Japanese Echochrome demo impressions
- Posted March 6th, 2008 at 18:19 EDT by Eric Blattberg
- 26 Comments
While the PlayStation Network has had a bounty of high-quality downloadable games since its launch in November 2006, none have made us feel just as Echochrome has. The last time we played a puzzler and felt this peaceful afterwards was, well, never.
It's remarkably difficult to explain Echochrome, but we'll do our best. There are five laws in the Echochrome universe. The first is perspective traveling. Change the perspective to connect paths, and the character will walk as if the path is connected. The second law is perspective landing. The character will land on whatever appears to be below a hole. Holes are marked by a fully black circle. The third law is perspective persistence. Although you may not be able to see them, paths exist everywhere. By blocking gaps or empty spaces from sight, you block them from existence, effectively creating a path on which to travel. The next law, perspective absence, is similar in concept. Hide an obstruction (a hole or a jump), and it no longer exists. The final law is perspective jump. Jumps are marked by a white circle with a black border. This law works akin to perspective landing. Where you want to jump is up to you, as long as it appears to be above you.
The goal? Shift the perspective, and follow the echo. Echos are shifting black shapes reminiscent of the character. The laws all seem very complicated at first, but you should come to grips with them quickly enough.
The controls are fairly simple as well. The camera can be controlled by either the D-pad or either analog stick. Personally, we preferred the D-pad over the sticks. Triangle stops the character in its place. While standing still and "thinking," you are free to adjust the perspective to your liking. Holding X quickens the character's walking rate, a useful tool if you've already got your path mapped out. Holding L1 allows for perspective manipulation with the Sixaxis. While not exactly precise, we're glad the developers chose to include this feature. Regularly, the camera feels just a spot slow with the D-pad or analog stick, but motion sensing allows for fast perspective shifts in short periods of time. If you're not a fan of the Sixaxis, then feel free to hold R1 in conjuction with manipulating the camera for quicker perspective shifts. Tapping select brings up a timer in the top right of the screen should you wish to know how fast you can complete any given level. Finally, the square button helps "snap" paths into place.
The demo contained three non-tutorial levels, each one more diverse than the last. The first two were relatively small, requiring minimal use of the laws to complete. The last level was by far the biggest and most complex, requiring more clever use of the laws to proceed. We believe however that this third level is only a taste of whats to come in the retail version. As mentioned before, the camera controls just a tad too slowly for our liking. This may be adjustable for the North American and European releases however. The rest of the package works perfectly though. The levels are difficult but not frustrating, diverse but reasonable, simple but elegant and so forth.
Echochrome's presentation proves simplicity is beauty. With a color palette relegated solely to black and white, the minimalistic style works wonders, perfectly suiting the gameplay. With soothing violin music accompanying each level, it's easy to get lost in Echochrome's warm embrace.
Knock on the door, but be warned, you may never come out.
- 1:21pm EST - March 6th, 2008
its still kinda fun to me!!
- 1:25pm EST - March 6th, 2008
hope it was fun psu
- 1:39pm EST - March 6th, 2008
i liked the demo a lot... its gonna be a must buy title
- 1:56pm EST - March 6th, 2008
Im looking forward to this title.
- 2:17pm EST - March 6th, 2008
consider me intrigued
- 2:24pm EST - March 6th, 2008
Updated: Figured out R1 allows for faster perspective shifts, square button snaps paths into place.
- 3:34pm EST - March 6th, 2008
i kinda like it but if i want a psn game it will be wipeout hd or the other that i forgot the name hehe
- 4:31pm EST - March 6th, 2008
i can't wait for this game. Any idea when it's going to reach the U.S.?
- 4:37pm EST - March 6th, 2008
I'm gettin this game ASAP. I love it.
- 6:09pm EST - March 6th, 2008
I would love this on the PSP but not so much on my TV.
- 12:11am EST - March 7th, 2008
"Diverse but reasonable" What the hll are you talking about? In what way can diversity be opposed to reason? Looking forward to this game, Professor Layton has gotten me into ths whole puzzle thinking.
- 2:00am EST - March 7th, 2008
its on the hong kong store too its actually really good lol and its in english so if anyones worried they won't understand it your safe
- 6:11am EST - March 7th, 2008
I read dis 2 times and still dnt get it lol
- 8:41am EST - March 7th, 2008
I loved the music! Camera controls could be improved.
- 12:15pm EST - March 7th, 2008
Does anyone know if the demo will come to N.A. or if there's a way to dl it from the JP PSN? I've been waiting for this one for a long time.
- 8:26pm EST - March 7th, 2008
Looks dull, I dont know, maybe its fun?
- 10:31pm EST - March 7th, 2008
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- 4:12am EST - March 8th, 2008
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yh, im gonna get this one!
- 6:06am EST - March 8th, 2008
I can already tell I'll be addicted to this game.
- 10:31am EST - March 8th, 2008
Good to know I can get the timer by pressing Select. The first two sessions I ran out of time. Also good to know that I can stop him from walking if I want to. And they're right about the last level. It's pretty tough. I figured it out but I can't necessarily tell you how I did it or if I could do it again. Great puzzler though. Very original. Will never replace Tetris as the most addictive puzzle game ever but certainly the most original title since Tetris.
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