Sound Shapes: Review
Release Date: 07/08/2012
Platforms: PS3, Vita
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Queasy Games
Website: Click here
Genres: Music, platformer
It’s a music game. It’s a platformer. It’s a music game and platformer. This is Sound Shapes, a creative abstraction of two different genres, fashioned into a compelling experience on the Vita and PlayStation 3. If you bought this game expecting a regular 2D platforming adventure, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that Sound Shapes is so much more.
First, as you’ve probably guessed, you’re supposed to jump to and from suspending platforms and obstacles. You play a small circular blob that can stick to a variety of surfaces and gather coins that, when collected, add a new track to the background music, such as notes, chords or instruments, and gradually swell into a complete composition. There’s no story, which is fine. All you need to do is reach the other end of the stage. You can actually skip coin-collecting if you want, but the game’s heightening music adds to the entire Sound Shapes experience.
Catchy and hypnotic
There are five “albums” or stages to complete, with each offering a different indie musician and audio-visual motif. For example, the Cities stage was designed by Pyramid Attack and music composed by Beck. The Corporeal album, on the other hand, was designed by Superbrothers and its track was by Jim Guthrie. As a whole, the music in Sound Shapes is absolutely catchy and hypnotic; combine this with the clean and simplistic visuals, and you’ve got yourself one addicting game that remains engaging no matter how many times you complete it.
As a platformer, Sound Shapes can be as difficult as the best of them. Aside from the challenging sequences in the main campaign, there are a couple of modes that will put your platforming skills to the test. As its name implies, Beat School is some sort of tutorial that requires you to match the beat of 12 different tracks in the game’s editor mode. While ominous-sounding, Death Mode is incredibly fun, challenging you to collect a specific number of coins in a limited amount of time. You’ll probably keep dying, but it’s truly addictive.
Keeps on giving
The most rewarding part of Sound Shapes is its level creator/editor, which keeps the game engaging well after the credits roll. It’s simple enough to use—you place items and coins in your level, and their location on the screen matches their tone and order. Everything plays from left to right, with the higher item having a higher pitch. However, designing more complex stages can be a bit more difficult. Fortunately, sharing and downloading levels is easy; just press Save to share your creation, and visit the main menu to download new content.
If you have a Vita, then you must simply own a copy of this game. If you don’t have a Vita yet, you should pick one up already. Whatever your skill level, Sound Shapes is just too good to pass up: it has great and challenging gameplay, topnotch music, excellent visuals, an intuitive level editor and unlimited replay value. Sound Shapes is already one of the biggest sleeper hits of 2012.