The great success of electrochemiluminescence (ECL) for in vitro diagnosis (IVD) and its promising potential in light-emitting devices greatly promote recent ECL studies. More than 45% of ECL articles were published after 2010, and the first international meeting on ECL was held in Italy in 2014. This critical review discusses recent vibrant developments in ECL, and highlights novel ECL phenomena, such as wireless ECL devices, bipolar electrode-based ECL, light-emitting electrochemical swimmers, upconversion ECL, ECL resonance energy transfer, thermoresponsive ECL, ECL using shape-controlled nanocrystals, and ECL as an ion-selective electrode photonic reporter, a paper-based microchip, and a self-powered microfluidic ECL platform. We also comment on the latest progress in bioassays, light-emitting devices and, the computational approach for the ECL mechanism study. Finally, perspectives and key challenges in the near future are addressed (198 references).