Echoes: The Microchip is the latest in the Echoes series of games. These games use sounds and sonic clues to help guide you through a mystery and/or story. These games are “one-and-done”: once you have solved them, you probably won’t play them again since you know the solution. Luckily, you can pass these onto a friend when you are done, as you don’t destroy anything as you play.
These games definitely require an app for either iOS or Android: the apps present the sounds and sonic clues to you as you play. The phones are also used (at least in this version) to scan cards.
The echoes games are very small: both in price and stature. Take a look at the scale compared to the Coke can! And I think I paid $10.99 for my echoes game.
The instruction book is a fold out. Ugh. I usually hate fold outs, but this worked “okay”.
There are two sets of cards in the game: The larger, heavier cardboard cards (see above) that represent major story points. The lighter ones are cards that fill in the story between the story points. The heavier ones have the white outline.
Overall, the components are fine: the game looks a little abstract as you look at the pictures, and you realize: there’s not too much here…
The game requires an app. I downloaded it to my iOS device and COULD NOT get it to work! So, then Andrew downloaded his Android version, and it seemed to work fine. After a while, I realized that mine didn’t work BECAUSE I HAD THE RINGER ON SILENT!!! Since this is a game about hearing things, I thought it made sense to put my ringer on silent. Nope, that essentially made the app silent as well! Caveat Emptor! The app works fine for both iOS and Andrioid, but don’t forget to take your phone off of silent ringer!
Once you have the app working, you scan cards and it tells little stories or plays little snippets for each card.
This game kind of reminds me of Timeline: you have to put cards out “in order”. You listen to little snippets of sound/story on each card and then have to put some of them in order. Once you have them all in order, you have figured out the story! As you play, you put “triples” of cards together with major story point Cards and scan them—if you have the correct cards in the correct order for the major story point, you have solved part of the puzzle!
See Sara and Teresa trying to find some triples: 3 minor cards to go with 1 major card.
If you can put all the cards in order, based on the sonic clues, you win! And you figured out what happened in “the story!” Interestingly, as you play, more and more of the story gets revealed, as you hear more and more sounds from a section you have completed. Once you complete a major story point, it plays through the whole story for that piece!
The game says it plays solo, and I am sure it works fine. But this game seems a lot more fun with a group as you listen to clues, have discussions, and work together to put the clues together to form the story.
Echoes: The Microchip was fun. It was about an hour. It was light. We enjoyed ourselves, but it wasn’t deep by any means. The best analogy I would use that it was a “sonic jigsaw puzzle”: it kept us entertained for a short period, and it was fun, but it wasn’t anything super memorable. The idea of using sound clips was novel enough that it gave us a fresh new experience.
I’d play another. So would my friends. It wasn’t great. But it was entertaining.
I’d say “play this at a convention” if you could, since it’s a “one-and-done” game, but this game really needs a room with quiet so you can hear all the sonic clues: Conventions never have quiet room!