|Developer(s)||Game Yarouze, Japan Studio|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
Echochrome (stylized as echochrome), released in Japan as Mugen Kairō (無限回廊), is a puzzle game created by Sony's JAPAN Studio and Game Yarouze, which is available for PlayStation 3 from the PlayStation Store and for PlayStation Portable (PSP) on either UMD or from the PlayStation Store. Gameplay involves a mannequin figure traversing a rotatable world where physics and reality depend on perspective. The world is occupied by Oscar Reutersvärd's impossible constructions. This concept is inspired by M. C. Escher's artwork, such as "Relativity". The game is based on the Object Locative Environment Coordinate System developed by Jun Fujiki—an engine that determines what is occurring based on the camera's perspective.
The game was first announced at E3 2007. The game was released in Japan on March 19, 2008 on UMD and for download on the PlayStation Store with a demo released on the Japanese PlayStation Network on March 6, 2008. The North American release of Echochrome is only available on the PlayStation Network. A demo was released in North America on April 24, 2008. It was followed by the full version on May 1, 2008. Updates that rotate the set of user created levels occur periodically.
The Asian versions of the game were released on UMD and contain 96 levels. There is also an African version on the way. North American versions are available only by download, and contain 56 levels. The game was released as a UMD in Europe on July 4, 2008, with 315 levels. It was then released as a download in Europe, with 56 levels, on July 10, which was dubbed Echochrome Micro (echochrome micro). Echochrome is also a playable arcade mini-game in the Bowling Alley/Game Space of PlayStation Home.
PlayStation 3 Trophies were made available for the console version in North America via a patch on December 11, 2008, which features 10 trophies. It includes 2 gold trophies, 1 silver trophy, and 7 bronze trophies. Europe and Japan have now received the trophy patch. A sequel to the game, Echochrome II, was released for the PlayStation 3 utilizing the PlayStation Move in December 2010. A spinoff was released on the PlayStation Portable in 2009 titled Echoshift.
Echochrome requires the player to control a moving character—which resembles an articulated wooden artist's mannequin—to visit, in any order, particular locations on the surfaces of collections of three-dimensional shapes. The locations to be visited are marked by shadows ("echoes") of the moving character. When the last marked position has been visited, one further echo appears which must be reached in order to complete the level: scoring is simply a matter of timing completion of each level (or a course containing several levels).
However, the character cannot be directly controlled by the player: it moves autonomously, following a path along the surface of each shape in a manner which keeps the path's boundary on the character's left (that is, in order of preference, turning left, proceeding straight ahead, turning right, or turning back on itself).
The unique aspect of the game is that the path can be altered merely by rotating the shapes and viewing them from a different perspective: for instance if a gap or obstacle is obscured, the character will behave as if the path continues behind the object which currently obscures the gap or obstacle from view. Similarly, if discontinuous shapes or parts of the same shape appear, from the chosen camera angle, to form a continuous path, the character will traverse from one to the other.
Although the character cannot step off the surface of a shape, there are certain points where it may hop off or fall. It then falls downwards to whatever appears to be below it, or off the bottom of the screen to be rematerialized at a previous position. This behaviour forms one of the most compelling aspects of the game because the player must deliberately interpret the three dimensional world as if it were two dimensional in order to determine where the character will land.
The music of Echochrome was composed by Hideki Sakamoto at the Tokyo-based sound design company Noisycroak. Most songs on the game score consist of a string quartet including two violins, a viola and a cello. However, three tracks include operatic vocals by singer Rumiko Kitazono. These are the opening themes to the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 versions of the game, plus an additional theme that is unique to the soundtrack album.
Team Entertainment published the original soundtrack to Echochrome (無限回廊 オリジナルサウンドトラック) on May 21, 2008 under the catalog number KDSD-00209. The performers included Hitoshi Konno (1st violin), Nagisa Kiriyama (2nd violin), Kazuo Watanabe (viola) and Ayano Kasahara (cello). The composer had originally considered naming the game's individual tracks after philosophical terminology to match the title's abstract qualities, but later decided to use prime numbers so as not to color the songs with subjective interpretations.
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