From the people who brought you echochrome on the PS3 comes echoshift, offering a new way to bend your tiny mind out of shape. echochrome, if you never played it, was a 3D puzzle game based around the idea of optical illusions. It was quite brilliant, but got very very hard very quickly and could probably have even driven M. C. Escher quite mad.

Fortunately for my aching brain, echoshift has a simpler premise and is only based around two dimensions. Your character starts at a door, and has to get to another door before a time limit expires. Even on the first level, though, you’ll realise that it’s impossible to flick the two switches you need to open your path to the exit, and then get to the door before the time expires. Disaster! Except, when the time expires the game winds back to the beginning, and now you are back at the entrance door, along with the “echo” of your last attempt. Now, with the other you repeating your previous actions, it is easy to just stroll across the ledges as they appear and saunter over to the door. You can repeat this as many times as you need to, up until a limit of about 9 echoes. Simple. And it is, at first.

Here’s the thing, though; you aren’t scored by how quickly you get to the exit door, but rather by how few echoes you need to use. This adds a nice level of re-playability as you can go back and attempt to beat a level using less echoes than your first attempt.

It’s only when you get a few levels in and the game introduces more and more concepts that it starts to get difficult. Moving ledges, “Boo”-style enemies that only advance when no-one is looking at them, walls that need to be pushed down, timed doors, fake switches, weighted switches, timed switches and little bumps that shoot you into the air all make an appearance. Like all good puzzle games, it goes from making you feel like a gaming God, at the start, to making you bung your PSP across the room in anger during the later levels.

Aside from just replaying the levels again, the game offers two other modes. One takes the existing levels and adds the extra challenge that now you must also find a (sometimes hidden) key before you can exit the level. The other allows you to press the PSP’s ‘R’ button and freeze time for up to three seconds, in order to try and complete the levels using less echoes.

The game has a nicely relaxed style to it, which helps to offset the furious rage induced by the later levels. The simple line graphics work well and the gently pulsing background is soothing, and adds a splash of extra colour to the otherwise plain looking levels. The sound effects and gentle background music give the game a unique and relaxing sound. Well, unless you’ve played echochrome, which sounds to my ear more or less identical.







One response to “echoshift”

  1. Mark Brown avatar
    Mark Brown

    If only it was pants, then you could say “more like Echo-shit!”

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