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Echochrome Review

August 3, 2008

Echochrome is a puzzle game developed Sony’s Japan Studio. The game was inspired by the famous artwork of M.C Escher and it is one of the most unique games around.


Like most downloadable games nowadays Echochrome has no story, at all. Of course trying to fit a coherent story around it would be impossible.


Echochrome is a game that is all about the gameplay. Like i said earlier the game is based off M.C Escher’s famous artwork with the steps. Each level in Echochrome has the player collecting “Echos” that appear and disappear as you collect them. Now here comes the puzzle part. The echos are on different platforms and the player must manipulate the camera to change reality. For example lets say there is a straight platform, a gap, another platform across from it and a vertical platform around. Moving the camera just right you can move the vertical platform to cover the gap, and volla! no more gap. The concept and execution is kind of hard to explain so to really get it watch the video above. There are 5 laws in the game, the one i tried to explain above Perspective Existence. The other 4 include Perspective Landing, Traveling, Absence, and Jump. Every level basically uses all 5 laws in order for you to pass.

Speaking of levels Echochrome initially started with 56 levels. Since its released Sony has released map packs that include the best of the user generated levels and around 20 of these levels has been put into the game. Echochrome contains a level Creator so you can make your own levels. The level Creator is known as the canvas and it allows you to build a level in anyway shape and form you want. You choose where the blocks are, holes, gaps, echos etc are and it really gives you the power the developers had.

Along side the canvas mode there is also the Atelier mode. This is where the 56 levels of the game are kept. They are sorted into 7 rows known by the letters A-G with each row containing 8 levels. The levels generally increase in difficulty as you progress in each row and move onto other rows. There are of course exceptions and you do not need to play them in any particular order. However like i said the later rows are much harder than the earlier ones so it pays to go in order. You can choose to do individual levels one at a time or do an entire row at once, gaining a score for doing it all in one shot. When i say score i mean time. There is no point system in the game, you are merely trying to beat the level as fast as you can. Constant throughout all the levels but hidden is a timer. This timer counts down from 5 minutes which means you have 5 minutes max to complete the level. This is never made clear in the tutorial and it is easy to forget that there is a time limit.
The last of the modes if Freeform. This is where the user generated levels are kept and unlike Altelier, it is not given in a row form. You merely go through the levels, with the ability to skip them as you like. You can choose the difficulty of the levels and when playing a level, it will tell you the name of the level, the person who made it and the country they live in. There is also an Etc option where the tutorial, game tips, options and credits are stored.


Similar to the styles of PixelJunk Monsters and Everyday Shooter, Echochrome is not meant to be a visual powerhouse. Instead the developers chose to give the game a unique art style and it shows in the simplistic design. However it works well for the game and it would be hard to see this game as a 3D power house. The audio sounds like it was taken out of a 5 Star hotel. It is a soothing violin design that adds a sense of class to the game. Which makes sense since it can be pretty hard. It can get a bit irritating after awhile but in short bursts its fine. Its not like blasting the latest rock or rap song will work any better with the game.


Echochrome is a unique and challenging puzzle game. It is filled with levels, both official and user generated that will last you awhile. Its quirky, entertaining and will make your brain hurt on some levels. It definitely takes some out of the box thinking and i encourage people to try it.



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