Every once in a while a game comes along and refuses to be hemmed in by conventional descriptions. So when the understated and unique footsteps of echochrome started their ear-catching rapport, there was more than a tingle of curiosity. Now the Walker has arrived with one of the most fiendishly addictive titles around - and it looks certain to leave echoes of puzzling fun for a long time to come.
These boots are made for walking
Despite the sense of mysticism that initially comes with echochrome, the concept is inclusive and immediately engaging. A rotatable 3D maze made out of platforms is placed in front of you, with a blank mannequin called the Walker travelling across it. With the task of getting from its starting position to various points (often in the guise of shimmering stationary versions of the Walker, called echoes) on the maze, you have to twist, spin and otherwise change the screen's perspective to get around holes, dead ends and other obstacles.
The key to defeating such hurdles is mastery of the five laws of visual perspective that govern echochrome - each revolves around the changing of perception:
1. The Law of Perspective Travelling - when two separate pathways appear to be touching, they are.
2. The Law of Perspective Landing - if one pathway appears to be above another, it is.
3. The Law of Perspective Existence - when the gap between two pathways is blocked from view and the pathways appear to be connected, they are.
4. The Law of Perspective Absence - when a hole is blocked from view, it does not exist.
5. The Law of Perspective Jumping - when the Walker jumps, it will land on whatever appears to be beneath it.
"Take a look at me now"
All of these rules form the enjoyment of echochrome's compulsive playability because they're easily relatable concepts. As children, we assume all of these laws apply in the real world (for example closing our eyes and thinking everything has disappeared in the game of peek-a-boo) so echochrome brings back that sense of innocence and fun and ties it with subtle gameplay and puzzle mechanics that everyone can understand.
At the same time, the dozens of levels offer a fantastic challenge that begs for the inclusion of others to try and help out. Do you get the Walker to journey down that path? Should you spin the maze a little bit more to the left? Maybe you're just looking at it all the wrong way and a fresh pair of eyes will push you through. It truly is all relative, and that's the game's greatest strength - a sense of diversity through simplicity. Not to mention the sheer sense of accomplishment when you finally crack a nagging puzzle.
Adding even more longevity and appeal is the ability to create your own levels and challenge friends and family. With the best user created puzzles eventually becoming available as downloadable content on top of the mesmerising nuances that makes it more than the sum of its parts, echochrome has so much more to it than meets the eye... which is absolutely perfect for a game about perspective, really.