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What Dark Echo do that you should do in your game either

Dark Echo has an elegant approach when we talk about game design. Especially when we focus on how it teaches the player how to play. The first levels are simple but yet keep the player engaged.

Rodrigo Giacobelli, Blogger

March 16, 2017

4 Min Read

I've come across this game about a year ago and it had amazed me since then.

It is a very simple game but its way to teach player are elegant and precise.

Dark Echo is about finding your way out this mysterious place. But you can't see, only hear the noises made by you, creatures and by the stage itself.

So, as the own game tells you: "You can only explore the world through sound".

Every step you take into the game make a noise and then the sound wave propagates into the room revealing the stage outline.

So, as the own game tells you: "You can only explore the world through sound".

Naming the Stage

The own Stage titles guide the player through the game. Like: Blind, Scape, Death and so on.

Every step you take into the game make a noise and then the sound wave propagates into the room revealing the stage outline.

Every time the stage's name gives you a hint of what this level is about and occasionally introduce new mechanics.

In this level called "Fear," the player is face to face with a zombie-ish. The zombie follows your footsteps, so you can run from it or try to avoid it moving slowly but doing this the sound wave doesn't go too much further leaving you with almost no clue about your surroundings.

There is a level called "Deception". When you think you got to the end of the stage a trigger is activated moving a wall that blocks your passage and opens a path with a creature that immediately starts to chase you.

How to introduce new elements


 I also like the way that the game introduces new elements ISOLATED. So it is very easy to understand exactly how everything works.

Let's take a look at the first four levels of the game:

I - Blind: The only thing that the player have to do in this level is to move right. Very simple and this makes sure that the player knows how to move around.

II - Scape: The player now have to choose between some paths, but nothing fancy most of them are just dead ends so there is only one way out. Making this process, step by step ensures that the player learns how to play your game.

III - Death: The level is very like the level II but this time there are this scaring red lines in the way. If the player steps on it, he just dies. Most of the players will not move forward because it sounds like trouble. So your mission is accomplished, the player was introduced to this death traps. 

IV - Fear: This time the game introduces these creatures that follow the player. The level is pretty much the same thing as the last one. A simple maze with some death traps but nothing really challenging. The player just has to get to the end of the level without being caught by the creature.

The minimal use of text also makes this a good game. Simple instructions are given to the player when something new happens. You don't need to create a popup every time that you want to tell something to the player.

The real importance of the sound

And if there are something that I really like about this game are the sound effects. Incredible how the game can make so many things with so simple elements.

The game is totally black I know that, but based on the sound I can tell if I am walking on stone or wood. I also know when the roof is about to collapse in front of me and when I have to run because something is chasing me.

You really have to play with headphones. The 3d positioning of the sound makes the game even better. This creates a new layer of immersion to the game.

Each step, scream, flyes noise, everything just come to reality by these well-crafted effects.

Actually, as the game only gives to the player abstract images, the player can imagine the whole scene by himself. This is a good choice to make in your game if you can't produce the desired models or drawings that you want.

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