The concept of Dark Echo is puzzling. Not just because it falls into the puzzle game genre, but because it can evoke so much fear and exhilaration purely through the means of bouncing white, red, blue and yellow lines. The terror you will feel isn’t the sort to leave you screaming, but will most definitely leave you with nightmares.
Platform Used For Dark Echo Review: iPad 2
Developer: RAC7 Games
RAC7 Games have managed to turn something so minimalistic into an experience anyone can get into and appreciate.
At the time of this review (20/03/2015), Dark Echo was featured on the Apple App Store for free, but at a regular price tag of around $2.50AUD, your hard earned app money will be much better spent here than on IAPs for most other games.
Onto the Game
Having given credit where credit’s due, let’s move on to what Dark Echo will task you with.
Appearing as a disembodied pair of white shoes in a sea of endless darkness, you must blindly tread your way through a maze of corridors, monsters and traps using the sound of your own footfall as a guide.
Sounds produced from the soles of these shoes with no owner will materialise in the form of white lines that bounce back and forth off walls, displaying the general layout of your surroundings. Holding your finger down for a period of time will cause your character to stomp one of these possessed shoes, emitting a much louder sound sending white lines out from around you that linger for longer and reach a greater distance. By tapping in the direction you wish to move in a quick succession, your character will effectively ‘sneak’ along, causing minimal sound waves. This allows you to bypass monsters without being caught but at the same time emits smaller white lines that increase the difficulty of successfully navigating through the dark.
Hazards and monsters lie in wait for the unsuspecting shoes in the form of red lines. Stationary red lines indicate a hazard that will result in your death if walked into, whereas apparent circles of red lines represent monsters that will chase you if too much sound is emitted from your being. If you are caught by one of these monsters, your death will be preceded by a scream that I can only guess resounds from the spiritual being who inhabits the shoes you are fated to control.
Other such coloured lines feature throughout your adventure in the form of blue, which convey areas of water that slow you down and prevent sneaking; and yellow, that of which represent ‘keys’ to unlock inaccessible areas of the level.
To begin with you will be led through a series of levels that efficiently explain the mechanics of Dark Echo. These ‘tutorial’ style levels will be extremely forgiving compared to those you will eventually progress to. So watch out when you start to conquer more and more levels. The best is yet to come.