Review by SneakTheSnake
A fun little arcade-y romp.
Echoes is an enjoyable little game on the Playstation Network. There isnt much to it, and the presentation is a little rough around the edges, but it fits right in with other fun, arcade-like titles for the budget-conscious gamers among us.
The game reminds me a bit of Qix; the object of each level in Echoes is to move around a maze and collect gems. The trick is that, after each gem you pick up, a small copy of yourself begins moving around the maze, at a randomly assigned point. This small copy typically mimics part of your movements, and you can have as many as a dozen little copies of yourself running around the tight corridors of the maze at any given time. There are some power-ups to help you out, like hearts to give you extra lives (should you accidentally run into one of your copies), a pulse shot which blasts away nearby copies (best to use when there are a lot of copies swarming around you) and a time freeze button.
Fortunately, there are several dozen stages in Echoes, and they can each be played in three difficulty levels. The mazes range from everyday objects and shapes like concentcric circles, ampersands to complex patterns, so there is plenty of variety in the stage design. Beyond the linear arcade mode, there are bonus modes which unlock as you play, such as a survival mode, a time trial mode and one called tick-tock, in which you can manually start and stop the movement of your echoes as opposed to having them move automatically. The replay value is there if you dont mind playing through the same campaign several times to play later stages at later difficulties.
Graphics and sound in Echoes are quite nice. The game exudes a sketchbook quality to it; the stages look airbrushed, and the menus and stages exhibit a great deal of color. Each stage boasts a different design and color scheme; it feels sometimes as if ones playing on graffiti. The interface could have used a little work; I would have appreciated a traditional menu screen over having to select stages and options by moving your avatar over to them like one would in the game. However, for its minimalistic style, Echoes is, at the very least, creative. The music is quite techno-heavy, but it never grates.
For quick, arcade action, one cant go wrong with Echoes. The price is right, and the gameplay will hearken players back to the NES days: simple gameplay with some good mechanics to back it up. The games production levels are not very high, and the game is by no means technically impressive, but the gameplay stands well enough on its own. Echoes provides several hours worth of gameplay and is worth a look for those looking for an affordable thrill on the PSN.
Product Release: Halfbrick Echoes (US, 11/19/09)
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