Both crime formats and games already exist. Only the combination results in an exciting challenge and is particularly pleasing to those who, when listening, always wish they could slip into the role of the inspector or the court psychologist. Undoubtedly, stories of lying, cheating, or even murder hold a fascination. How did it happen? Why did the perpetrator act in this way and not otherwise? Questions that also need to be answered in the audio mystery games "echoes". The format is new and offers a welcome change from conventional detective games, after all, the game, including picture cards, is expanded to include audio content thanks to the associated app. But is the new game series good and how much fun is solving the criminal cases? We tested it. Here is the field report - of course without spoilers for the content of the stories.
Audio mystery games are not well known because the game principle is new. The format is somewhat reminiscent of "Exit" games. However, it's not about escaping a scenario, it's about deciphering a story. Therefore, players only receive snippets of a longer storyline, which they then have to piece together. The innovative thing about it is that these small parts of the entire story are in the form of audio sequences. To listen to them, players need the free "echoes" app, which can be downloaded quickly and easily.
Once the application has been downloaded, you can start right away. In the app's menu, you can choose between the previously released game titles "The Dancer", "The Cocktail" and "The Microchip". The stories are completely different, so there should be something for every taste. "The Dancer" gives you goosebumps even when you read the short description, because the mysterious death of a young girl who has reported from the afterlife has to be solved.
The game material is manageable, there are 24 picture cards. The level of difficulty varies depending on whether you select "normal" or "easy" in the app. You should be able to play "echoes" with up to six people. We played it in twos and threes. The former worked particularly well because the focus was on the audio content. Of course, the game can also be played with the whole family, the solution could just take a little longer. But that doesn't matter, because there is no time limit and the audio sequences can simply be repeated.
Important: The manufacturer states that the "echoes" app requires at least the iPhone 6s with IOS 12.0 or later. For Android, it needs 7.0 and the system needs to be compatible with Google Play service for VR.
You have to put all six chapters of the story together. Each chapter has object cards that must be assigned to the chapter one by one. It is best to spread out all the maps in front of you and get an overview by holding the smartphone camera on the image of the respective map. Scanning worked quickly and without any problems in the test, so that a short recording in the form of noises, words or music could be heard directly. The audio recordings are of striking quality and it's fun to listen carefully to catch every detail. Then you have to sort in order to complete all chapters in the app's "Solve" mode. It should be said that the three games in the "echoes" series differ from each other, so that not all of them are equally quick or easy to solve. Tip: Pay attention to the smallest details, these can become important during the course of the game when all parts of the story have to be put together.
Whoever solves the riddle at the end and can put the story together gets the full-length radio play as a reward. The game closes all the gaps and the audio sequences make a big whole. It's definitely a pleasure to listen to, because the production is very high quality, it's just a shame that players can't influence the plot. There is exactly one solution. This would be a desirable addition for the future, because being able to intervene in the game and receive individual stories would increase the tension factor.
A clear advantage of the game has to be mentioned: Unlike the related "Exit" games, "echoes" can be reused at any time. The game material remains intact. Those who know the story can easily pass the game on to friends and family.
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