Reviews: The PlayStation Rubik's Cube
Echochrome for PS3 and PSP is that simple-looking, yet sophisticated-thinking puzzle game that seemed like such a fresh concept when it was announced at E3 2007. Inspired by the famous M.C. Escher paintings, the game has players rotate black-and-white labyrinth levels in order to help its automatically-moving mannequin character to the various goals. Almost nine months after being unveiled, the game finally debuts on for $9.99, which seems like a high price for a colorless brainteaser. However, this one's worth it if you're into an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a console.
Proving that graphics aren't everything, Sony's JAPAN Studio had a minimalist design in mind when creating Echochrome. Just about everything's white except for the black outline of the architecture and your monochrome figure. In addition to seeing a lot of connected beam-like platforms to walk across and stairs to walk up and down, white circles you use to jump and black pits you use to fall also adorn most levels. By rotating the camera, it's possible to jump up onto a beam that seemed to be below you from a different angle. Likewise, it's possible to fall onto a platform below you when it was above you a second ago.
The concept of Echochrome will blow your mind the first time you walk past a gap by covering it up with another platform. So, besides using obstacles to your advantage, you can also make them disappear if they get in the way. Don't want to fall down a pit that's between you and a goal? Make it vanish from sight by rotating the camera and placing it behind one of the labyrinth's vertical beams. Luckily, whenever these sort of puzzles have you stumped, your always-moving forward mannequin has an inaction state called ?thinking? that's a triangle press away. There's also no game over if your character jumps or falls off the face of the labyrinth if you make a mistake. You don't have to begin the level from the beginning.
Echochrome may be an endless wonder thanks to its create-a-labyrinth mode called canvas. Here, you're given access to the game's half-a-dozen tools, which you use to envision your own reality-bending level designs. Also, in addition to playing the developer's gallery of 56 pre-built levels (all of which are different on PS3 and PSP), you can try out other people's concepts and have them test out your portfolio.