Sound Shapes PS Vita/PS3 Review
by Joshua Williams
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Queasy Games
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Sound Shapes is a platform game with an interactive soundtrack. There is deception in its simplicity and countless reasons to keep fans coming back. Taking a page from Little Big Planet, items are collected throughout the campaign which can be used to create levels and share with the Sound Shapes community. Also available on PS3, you’ll be glad to know that Cross-Buy does apply when this title is purchased on either platform.
Rather than a story, the campaign in Sound Shapes is comprised of albums. Each album is a collaboration between composers and artists so no album looks or sounds the same. DLC is already available, adding new albums, sound packs and terrain editors with more to come in 2013. The song “Cities” by Beck is the winner of the Best Song in a Game category according to the 2012 VGAs.
In Sound Shapes you roll and stick to a variety of surfaces while trying to avoid all things red. The whole left to right thing is old fashioned so it’s not out of the ordinary to find yourself going right to left and even bottom to top as well as any number of variations throughout the game.
You’re tasked with collecting tokens which add new sounds to the level’s soundtrack, you’ll also notice that most of what you do in the game has some sort of sound that adds to the overall experience.
The sounds in Sound Shapes definitely do their title justice. An already eclectic mix is only limited by the imaginations of the developers and the community. The joy of each level is hearing and to a lesser extent seeing how the music builds. It’s really a tough sell when you look at screenshots and the $15 price tag but it’s hearing Sound Shapes in action that compels you to take interest.
While not visually stunning, the level design does more than enough to make up for the simplistic approach. You’ll also find that it’s quick and simple to try out user generated content because this approach doesn’t require lengthy or sizable downloads.
It is believed that you are able to use every shape you encounter in the campaign to create your own stages. Creating these stages can seem a bit daunting but with practice I’m sure anyone could create something worthy of being shared.
Getting around in Sound Shapes is fairly simple. You move the same as in any platform game and you jump with the “cross” button. You stick to the surfaces that you can stick to just by touching them. “Square” or the “right shoulder” button serves as a modifier which can increase your speed, make you un-sticky, or serve as another purpose dependent upon the situation.
Navigating menus can either be done using face buttons or by tapping the screen. Creation mode takes advantage of both rear and front touch screens and as the game evolves there is sure to be some new way of utilizing the Vita hardware.
Sound Shapes has been a big hit as far as downloadable titles go. All the hype leading to its release has apparently been justified as the gaming community has spoken. While not entirely new, it’s the daring merger of genres and the successful elements thereof that has helped the success of Sound Shapes.
It may take some some time to grow on you but for the price you could easily do a lot worse. Among its many accolades, Sound Shapes was awarded Best Handheld/Mobile Game in 2012 by the VGAs.
+ Ideal for platform and music lovers
+ Audio and visual variety between albums
+ User generated content/Ability to create levels
– If you aren’t, probably wont make you a platform lover