When Sound Shapes was first shown, I wasn’t sure what to think. And it was for that reason, I barely kept my eyes on it. However, once I caught wind that Deadmau5 would be producing some tracks for the title, I immediately grew interested. Was it worth getting excited over? Read on to find out.
Premise & Content
Sound Shapes is a platformer unlike no other. The game’s focus is standard – get your little blob to the other end of the area. However, this is completely changed up with the idea of collecting musical notes to further enhance the background tracks. Of course you can make it to the end while collecting nothing, but this defeats the purpose. The game starts with a 20-stage campaign, with each ‘record’ consisting of a few tracks to get your way through. Speaking as a fan of platform games, the unique twist to the genre was one I was very fond of, being a heavy fan of music as well. Especially with the robust soundtrack, but I’ll get more into that later.
The campaign may run a few hours, nothing too difficult and time consuming. However, running through the campaign is definitely a must, seeing as it is merely a tease for what is to come. After completing each track in a record, you unlock materials for the game’s creation mode. Similar to titles like LittleBigPlanet, Sound Shapes gives players tools to craft together different tracks and share them online. Players can create varied environments and background sounds utilizing all the tools and notes given to players. The creation tools aren’t all that difficult to get used to, and the various unlockables give players a lot of choices at their disposal. While I didn’t create anything Grammy worthy, after playing other players’ creations, it is safe to say, the community is going to be littered with unique tracks and remakes that are stellar in level.
The creation tools aren’t the only reason to complete the game’s campaign mode, as two new modes are unlocked after completing said campaign – Death Mode and Beat School. Death Mode is a painfully difficult challenge based mode, putting players in a death-filled situation and tasking them to collect a certain amount of notes in a time limit. While it is incredibly difficult, it still is a lot of fun completing all of these challenges. My only grip with Death Mode is that it seems very luck-based, with some notes appearing directly next to each other at times and others spawning further and further apart. Beat School provides players with a beat they much replicate simply by listening to the notes playing and choosing from the many notes on the board. I made it through these quickly, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun trying to pick at which note matches with the one playing. All in all, both of these modes are a blast and provide a rewarding experience, especially for those trophy whores out there.
Gameplay, Graphics & Soundtrack
The gameplay is pretty standard. As stated earlier, the game’s focus is getting the blob character towards the end of the level, collecting every musical note to further evolve the background music playing. Its the simplicity of the game alongside the unique addition to the standard sidescrolling platformer that makes it so great. Its a sidescroller with an artistic twist, that twist being the soundtrack – and boy, does that soundtrack deliver.
The game’s aesthetics are simple, yet remarkable. Each record (worlds) is designed by a different artist. Each stage looks very different from the last, and for the most part, they all look absolutely superb. While some stand out, each stage looks simplistic and beautiful in its own way. Along with the art being done by different artist, the soundtracks were crafted by various music artists as well. I came into this game excited to get into the Deadmau5 tracks. Imagine my surprise when I found the other artists’ music to keep my head bopping more. The Deadmau5 tracks are absolutely amazing, don’t get me wrong, but the Beck tracks were on another level of amazing in this game. It goes without saying that the entire soundtrack is superb, and fantastically produced. The better part about this is the fact that the soundtrack will only continue to grow with the community producing more tracks each day. I look forward to seeing what the players craft up.
The X Factor
Sound Shapes is available on both the PS3 and PS Vita. The experience is pretty much the same on either console, but I feel as though the game was built with the PS Vita more in mind. The creation tools seem simpler to use on the PS Vita, however this is just my own opinion. The game also utilizes cross-platform saves, and as a Trophy whore, I cannot imagine a better reason to get both version. Oh wait, I can – buy one, get the other free. I did experience some syncing issues when trying to sync the saves with my account, but it isn’t a game killer.
Sound Shapes is a fantastic, unique platformer. The aesthetics, soundtrack and simplicity will leave players wowed. The campaign boasts some fantastically crafted songs; the additional Death Mode and Beat School give players a fun reason to pick up the controller after they run through the main campaign; the creation tools leave us imagining what amazing songs and levels are going to be crafted by the community. The game is an inventive and innovative formula that I hope to see more of in the PlayStation’s future.
- Sound Shapes packs an inventive twist to the platform genre
- Death Mode and Beat School are an absolute blast and are rewarding experiences
- The creation tools aren’t too difficult, and the community will surely boast some superb levels in the game’s future
- The simplistic formula makes it a breeze to jump right in
- The game looks beautiful, with unique art in each level designed by different artists
- The soundtrack is just as amazing, with fantastic work done by artists such as Deadmau5 and Beck
- The Death Mode challenges focus too much on luck at times
- Connectivity issues when syncing saves