The platformer genre has always been one of my favorites. I’ve enjoyed seeing developers build on the basic ideas and implement excellent features, creating fun experience and gameplay that makes me want to keep playing. Toronto’s Jonathan Mak, known for Everyday Shooter, Shaw-Han Liem and the other talented developers at Queasy Games have made a creative masterpiece with Sound Shapes.
My experience with Sound Shapes can best be described as love at first sight. After playing it at the Playstation Loves Canada event a few months back, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the full retail version. The gameplay was fun to progress through and I couldn’t believe that a music-based platformer would be so addictive.
You character takes the form a ball that can stick to any surface except the colour black. Your enemy throughout the many levels is anything the colour red. The main objective of the levels is to collect notes for the song playing in the background. The more notes you collect, the more complete the song will be by the time you get to the level’s end.
Sound Shapes’ game tutorial was incredibly simple. I tend to lose interest when a game has to constantly explain how things have to be done in order to progress through the levels. Thankfully, in Sound Shapes, you need to know only few buttons, making it great as a pick up and play musical platforming game.
Sound Shapes includes five albums from four different artists:Jim Guthrie (Sword & Sworcery), Deadmau5, I Am Robot and Proud, and my favorite, Beck. Each album level utilizes different themes allowing you to change your play style depending on the music in the level. Without really spoiling anything, the music chosen within the level is your friend.
I enjoyed most the Beck level based around the song Cities. The level was built flawlessly, integrating itself with the song. Jonathan and his team hit the hail on the head with this one and I hope to see more albums via DLC. Not that the content provided was limited. Here I was thinking the deadmau5 levels were difficult and served as an excellent ending to the campaign, but upon completion of the main campaign two additional modes are unlocked to play. I think Death Mode and Beat School were created tp ,ale to my life a living hell. In Death Mode the goal is not simple to complete the challenges. In Death Mode you have to collect a set amount of notes within the given time. I haven’t gotten one yet, but that won’t stop me from trying.
Beat School is also challenging. Players must match certain patterns according to the current music that is playing. I have a pretty good ear, but I found myself guessing most of the time. Despite that difficulty, I just couldn’t stop playing.
Sound Shape’s level editor is a pretty big deal (seeing as how the whole game was created within the same editor). Ideas are endless, seeming to grow with the addition of the objects you collect after completing the various albums. The only issue I have with the level editor was that it was a little difficult for me to flip items over using the Vita’s rear touch pad. Making items bigger or putting items on its side was no issue, but when it was time to flip something horizontally, I wanted to pull my hair out.
I have to say that Sound Shapes is an astounding game that I can’t put down. The level of creativity on display is top notch. The Queasy Games team has done a stellar job at bringing music to a platformer. For a game of this caliber; I would love to see additional albums down the line.
Oh, and Sound Shapes utilizes Sony’s Cross Buy feature so if you buy it on the Vita, you get the PS3 version free and vice-versa. Win.
- Music by Beck and Jim Guthrie. Seriously.
- Creative level design
- Really fun level editor
- It’s a bit troublesome to rotate items in the level editor on the Vita
- Death Mode levels can be frustrating