If there’s anything I love, it’s definitely going to be puzzle games and music. First, puzzle games because they’re just relaxing and quite stimulating, and let’s not forget the fun, challenging, and addictive part. And music? I mean, who can live without music? It’s one of the bigger things in my life, as I’m always listening to music (I lack musical ability, though). There’s just always something to go with whatever mood I happen to be in, and it really helps me focus on work. When you combine both of these, then you have really created something interesting and unique, which is exactly what Echo is, so I had to check it out when I heard about it.
The visuals for Echo follow in the tradition of the flat design that has been popularized with iOS 7, but for this type of game it works extremely well. There is a lot of bright white in the backgrounds, along with vivid, rich colors to represent each note. Animations are smooth, whether they’re fast or slow beats, and overall, the wrapping is a simplistic, visual treat.
Of course, since this is a music game, the sounds are done very well. It’s recommended to use a good pair of earbuds or headphones when playing this game to really enjoy it, because you will want to hear each individual note. There is no soundtrack playing in the background, which is completely understandable, as it would detract from the focus of the game. Regardless, the game sounds are quite delightful, and you need to listen to them to get the full game experience.
The game features 20 different songs (basically chapters) that will consist of five different parts. In order to unlock the next song, you will need to complete all parts of the previous one.
Each part will show you a pattern at the top, and your job is to drag the colored notes into the boxed section on the grid into spots that will match the pattern at the top. You’re able to see whether the notes match up as you move them around, but it’s the figuring out where they go that can be a bit complicated, since different rows affect placement and can mean one note fits into two slots, and notes cannot run into each other, so it’s basically one note per line.
Once you think you have it figured out, tap on the “Play” button in the corner, and you can watch the music play and see if you figured it out — if not, try again. You earn three stars when you solve it in one go, and less stars if you need multiple tries.
When you get to at least the second song, you are able to “remix” the song samples into your own original creation. Your songs can then be performed by soloing or muting it during playback.
I really enjoy this factor of the game, because it allows players to unleash their own creativity, and you don’t necessarily need any musical experience to do so. In fact, the game helps you learn a thing or two about making music, since the game itself is basically like an instrument, where you solve and create musical patterns.
Echo is not competitive at all, as it lacks Game Center and any type of score besides earning stars. I think it would have been pretty neat for players to create and share songs for others to solve via a community of sorts, but that would probably cost quite a bit to have an infrastructure to support it. Just an idea, though.
I’m thoroughly enjoying Echo: The Music Game, as it’s stimulating, relaxing, and things get pretty challenging, especially in later levels. Plus, the visuals are simple and clean, and the sounds are quite beautiful when they combine into full song samples.
If you’re a fan of puzzle games and music, I highly recommend checking out Echo: The Music Game for yourself. You can get it in the iPhone App Store for $0.99.