Echoes was developed by HalfBrick Studios and released on the PSP on November 11th, 2009. This piece of software is really more like a bonus mode than an actual game.
Neither game has a story, except for a basic explanation of how objects behave in the in-game world. Echoes is just the player moving a shape through different larger shapes and puzzles while grabbing special tokens. The more tokens you get, the more Echoes sound up. Touch an Echo and you lose a life. Lose all lives and you must start the stage over. This game is pretty simple.
Graphically, these games are capable visually; in that everything looks like what it is supposed to look like. You will not confuse a token for an echo in this eponymously named game.
Music fares much better, almost as if the developers knew that visuals were not the key part of the presentation in these games. Echoes has a very nice trance like beat, which reminds this reviewer of many classic shumps like Ikaruga. This is curious as Echoes isn't part of the bullet hell genre or even a shump. It is more like a puzzler.
Sound effects are very minimal, practically non-existent, with slight noises for picking up objects and for when you die. It works just fine for this type of game.
When it comes to gameplay, I practically told of everything these games involve when describing the graphics. Echoes is pretty simple. You must collect a certain number of crystals when avoid the bluish objects called Echoes that spawn each time you grab a Crystal. The more crystals, the more Echoes. Things can get pretty hectic when there are 10+ Echoes on screen. This is when the slowdown button comes in. Your Pacman-like piece moves at a constant speed, which can make maneuvering around Echoes tough, especially in some of the levels' tight corridors. Press the button and your movement slows to a crawl. Handy. There are also random items to help you deal with the Echoes. Heart crystals are extra lives, other crystals destroy all echoes and freeze them for a few seconds.
Another thing to mention is the multitude of game modes. Echoes has different modes for different challenges, ranging from Survival to Limited Time to some other that I can't quite remember. All these modes function just like this sound and are good for variety.
Echoes' challenge naturally rises the further you get in the game, but due to the many extra lives and maneuvering abilities, it is definitely an easier game, perhaps for more casual players. You don't even have to be maneuver perfectly in this game; if you have enough lives, just plow through the Echoes and collect the few remaining crystals. It's a good backup plan and pretty fail-safe if you are having a tough time.
Replay value is limited, aside from the higher difficulties. These increased challenges do depend on the player liking the game though. The gameplay mechanics change, so they are worth playing. Once you finish everything (which I can't see myself doing) it will be a while before you want to pick this game up again.
Echoes is the kind of game that mileage can really vary for different kinds of gamers. I am sure casual players are the main audience for this game, but if veterans are fans of puzzle games, they might enjoy it too. Perhaps more than any game I've seen in a while, these two games may be utter trash to some and brilliant simple fun to others. I'll try and be in the middle.