Music has always been an integral part of the game for me hence my love for VGM, so much so part of the site is dedicated to it. Music as part of the gameplay however can take things to a whole new level and this is where Sound Shapes comes in.
Five artists have given a collection of tracks across to the game and the music has been broken down into short repeated riffs that play almost as if a bar is going across the screen behind you ala Lumines, Chime and the like. This time however its a 2D platformer not a puzzler. You collect notes that will then develop and add to the song as you go and although you don’t have to do this, missing these notes will result in an incomplete song and there’s a certain buzz about turning all the instruments on. It’s not just that however. Enemies, obstacles, killer lazers and giant bombs, everything moves to the beat and therefore you’ve got to time the jumps right, dodge things on the dot and so on. Its fluid, intuitive and damn right fun.
The fun is enhanced by the fact each world has a very different visual style and a very different set of things to negotiate. Add to that the different artists’ music and you have a great cross-section of things to do within the premise. The main game itself is short and can be completed in a couple of hours but in a trend which I’m enjoying, that will only give you a single gold trophy. You then have Death Mode which are vastly more difficult timed challenges to complete. Think the trophy challenges on PixelJunk Monsters and you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Some require absolutely blinding precision. That’s part of the fun though as the main game has unlimited lives and plenty of resets. Beat School is a Simon Says beat repetition mode which is also challenging especially if you’ve no sense of rhythm! There is also a great level maker tool and an online community that should fill up with lots of user levels and so on making the initial game a great platform to leap from. I’d expect maybe some DLC songs added at a later date too.
~Utterly entrancing gaming experience that does not compromise its vision once
~Solid controls makes platforming an ease
~ Longevity with trophy challenges and community fun
~PS3 and PS Vita version come in one purchase
~Maybe one or two more artists would have made this utterly stunning
A perfect combination of gaming art, sublime playing mechanics and some genuine moments of pure joy and awesomeness. Sound Shapes should be a game that is on everyone’s playlist as it crosses all the boarders and should intrigue, appeal and challenge every player it meets. Mesmerizing.