Friday, September 21, 2012

Sound Shapes Review

It's a platformer and music visualizer in one, a game that lets you play inside music. What's not to love?

There's no shortage of cutesy indie games out right now, but Sound Shapes manages to stand head and shoulders above the rest by the strength of its concept. In this game, the level creates music. Cloud platforms sing when they appear. The beat is pumped out by crushing machines that will kill you. Creatures sing a series of notes when you interact with them. It's like seeing a Radiohead song come to life. As a platformer, the game can be solved by consciously figuring out the pattern behind the beats or finding out the perfect timing to jump onto that singing cloud. Or you can forget about it all, just let go and immerse yourself in the music.

Red stuff kills. Simple concept.

And boy oh boy, what music it is. You've got deadmau5, Jim Guthrie (of Sword and Sworcery fame), and Beck supplying the music. Each of them deliver an "album," which is 3 to 5 songs each. Sounds more like an EP to me.

No worries, there are plenty of community-made levels to play. Yup, taking a page from games like Little Big Planet, you can create music/levels of your own and then upload it for everyone to play.

On the downside, $15 is kind of a lot for a little game like this. It's way too short. And though there are lots of community-made levels, replayability is actually on the low side. Because -- surprise surprise -- the game is actually about the music. Once I experienced a level, I didn't really want to do it again, unless the music was really great. 

(On the plus side, you get the Vita version of the game for free when you buy the PS3 version. Or vice versa. Cross play is enabled.)

All in all, this is a fun platformer/music visualizer which is an experience that shouldn't be missed. You'll probably get more out of it if you're one of those people who enjoy making Little Big Planet game levels and/or creating music. But even the casual player will appreciate bopping around the levels in time with the music. Now to play that Beck album again...

Third World Nerd Verdict: PLAY IT

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