echochrome: no end in sight

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Hello again, PlayStation.Blog Readers!

If you haven’t already downloaded echochrome (it went live during Thursday’s Store update), you’ve got 56 brain-busting, perspective-spinning puzzles ahead of you. If anyone out there has already managed to clear all the levels, these people are looking for you. Still, you’ve hardly seen all echochrome has to offer. Aside from *another* 56 levels to be found in the other version of echochrome (both the PS3 and PSP editions contain unique level sets), you can also play the best levels your fellow gamers have created.

When you boot up the PS3 version of the game and sign in online, you may be prompted to download new content. These new, free updates contain the top user-created levels, hand-selected by the developers themselves. There will be new levels available on a regular basis, but they will only be available to play until the next group of levels is up. So be sure to check in regularly for more content – or you may miss out!

Additional levels will appear at random in freeform mode. Remember that in freeform mode, levels that have not been cleared are selected first.

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Now, if you want to see if you have what it takes to create a custom level that might be good enough to get picked by the developer for distribution to PS3 owners everywhere (or if you just want to mess around and see what kind of crazy creation you can make), then keep reading.

To start your own custom level from scratch, go to the main menu and select “canvas.” You’ll start off on a blank canvas, and your builder icon will appear as a red box in the middle. Use the thumbsticks to rotate the camera (and R1 button to go faster), just like the game itself. Move the cursor with the d-pad on a 2D plane (up/down, left/right) based on where the camera is looking (rotate the camera to move in a different direction), and use the X button to put pieces down. If you want to erase a piece, use the O button. A handy feature is the Square button, which will jump the cursor to the closest built area.

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You start off with the default path piece selected. To change to different pieces, such as stairs, holes, fans (jump pads), echoes, and the start point (mannequin character), press Triangle, select with left and right on the d-pad, and X when you are at the piece you want to use. Pressing the O button while the selection menu is open will cancel and back you out to the piece you were just using.

Every level has to have 3 things: a start, pathways, and a goal. The mannequin piece acts as the starting point for the level. You can build pathways with as many gaps, obstacles, and bends as you like. The goal is to reach the echoes, or shadow guides. These are like markers that you have to guide the mannequin to. So you’ll need at least one of these. You can place up to four echoes anywhere in the environment, while the fifth and final echo will always appear exactly where you place the mannequin character.

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Before you can do anything else with the level, you will have to make sure it can actually be cleared or completed. So open the pause menu and select “test play.” This will let you attempt to get through your own creation to see if it can actually be completed. If it can be cleared, you will be prompted to save it. You can also add a name to your level from “title” in the pause menu.

Now, if you’re not feeling very creative right off the bat, and want some help getting started, you can go to the gallery, where all the pre-made levels that shipped with the game are, and press the Triangle button on one of them. This will copy it over to your portfolio, where you can edit it all you like to make it more challenging, easier, whatever.

Once you create a level and successfully test it, you’re ready to send it off. To do this, go to the portfolio menu and select the stage you want to send by pressing the X button. In the PSP version, you can select the “send” option, which will let you send the level to someone over Ad Hoc. If you’re playing the PS3 version, you’ll have two options. One is “send” which lets you enter the PSN username of the person you want to send the level to. The other option, “upload,” allows you to send the level to the developers. And if they really like your level, it may be distributed to everyone with the PS3 version of the game! Pretty cool, huh?

The game can get pretty challenging on the bigger, more complex levels. To help you out, if you go to the “etc.” option from the main menu, there’s a tip section with useful bits of information. There are other hidden secrets and advanced techniques waiting to be found in echochrome. What have you figured out so far?

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