It was only recently that Sony announced the concept of PSP Minis -
basically smaller games at smaller prices that hopefully don't
compromise too much on fun. Echoes PSP is a one of the newest games and
is now appearing in the Minis section of the Playstation Store. It was
developed by Halfbrick, a Brisbane outfit and it's a game that tries to
fit into the rapidly crowding casual game-space. The story is simple - a
girl called Charlie who needs to collect crystals through increasingly
The story is not particularly necessary
with negligible references to it within the actual game. Each brightly
rendered level, viewed from overhead, has a set number of crystals that
need to to be collected before advancing to the next. As you collect a
crystal, an echo appears at your previous location and traces your
previous path and these moving echoes need to be avoided as you traverse
around the level.
As you collect more crystals, the echoes
start start mounting up and require dexterity and patience to avoid.
Before long, you need to think strategy, planning where you move as
soon, an echo will be moving along the same path in the near future. To
add to the variety, there are different gems eg to freeze time and to
emit a chain-reacting pulse to destroy echoes.
There are a multitude of different modes. Arcade requires you to just go
through the levels in the normal way, collecting enough crystals each
level to advance to the next. Autosave means that you never need to go
through the same completed level again. I believe that one should finish
the Arcade levels pretty quickly though. Jackpot requires you to rush
through to collect as many crystals as you can within a set time limit,
the more crystals you get without hitting an echo, the more points you
Survival is similar but you collect pulse
crystals that destroy echoes and each destroyed echo gives you a little
more time - the objective is to survive as long as possible by
constantly destroying echoes. My favourite is Clockwork, where the
echoes are stationary and you control the echoes movement by pressing
the LR shoulder buttons. This mode, for me, seems to be the most
strategic and the most rewarding.
With the multitude of modes and levels, Echoes is a simple, rewarding
casual game and hence doesn't require hours of dedication. It has enough
to keep players happy for a short time, but after a while, the levels do
seem to be overly similar to each other with the different gems and
different shapes of levels not providing enough variety.
This may mean that as an attention keeper,
Echoes may have difficulty but as I have oft repeated, as a casual game,
Echoes succeeds. It is a fun, rewarding game, perfect for the train or
bus and at just a handful of dollars, is worthy of your consideration.