Mastered echochrome? Time to try a magical new puzzler to tease your brain…Take your mind on a brain teasing journey with the action puzzles of Echoshift PSP.
Because of their bite-sized nature, puzzle games have always felt custom-built for handheld videogame consoles. Handhelds have housed some of the finest titles that the genre has ever had to offer, and even when it wasn’t the birthplace of the original iteration, the handheld version has almost always ended up being viewed as the definitive one. Few people are aware for example, that the Nintendo Game Boy’s seminal and industry-changing take on Tetris was far from being the very first.
True to form, Sony’s Playstation Portable launched back in 2005 with Q Entertainment’s wondrous Lumines alongside it, but arguably that has continued to remain as the platform’s finest puzzle title. The rise of DLC gaming has meant that many development teams have begun crafting some very fine puzzle games for the home consoles, with the likes of Braid and N+ being two of the very best examples that, whilst both astonishing games, also both felt as if they belonged in your hands during a hefty bus journey.
As it happens, Braid and N+ are two very apt comparisons here, because Sony’s new potential killer-app Echoshift owes a very mild debt to both of them. It resembles the former because it boasts similar mind-bending time-shift gameplay; and the latter’s stark, stripped-down (but extremely appealing) visuals share much with Echoshift’s pristine and minimalist aesthetic.
Your goal here is simple – get from one side of the screen to the other. In your way are a host of switch-blocks, moving objects and crumbling floors, and attempting to complete a level on your first play-through is quite literally impossible. But each one lasts for exactly thirty seconds, and after that you’ll have to start all over again – but the ghost of your previous attempt (and up to ten of your previous attempts before it) will follow his or her exact pattern alongside you. So if you stood on a weight-sensitive switch to open a door in your first play-through, then a ghost will appear and do exactly that in your second – perhaps enabling you to walk through that very same (and now open) door.
Sony’s in-house Japan Studio call this gameplay “self co-op”, and how they toy with this format is absolutely joyous. You are invited to ponder each level before you begin, and before long you’ll end up poring over each one like a Sudoku puzzle. The game encourages investigative trial-and-error, but the hardcore will take a great sense of pride in attempting to solve each puzzle before they even start it.
With 45 utterly devilish levels present on the UMD disc alone, and many more promised in the near future via Playstation Network, this is a pretty faultless package, especially given the extremely appealing price point. If you like puzzle games, you’d be mad to go without it. It already feels like something of a classic.
Watch the Echoshift PSP trailer here…
Are you up for the challenge?