March 11, 2008
Echochrome PSP Demo Hands-On
Last week the demo for the M.C. Escher-like Echochrome was released over the Japanese PlayStation Network. Always a fan of unique games, we downloaded the PSP version to see what all the fuss was about. After the very small download (approximately 4MB) and a few screens covered in Kanji, the main menu had some simple English alongside the Japanese text, so it was extremely easy to play.
The demo only had a handful of levels, but this was the perfect amount to show off the game's capabilities and basic premise. The game is basically a puzzle-based title, putting you in control of rotating and moving a wire-model of a level in 3D-space to guide a small puppet to his goal or to collect small dark characters. In essence, what the camera view shows is used as the perceived truth within the world itself, so when you move the wire-model level, you have to block gaps in the world by rotating the camera to put a pillar in the way, for example. Also, you have to move them to make a hole in the ground lead to a platform so your little puppet has somewhere to land.
The graphics are fairly basic, but they are clean and clear. However, a lot of jaggies were present in this demo, which is not good considering it's barely pushing the PSP's technical grunt. On the plus side though, the violin-based soundtrack suits the game and is extremely enjoyable. The sound effects were also pretty unique and worked well in the game's bizarre universe.
Overall, this demo was a perfect little taster into the world of Echochrome and was a great way to introduce the concept in a playable form to gamers. If the anti-aliasing can be sorted out before release, then we are looking at something very special here that introduces a certain freshness to the puzzle genre of old.
Echochrome is set for release on March 19, 2008 within Japan. No release date has been set for North America or Europe (although the game appears to be extremely import friendly). To download the demo and give the game a try on your own simple follow these instructions.