LifeisXbox’s OPUS: Echo of Starsong review | As your ship lands safely at the edge of an ancient ruin left adrift throughout the aeons, you disembark against the wishes of the nobles aboard your ship. “By Taiyang’s Mercy” Cane in hand, you move slowly towards the entrance. The place is in ruins. Nature has peacefully taken up residency in the cave, as flowers sway to a slight breeze flowing through the ruins. As you leave your ship further behind, you stumble. The nobles on your comms are begging you to get back to the ship and let one of them handle this. You remind them of who you are, and why you are there. As you go deeper into the ruins you read the Myrian inscriptions, speaking of a past from when this place might have been contemporary. Soon, you find yourself in front of an enormous door. In your heyday, you would have easily fit in between the large cracks in the wall, but there is no need. As you raise your can upwards, a whispy melody emanates from it, reverberating off the wall throughout the cave. As if by magic, which is still up for debate mind you, the door slides open, inviting you further inwards.
When I checked out the steam page for Opus: Echo of Starsong after it was put up for review amongst the writers, I took an immediate interest. A game that looks like an interactive visual novel, set in space, with light adventuring to be done was so far up my alley it would probably hide its own collectible. Turns out I was right in it being my thing, as the first hourlong session I had planned ran slightly overboard by an hour or two. Oops… Opus: Echo of Starsong was developed and published by SIGONO INC who is responsible for the other OPUS games: The Day We Found Earth, and Rocket of Whispers.
ℹ️ | Thomas played Opus: Echo of Starsong for 18 hours on PC. This game is also available on Mac.
What we liked!
- 66 Years ago | Let’s start this review off on the highlight of OPUS: Echo of Starsong, the story. You experience the story through the eyes of Jun, who is visiting a Lumen cave 66 years after the events of the game. All 5 chapters of OPUS: Echo of Starsong are him remembering what had transpired. Jun will take you on an adventure across the Thousand Peaks star system, theatre of the Great Lumen war which was named after the resource it was waged over. Lumen. This substance tied to long lost gods themselves can be used for all sorts of things and springs forth in Asteroids across the galaxy. Where there is Lumen, so are there ruins of the Myrian civilization (those would be the gods) that first started using it. Together with your guardian Kay you quickly run into Edalune, everyone calls her Eda, and Remi. Jun is a noble from the far off solar system of East Ocean, who together with Kay explores Lumen caves. These people are called runners, as they delve deep into these caves to uncover their secrets. Eda is someone who is very sensitive to Lumen and can use her voice to mimic the frequencies. She is a witch from the tower, an religious order who train their entire lives to be able to sing starsongs. Remi is the Red Chamber’s pilot, hacker and overall handyperson. Now, for the sake of keeping the story as unspoilt as possible I will not discuss any plot points. Just know the story has a lot of character growth, will touch on the many hardships life can offer, has more than a single subplot, and will at some points go far beyond 66 years ago.
- Lumen cave exploration | One of your three main activities in OPUS: Echo of Starsong will be exploring Lumen caves to gather their starsongs. In these parts of the game, you delve in as Jun, or sometimes even Eda will risk it for brief periods of time. This part of OPUS: Echo of Starsong is largely 2D environmental puzzle sections where your goal is to get to the innermost part of the cave to sample a starsong right from its lumen spring. To get there you’ll have to look for clues, help power lumen transmutation engines and tune the cave’s respective song to open various doors. Most of the time you can take all the time you want here, but some of these sections will require you have your wits about you to complete them without misremembering the events that transpired.
- Red Chamber | This is the name of the Lumen seeking vessel (read spaceship) that will carry across the Thousand Peaks. Now while space travel is usually a dull affair, trust me I spend too much time in the cockpit, OPUS: Echo of Starsong makes every leg of the journey be worth remembering. As what I feel is the second part of the main gameplay loops your time spent aboard the Red chamber is all about upgrading the ship and passing skill checks. Most locations in the Ignis system are either abandoned after the Lumen war or ancient Lumen producing asteroids. These can be scavenged to gather resources to either sell at a station or upgrade your ship. Upgrading your ship can offer nice boons such as increased fuel, armour and exploration kit capacity, increased payouts when selling rare Lumen plants, or boosting your bottom threshold when being required to roll a die to see if you can succeed in an action. Not only did it give me a real sense of progression, it also made the journey a lot easier, and more thrilling as I took bigger risks.
