944th played so far

Genre: Puzzle
Platform: Playstation 3/Playstation Portable
Year of Release: 2008
Developer: Game Yarouze/SCE Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

After Art Style: Intersect a few days ago, we’re now covering another minimalist, black and white puzzle game. This time, if the timings were reversed, I’d say it looks like a knock off of Monument Valley with an even more stripped down aesthetic. There are a lot of Escher-like perspective trikcs that I’ll have to work with here.

Our Thoughts

One of the core gameplay elements of Monument Valley was that of rotating the world and create visual illusions to make it seem paths line up – when it looks like you can walk from one to the other, you can. Echochrome trades on this same illusion, having to create a visual line up or hiding your join behind a pillar so your autonomously walking main character will cross the paths. You can rotate the level and move your camera however you want, but you have very little control over the actual area. All you have to work with is how you can change the perspective.

So you try to hide your gaps behind other platforms and connect walkways where you can to get different goals done – having two characters meet each other, have your character reach specific places and so on, avoiding enemies in certain cases. It’s a nice experience, not quite zen, but the minimal black and white line art and walking mannequins really focus you on the puzzles. The one thing that lets it down is that it’s incredibly fiddly. You’re not just lining up walkways, you have to hit the exact right spot – and there’s an angle it’ll just skip over so you can’t ever line it up. Because it felt this unintuitive, it felt like the game got in the way to be annoying rather than because I didn’t see the solution. It gets in the way of the toy aspect of playing around with the world. It’s a shame as it got that bit too frustrating.

Final Thoughts

There is something quite fun about Echochrome – the presentation is good, the idea is fun (and got copied plenty) and there is a good amount of variety in the puzzles. However, the controls are off enough that I struggled to finish things when I felt I fairly should have gotten it. The rules aren’t clear and that is not a good thing to get to in a puzzle game.