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Joystiq hands-on: echochrome (PSN)


What a difference two buttons can make. We tested a new build of echochrome, and we found the new demo to be even more enjoyable than our last session at TGS. Why, you ask? (Amuse us, if you will.) There are two reasons: the Triangle and X buttons. Granted, they may have been in the Tokyo demonstration, lost to us in our inability to firmly grasp the Japanese language. Regardless, these two new buttons change the overall flow and feel of the game.

A press of Triangle allows you to pause the game action, giving the player time to think, adjust the perspective and find the best route through the level. However, each puzzle is a race against the clock. Time is still ticking, and levels will end if players can't figure out a way to reach the echoes quickly enough. Players will be able to regain some lost time by pressing X, which forces your echo to run faster.

Each puzzle can be approached in a number of different ways. For example, in the level we played, we moved the camera to move our character from one adjacent platform to another. It took us quite some time, as we traversed through the stage in seemingly the longest way possible. The SCEA representative played the same level and cleverly manipulated the middle block, allowing it to connect to any other point in the stage. He was able to cross the echoes in a time that simply shamed our pathetic attempt. We only saw five levels, but we're hopeful that later levels in the game will all feature multiple solutions.

Gallery: echochrome | 22 Photos

Supposedly, the developers want the press to provide feedback on how they can improve the echochrome experience. Immediately, one suggestion came to mind: adjustable camera speeds. Currently, the default speed of the camera is a bit too slow. Making the camera a bit speedier, and a bit more "loose" will help players establish the perspective they think will work. Connecting two platforms together is also a bit tricky, as it requires a strong level of precision. Merging platforms will work better if they more generously "snapped" to each other. Too much time was spent very finely moving the analog stick to get the exact result we wanted. Hopefully, some of these issues will be addressed.

echochrome is shaping up to be one of the most original puzzle games we've seen in ages. Gamers should be excited to see a game so fully embody one of Sony's greatest strengths this generation. No, not high fidelity, high definition graphics. Rather, echochrome is a prime example of the daring, innovative direction that Sony is willing to take with PSN downloadable titles. We can't wait to see how this turns out when it releases early next year.

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