- Puzzles and other minigames | On more than a few occasions you’ll have to play a couple of minigame like puzzles during OPUS: Echo of Starsong. Most smaller, one-off situations like dodging asteroids or hacking into comms systems will be found when playing as Remi. The main two kinds both have to do with starsongs. As Eda, you can sense and imitate any nearby starsong by focussing on the lumen around you. Often times you will do this from the bridge of the Red Chamber using your scanner. You will then have to choose between several options available in the space around you to match the one that corresponds with your voice. Jun can then use those recordings inside Lumen caves when needing to operate machinery or doors. To do this he will need to use his scynthscepter to manually finetune the frequency of that starsong into the right mutation. This is visualized by several white lines you have line up with the inscriptions on the wall below. You will also hear how you’re transforming the audio as you tune it. These kinds of puzzles are the third kind of gameplay loop you’ll encounter in OPUS: Echo of Starsong.
- Sights of the Peaks | OPUS: Echo of Starsong knows that a good story can tell you about a setting, and let you fill it in yourself with your imagination. The artists over at SIGONO however seemed to have other plans. Dialogue happens as it does in visual novels. A variety of hand-drawn character portraits for each character to display their various states of emotions. They do their job very well, although a special shout out to young Jun when he’s crying. Besides that, the game boasts vistas of all places you can visit. No two space stations are the same, and you’ll notice that. The colourful nebulae on the system map are also a sight to behold, as the stardust distinctly lets you know when you’re in a different location in the Ignis system. For the parts of the game where you actually get to explore places as Jun, the game is rendered in a soft, cell-shaded style. This is in line with the soft way characters and objects are portrayed during dialogue.
- Star Sung | Right when turning on OPUS: Echo of Starsong it takes a moment to recommend you play with headphones on. If you have the opportunity to play this with some nice headphones, do yourself the absolute pleasure of using them. As stated boldly in the title of SIGONO’s games, OPUS generally means one of two things. A (musical) composition or the grand work of an artist. In this case, they seemingly combined both. Music and sound is a theme present in most aspects of the game and story, and the composers worked their hardest to make it stand out. From the quiet ambient sounds present in Myrian ruins to the hustle and bustle at trading posts across the peaks, silence just isn’t a thing until it has to be. The range of accompanying tracks cover every situation flawlessly. Whether you are blasting off in the Red Chamber trying to escape pirates hot on your heels, seeing a sight only two people in the entire galaxy will, simply cruising across the star system, stopping off at a station abandoned after a long and tragic war, or visiting a city so nearly choked by its occupant’s OPUS: Echo of Starsong will have the right track to accompany it. And that is without even speaking of the many “Starsongs” to be found within. Since each Lumen cave you find has its song, and those can range from simply mysterious, grandiose, down to outright ominous.
- Just one thing | If I had one teeny tiny gripe with OPUS: Echo of Starsong, it would be that the first half of the third act felt a bit like busywork in the story. Don’t get me wrong, it was essential to build the plot, grow the characters and expand the world, yet it just all felt like a lot of busywork, flying from here to there just for some dialogue. Necessary dialogue mind you, but no real thrill or drive to keep you sucked in. Don’t worry too much though, as it quickly picks up again later.
What we disliked
- On your way to the conclusion I see | Come on, hurry along now. Nothing to see here.
How long to beat the story | I did it in 18 hours, but the post-game commentary says it can be done in about 12 hours.
How long to achieve 1000G | About 20 hours.
Similar with | Other OPUS games, visual novels.
LifeisXbox.eu is the largest Belgian Xbox centered website, your reading time is greatly appreciated! Please consider sharing this review with your friends on social media, that means a lot for us! If you are Dutch-speaking also consider joining our Dutch exclusive Facebook group Xbox Gamers Belgium. Feel free to use quotes for PR purposes.
Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.