echochrome ii Review
echochrome challenged players by making them look at their challenges from a different perspective, twisting and turning levels to complete pathways from visual paradoxes for a small guy to pass through. The followup is similar, but instead of manipulating perspectives, you control the light to form shadows to help our little protagonist reach his goal.
echochrome ii fully utilizes the Playstation Move controller, which means no sequel for players who haven’t opted to get one yet. The controller acts as a flashlight, letting you illuminate any part of the level, and in turn manipulate and shape the shadows. Each level is made up of 3D squares, rectangles, and stairs that don’t seem like they would correlate at all. That is, not until you shine your flashlight from the right angle to make the shadows come together and provide a safe passage for the shadowy protagonist to cross.
Sometimes shapes must be put together to form different shapes, such as a rectangle and a circle on top form the goal door. A circle with a hole can be put over a solid object to make your character fall through, a full circle hidden halfway in an object will let your character bounce forward. Each level gets progressively harder and will have you scratching your head with ways to solve it, though much less than its predecessor. Even though there is a five minute time limit, each level can be solved fairly quickly and restarted at any time.
Adding more replay value, each stage in the game has two additional modes to play through besides Escort, which is the main mode of getting your character to goal. Echo relieves you of passing through the goal, but has you reach specified locations on the map, which usually requires different methods and paths than previously taken.
The final mode, Paint, also ditches goals in favor of multiple shadow characters that wander the stage and paint it in a specific color. The goal is to paint a certain percentage of the level in that color by allowing your little guys to step on each part of the level's shadow. While this mode certainly sounds the easiest, having to oversee each one of your little guys when shifting a level can result in them falling off or being squished to death. These extra modes essentially triple the amount of levels in the game, ensuring you’ll have more than enough shadow solving to do.
Some levels also include hidden puzzles when you shift your flashlight just the right way to reveal an image in the shadows, and they provide yet another challenge if you’re determined to collect them all. If you blow through every challenge, and think you’re up to making others struggle with your crazy level designs, the game let’s you sit in the designer's seat and create levels that others can play and rate, much like LittleBigPlanet’s “Play, Create, Share” feature.
echochrome ii might not be the extreme brain bender that its predecessor was, and feels more like an echochrome-lite when comparing the difficulty. The decision to make it strictly Move-enabled is odd, but there is no denying that the game possesses enough challenge and charm for fans and newcomers to give this light-based puzzler a chance.