Echochrome 2 Preview
Echochrome remains one of the most unique, ingenious video games out there, as its “perception is real” concept forced one’s brain to function on multiple theoretical levels. For some, it just never clicked. For others, once it did click, it became one of the most engrossing, puzzling and ultimately rewarding experiences out there. However, you can’t expect more of the same with the sequel, as Game Yarouze has overhauled the basic format and altered the inherent challenge; instead of “simple” perception, they’ve instituted a light/shadow premise and controls for the PlayStation Move. In fact, Echochrome 2 is being advertised as a big addition to the Move lineup. That all being said, this doesn’t necessarily mean the game will be any easier…in fact, sitting and staring at the screen for quite some time will be common, so that much hasn’t changed at all.
Instead of a black and white outline, we’ll now get an enhanced visual style and…well, color. The blocks involved in this particular puzzler will be vivid shades of red, blue, green and yellow, which instantly adds a bit of flavor to the presentation. And whereas before, you would rotate the screen around in an effort to find a path for your little stick figure, you’ll now have to deal with the shadows cast by such structures. That’s right, it’s a twist on the previous formula: you will use the Move controller as if it were a flashlight and of course, depending on how you aim the flashlight, the shadows of the stairs and planks will change. You just hold down the Move button and illuminate various parts of the puzzle, which will ideally provide your little man (this time cloaked in shadow) with a safe route. When you think you’re ready, let go of the Move button and your character will start to walk.
Like in the first game, you can make him move faster or slower and this is a good thing, because we know the levels will be much bigger this time around. Also, instead of holes and leaping platforms, we’ll have elevators and warp doors, which should add a considerable amount of fresh depth. The warp doors can be affixed to a flat surface and then used to transport to a different area of the puzzle and instead of catching your clone, you need to reach the exit. Locating the exit will be the first chore on your agenda in each level; you can do this by finding the blue sphere and blue rectangle and forcing their shadows to merge. This will reveal the exit. Once that’s done, it’s a matter of getting your bearings and attempting to create a reliable pathway. Obviously, the difficulty level will ramp up as time goes on; the exit will be more difficult to reach, and the final shadow form you must create on the wall will become more intricate.
You’ll receive a hint as to what that shadow needs to look like, but creating that shadow is the key (in addition to reaching the exit). If you’re feeling extra industrious and imaginative, you can create your own levels and share them with your friends on the Network. You can also save your best performances and share those as well. Remember that while the first title was available on the PSP first and then eventually came to the PSN, this downloadable is strictly for the latter, as Move is a critical piece of the puzzle. Our only concern is the sensitivity of the Move controller, which may or may not cause problems with Echochrome 2, depending on time factors, steadiness of player hand, and level design. Other than that, though, we just can’t wait to fry our brains again in an attempt to conquer highly challenging situations. The game should be ready to go for the holidays.
10/12/2010 Ben Dutka