If you are one of the many people shouting out for more PSVita titles – you’re in luck. Sound Shapes will catch you off guard and hook you in with its charm and innovative gameplay mechanics. This beautiful piece is a music based platformer that continues to evolve and change as you progress throughout its musical worlds.
Developers Queasy Games and SCE Santa Monica Studio ought to be proud of what they’ve accomplished with Sound Shapes. The game runs perfectly on PlayStation 3 and VITA, and acts as a double-purchase bundle. You buy one and you get the other version free. This is a good model for Sony and one that will hopefully affect most cross compatible games in the future. However, we hope the cross compatibility feature is much improved upon in either a patch, or future Vita/PS3 titles to come. Syncing your save progress/trophy progress for either version will occasionally fail, making it not quite as smooth as we would have liked.
Once you get into the game, you’ll be introduced to Sound Shape’s interesting, musical twist on the platforming genre. As you bounce your way through the levels, your timing can manipulate the score playing in the background. Affecting the soundtrack further, each level is packed with orbs for you to find and collect. Everytime an orb is collected, different instruments and tones will be added or phased out of the current track, allowing your musical adventure to expand as you progress. We found ourselves heading back through levels, trying our best to collect every orb and be rewarded with the great harmony that is created because of it.
But as cute and charming as Sound Shapes is, it’s not without danger. This danger is marked with red, and it’s best you avoid anything painted with this color. However, should you find cheating death a walk in the park, you’ll be happy to know that the game features a “Death Mode” upon completion of the campaign. This mode is brutal, and it’s unlikely you’ll complete these on your first try. In order for you to succeed here, you’ll require an incredible amount of skill and luck. Fortunately, the game makes it easy for you to return after every failure thanks to a complete lack of loading times, allowing you to get back into the action quickly.
Featuring music from artists such as, I Am Robot, Jim Guthrie, Deadmau5 and Beck gives Sound Shapes a high quality sound. The songs from these artists greatly enhanced our time with the game, and made the campaign that much more enjoyable. With the game initially announced as a release title for the VITA, it looked like PS3 owners wouldn’t be able to get their hands on it. Thankfully, Sony opted to finish up more tracks and port it to the PS3. This time was used well and it shows in the quality of the finished product.
Probably one of the most exciting modes in Sound Shapes is its player created content. Users are able to craft their very own levels and upload them to a community server. The game offers a more than adequate tutorial on how to create these levels, and exploring all the User Generated Content adds a real lasting appeal to the experience.
If you want to take a break from creating or checking out all the other player created content, then Sound Shapes offers one extra mode called, “Beat School Mode”. This mode plays a track for players to solve by utilizing the touchscreen pad on the VITA. By touching the right notes on the front touch screen, you’re able to unravel the track and finish the level. This mode added a neat diversion to the more substantial content, and it’s a good way to take a break from the more taxing stuff found in Sound Shapes.
If you’re still on the fence about this beautiful platformer, then we’d recommend trying out the demo. Sound Shapes is something new and creative, and in a business where risks aren’t always being promoted, projects like these should be applauded and appreciated.