing on and off since early 2010. You can ask friends to help you out, normally at the expense of their sanity, but that’s all part of life here in what remains of London.