TGS '07: Echochrome Hands-On

This attractively minimalist, spatially oriented puzzle game threw us for a loop when we tried it at Sony's booth.

TOKYO--Sony briefly unveiled an interesting new puzzle game called Echochrome at E3 back in July, and today at Sony's Tokyo Game Show booth, we got to try a quick demo of the game for ourselves. If you haven't seen Echochrome yet, each stage of this unique puzzler consists of geometric shapes--mostly lengthy volumetric cylinders and rectangular blocks--that form walkways that a little humanoid figure must traverse. Each level is fraught with obstacles such as gaps in the walkways, holes that your little figure can fall through, and jump pads that will launch the poor thing off into the white ether.

The trick here is that the path through the course is all about the perspective from which you're looking at it. The philosophy in Echochrome says that down is up and up is down, and a corollary is that if you can't see it, it isn't there. For instance, if there's a gap between two walkways, rotate the level such that one of the vertical columns is covering up the gap, and then, as far as the game is concerned, the gap is no longer there. If you use a column to similarly cover up a hole in the walkway, then there is no hole. Or if you've got a hole under which there's nothing but blank space, you can rotate the level so the hole is above another walkway rather than below it, and your little figure will fall onto that second walkway. (We know this sounds crazy.) Everything is relative in Echochrome, and you have to think in a unique way to get a handle on how it all works.

The single-level demo on the TGS show floor is extremely brief--you can finish it in about 60 seconds if you know what to do--but it gave a good sample of how the final game will work. Basically, you can play this game solely with one analog stick (used to rotate the levels around in all directions), which explains how it will be easily playable on both the PlayStation 3 and the PSP. Furthermore, the graphics are so spartan--the little humanoid is featureless and the levels are simply line-drawn against a solid white background--that it should be able to look and run identically on both platforms.

The most interesting aspect of Echochrome that came out of our hands-on time is the urgency you feel while playing it, given that you can't control when your little person starts and stops moving. It begins walking as soon as the level starts, so you have to think and act on your feet to make sure it doesn't fall through a hole or off a ledge. We're curious to see more of Echochrome because the basic mechanics are so unique and mind-bending; the lasting appeal of the game will come from the number of levels in the game and the level of ingenuity in their design.

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Discussion

43 comments
astex
astex

thats fun that game

greater_bird
greater_bird

Sounds great, and a bit Lemmings-like with the 'little person starts walking and you have to hustle to save them from themselves' gameplay. I wonder if it'll manage the same infectious playability.

bihboy69
bihboy69

"if i cant see you, you cant see me" *puts hands over eyes*

tonka_92
tonka_92

I am fair gointa get this when it arrives on PSN, added to my wish list ;)

Myriam_D
Myriam_D

Are you certain this doesn't count as 4d? Hmm, it even seems a twisted variation of 2d X 3d = 6d squared? lol Anywho, weird and interesting and I only have a psp out of the two so good thing for this! So weird!

Forelli_Boy
Forelli_Boy

A logic-puzzle game that works on the principle of "if I can't see it, it's not there!" That's a logic twister in itself and I'm not counting the dimensional twisters. Still no 4D though, lawl.

maic
maic

this looks so sweet :) finally a good game for the PS3 not about guns & explosions and without a single car in sight :P having said that, i love my fair share of explosions & guns, with a thin slice of cars with it, but enough is enough, gives us something to feed the brain :D can

C-Himura
C-Himura

However thought of this game is a genius! Kind of makes me wonder if his ideas move through loops and jumps? I think the whole "if you don't see it, then its not there" mechanic is pretty appealing. I love these original titles, it helps show that there is still so much untapped things in the video game industry, or any industry for that matter.

jkdeadite
jkdeadite

Wow. I can't wait. I think I HAVE to get a PS3 now.

Tebbit
Tebbit

This already exists, it's a little tech demo called OLE Coordinate System, which has all the basic principles, so try that out, a la demo. It's really cool. Therefore by association, Echochrome is cooool!

Shinedown220
Shinedown220

definitly looking cool. Sony is doing a great job with creating unique games to download off of PSN.

allmybase
allmybase

I can only imagine how much of a headache the level design must have been at times for this game. But by the sound of it, this game sounds like quite the gem. Every time you think you've seen everything in the puzzle game genre, a game like this pops up and reminds you that there's still some life in it. I bet that if MC Escher had been a game designer, though, this would be the game that he would have made.

mexisnake
mexisnake

I love these kinds of games, cant wait to get it. Anyone remember Intelligent Qube for the PS1? This game reminds me of that.

Grouchu
Grouchu

This game is going to be hot.

rogerjak
rogerjak

Seems to be challenging...and fun

XanderZane
XanderZane

I will definitely get this for my PSP. I love puzzle type games like these. Not sure why anyone would get it for the PS3. It seems a little out of place on a system that powerful. Maybe as a downloadable game it would be ok. I can't see anyone paying $60 or even $50 for this game. $29.99 on PSP would be perfect.

merch
merch

i like this game its nice

SonyGameHolder7
SonyGameHolder7

sounds pretty good, i hope it's not too expensive and has a lot of levels, it will be a PSN killer app

lionelchu
lionelchu

i think if they put this as an arcade game inside of home. it will boost the anticipation for home a lot. but this game seems very interesting. can't wait!

soldjango
soldjango

This game is crazy, and I must have it once I get a ps3

mr_gouda
mr_gouda

This game looks like it came straight from an MC Esher painting. Which is totally awesome!

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

I like these type of unique games that Sony allows on their hardware.

JLuke360
JLuke360

So simple, yet so complex.

Willy105
Willy105

Now THIS is a game, peoples!

snipe2004
snipe2004

this is a very interesting and unque puzzle that got me interested

kyrieee
kyrieee

This is a free PC game

canana
canana

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

EmperorSupreme
EmperorSupreme

PS3 is getting some really awesome games. I like how Sony is bringing unique experiences like Pain, Little Big Planet, Echochrome, Flow, etc to PS3 fans.

LuminosityBlaze
LuminosityBlaze

Very interesting game, even it is bare-bone. Want to play this one...

wdave92
wdave92

wow this is a true jem for the ps3

mad_tyger
mad_tyger

This looks like it could be good.

Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest

I wish they'd add some color or at least some variety in how the levels look...

s0njas0n
s0njas0n

i like puzzle games, i'm sure i will be getting it. it looks innovative and fun.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

softymcsoft
softymcsoft

I'll probably end up getting this one, love these new puzzle games.