echochrome - game review

Date: 2008-10-15 11:13:00
The review was based on the PSP version.

Maurits Cornelis Escher - a genius, a great visionary, or maybe a highly talented artist? Let everyone answer this question for himself, having previously read the biography of a man whose works still inspire and take your breath away. A man who saw the world differently and showed it in an unusual way on paper. If it weren't for him, the echochrome game would never have been created. Yes, yes, my dear ones - it was not the Sony team that first came up with the brilliant idea of creating an alternative reality. That's what Maurits did. Nevertheless, praise to "Soniacz" that they decided to use it in the game.

Here is one of the crazy stages. But there are also more confusing, oh they are ...

The echochrome plot… Okay, I was kidding. In the game you will not find even half a kilobyte of unnecessary text, large, sad eyes straight from the Land of the Rising Sun or flashy cut-scenes about brave heroes and other crap. Even though I do not want to, I have to make use of this statement ... echochrome is as simple as the construction of a flail, both in its assumptions and in implementation. And enough. This can be seen literally at every step. We enter the menu, we see a few inscriptions, a monochrome background and possibly - if we had a great idea to bring a copy from the Far East and not wait for the European premiere - some bushes. We run the selected game mode. We see blocks with black contours, a couple of puppets and… that's all. Something miserable is the first impression, isn't it? If someone just broke off the moon and no reports of echochrome even hit his ears, he might even think that the seller made him a bullshit by pushing a poor flash game for heavy money. Fortunately, a moment is enough to fall in love with the title.

The echochrome spine is the so-called "Impossible figures". Yes, yes, I know - it sounds… um, impossible. In practice, however, the use of these "impossible figures" in the game is very easy to understand. I will explain this with a simple and maybe even overly real-life example. Suppose it is a beautiful, sunny morning, the sun warms you until you can't bear it. We lie on the terrace, sipping a drink and just look at the street. What do we suddenly notice? Oh, so be it - a naked girl with long blonde hair. Although it is known that in such a situation the guy's mind switches to a completely different mode, we see something else besides the lady. Specifically - a sewage well. Without the lid, because someone had whistled it last night and pushed it in a scrap yard. Worse, the girl with the latest Cosmopolitan number in her hand presses straight into the open well, not expecting what awaits her. We shout and gesticulate, but the chick neither hears nor notices us. After a short while a tragedy occurs, after an hour or two an ambulance arrives and the guilty party is not found.

And could the finale of the whole event be different, if not the average Kowalski was lying on the deckchair, but Escher? Absolutely. Following Maurits' line of reasoning, it would be enough to tilt your head slightly to the side and cover the well with any element of the environment, for example a nearby lantern, and the lady would safely pass on. What we cannot see does not really exist. In the above-described case, it would be the unfortunate well. It was this alternative reality that Escher tried to create through his works. I hope that everything is clear now about the "impossible figures".

What can I figure out ... A few steps up, nozzle on the left ... Oh, I have!

echochrome is - practically speaking - a simplified tracing of the above situation. The fun is interesting because we do not control any character, but only rotate the camera with an analog. We also use the button responsible for stopping time relatively often. And basically this is where the role of the player ends. However, it soon turns out that the game itself is much more complicated than its rules. The main obstacle in achieving the goal - that is, meeting all encountered characters in a specific order and as short a time as possible - are not the gaps between the blocks (the puppets return when they reach the edge), but the white or black circles. The latter is easiest to compare to the aforementioned sewer gully. If one of the puppets steps on the black circle, it loses ground and - unless we react in time by properly rotating the camera so that it falls onto a block - it will reappear in a randomly selected place on the three-dimensional board. The white circles, on the other hand, work in the opposite way to the black ones. Oh, miniature springboards.

It is true that you can't lose, but the later stages can make you dizzy. Imagine that almost ten people are walking everywhere and we can only rotate the camera and freeze time. And nothing more! Fortunately, the initial stages are a kind of instructional tasks, so that even a complete layman in the subject of logical games will get to know what echochrome is about. At the same time, it is one thing to understand the rules and understand the rules governing the game, and to use the camera well in these more difficult stages is another.

I admit without hitting that I had huge problems with completing a number of tasks, and I still had not finished some of them. So it's not a game for everyone. You have to be patient. And that's a lot of patience, because sometimes echochrome can piss you off. It is also not, in my opinion, a short game. For a prosaic reason - in contact with this title, the player's sense of perception is constantly working at top speed, so it is rather difficult to play echochrome, for example in a bus, where the engine whine and general noise prevent concentration. It is definitely better to strain your mind, and at the same time provide yourself with really great entertainment in the privacy of your home, under a warm duvet.

These types of boards, where there are bunches of manholes and trampolines, are a real challenge even for the best ...

The game was divided into two modes: infinite and box, with the same rules in both. The difference is that in infinite the computer draws the board for us, while in the box we can choose it ourselves. The division of the game in Exit was resolved in a very similar way. There is also a simple stage editor - canvas. Unfortunately, ready-made projects can only be sent via ad hoc network mode. If the infrastructure were also made available to players, there would certainly be a lot of new challenges on the Internet in the blink of an eye. Interestingly, PS3 owners have been given the opportunity to exchange their original boards globally ...

Everyone can see what the graphic design is like. In times of superb shaders, bump mappings and other quirks, it's hard to praise the visual side of echochrome . However, it cannot be criticized either - it has its own unique style, so many people will surely like it. Similarly, classical music playing in the background. I am more than sure that the different nature of the soundtrack just would not fit here.

Maurits Cornelis Escher - you did a great job! The Sony team, of course, also. echochrome is a really successful puzzle game that was really worth waiting for. So why is the final rating far from the highest? Well, even though the idea has been realized almost perfectly, there are games that are more addictive and longer lasting. But for a combination of business and pleasure, it is really good!

Szymon "SirGoldi" Błaszczyk