These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.
It's dark. Pitch blackness, all around you. You can't see anything. You take a step.
It's deafening. You hear the sound travel through a long hallway, and come back to you. You hear it bounce off the — concrete? — walls, and come back to you. You take another step. You hear something — you're not sure what — moving toward you. It's chasing you. You can't see it. You run.
You're playing Dark Echo, a cleverly-designed minimalist horror game by RAC7 Games. The game works on one premise: Sound is everything. You, the player, are represented on the screen by a small pair of white footprints. As you move through the pitch black world (by tapping), you make noise, which is represented by white lines radiating from your footprints. The noise-lines bounce off of things — walls, water, doors...and, of course, evil things that lurk in the darkness — to give you a better visual understanding of your surroundings.
Aside from your footprints, lines represent everything in Dark Echo. Your footprints on the floor create white lines, while water is represented by blue lines. Locked doors radiate yellow lines, while exit doors (the goal of each level) flares off thick white lines. The things that chase you, that want to kill you — those are the red lines.
Intrigued? You should be. Dark Echo is one of the most creative mobile games I've ever played. But "creativity in execution" isn't the only reason you should give this title a look.
The soundtrack is excellent: Visually, Dark Echo is extremely basic to the point of being a little dull. I mean, it's just footprints and lines. As you play the game, you'll start to "see" things that aren't there (e.g. the walls and the shapes of the rooms you're in), but visually stunning, this game is not.
The soundtrack, on the other hand, is incredible. While this game isn't actually pure audio — you can't play it properly if you're legitimately blind — the soundtrack does an excellent job of bringing you into the world of Dark Echo, as it syncs up with the limited visuals until you feel like you're actually in pitch blackness and you have to rely on your ears to find your way around. When you're not moving, the soundtrack offers up just enough creepy horror sound effects (dripping water, howling winds) to keep you sufficiently on your toes; when you are moving, the soundtrack is what pushes you to the edge of your seat. Who knew footsteps on concrete could be so deafeningly loud? "Shut up, shut up, shut up," was the mantra running through my head as I played this game.
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