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ECHOCHROME




 
General Description

Echochrome is a game released by JAPAN Studio for the PSP and PlayStation 3, available for both as a download from the PlayStation Network. In it players guide a small mannequin figure and are tasked with navigating it through a series of three-dimensional puzzles based on perspective. Each level is rendered in a simple, clean black and white style and consists of simple blocks, stairways, pits and springs. These four pieces make up every one of the game’s 56 levels, and despite the simplicity the game manages to be one of the most unique titles in recent memory. These levels are often complex mazes of paths and gaps, and the basic mechanics of the game were inspired heavily by the works of M. C. Escher.

Players do not control the mannequin directly. Instead, the only thing the player can do is rotate the level. Players must spin the level in order to take advantage of various perspectives. For example, if the mannequin is walking towards a gap in the path and the player spins the level around so that the gap is blocked by a pillar and can’t be seen the mannequin will walk right along as if there is ground underneath him. If it falls into a pit, the player can spin the level around to catch the mannequin on any part of it. Players must use the rules implemented by the game to navigate the mannequin around each level, collecting the handful of Echoes that are scattered about it to proceed.

Echochrome’s beautiful graphic style and deceptively simple puzzle design make it a strange, unique little mind-bender of a videogame that is at least worth a look. Creativity is the biggest educational pull, here, as the game features a full-featured level editor that players can use to make levels just as complex as those included and share them online with other players.

 
Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
B C
Ratings at a Glance
 
Facts: 1 Title: ECHOCHROME
Creativity: 10 Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.
Business: 0 Developer: Japan Studio
People: 3 Year: 2008
Problem: 8 Genre: Puzzle Solving
Simulation: 0 Strengths: creativity, popularity, problem
Popularity: 8 Platforms: PlayStation 3
PSP
Extra: 1  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts

Echochrome takes a minimalist approach, and doesn’t really contain any content outside of its core puzzle mechanics. It does not focus on classroom facts of any kind.

Creativity & Imagination

By the Gamer:

Though the game reveals a small number of set techniques that are used at any point, each of Echochrome’s levels can still be solved in a number of ways. Players can collect the Echoes on each stage in whatever order they wish, and the order that is chosen will affect the kinds of challenges the player will be faced with.

More impressive is the built-in level editor, with which players can design their own Echochrome levels and share them online with other players. These levels can be designed to be just as complex as any of the levels that the game includes, and the editor is simple and intuitive to use.

By the Developer:

Echochrome is both simple and deep in its design. It sports a truly beautiful graphic design, abandoning the high-resolution HD graphics that most of the industry is focused on and instead adopting a sparse black and white look that is truly striking to the eye. The gameplay itself is just as unique, being both rooted in puzzle games and at the same time being a completely new concept. Inspirations M. C. Escher and Oscar Reutersvard truly show through in the game design, and they leave Echohrome feeling like a truly artful piece of work. This combined with the smooth level-building and -sharing interfaces truly show the creativity of JAPAN Studio.

Business Skills

Echochrome does not feature business skills.

People Skills

Outside of sharing levels with other players, Echochrome does not have the player interacting with any other entities.

Problem Solving

Problem solving in Echochrome revolves around puzzles of perception. Players will have to rotate the game’s maze-like levels to basically create optical illusions (often akin to "impossible" images such as never-ending staircases) that allow the constantly-walking mannequin to find its way to the Echoes scattered about each level. Players can block out gaps and pits, connect otherwise unconnected paths and spin things around to make otherwise impossible jumps. These basic techniques are all that are necessary to complete any level of the game. Each of these levels is made up totally of single cubes, stairways, pits and springs. These things keep the level design simple and comprehensible, and allow the game to quickly move into some seriously challenging territory. Players use the same moves to solve a potentially infinite number of problems as they play.

Simulation

Echochrome is not a simulation game.

Popularity

Echochrome has received generally high review scores since its release, averaging around 80%.

Extra Credit

Every week Echochrome offers players the choice of downloading a set of user-created stages that can be played in their own "playlist" of sorts.

There is also a free demo version of the game available on the PlayStation Network.

Tips

Echochrome received an E from the ESRB.