Game play - 10
Presentation - 10
Story / Creativity - 10
Lifespan - 10
Those wanting to switch between Vita and Playstation 3 can do so too. Thanks to a syncable save system, you can instantly continue your progress after getting in from a long journey home from work in yummy HD goodness. So what are you waiting for? Get your Vita powered up and get creating in this phenomenal musical experience!
PS Vita users have probably being waiting for a new game to quench their gaming thirst with this summer. With an already strong launch list of games, can PS Vita’s Sound Shapes bring in a new experience for the handheld?
Sound Shapes shows what happens when you make genius minds collaborate on one project. Developed by up and coming developer Queasy games and designed by composing electronic powerhouses Jonathan Mak and Shaw-Han Liem, Sound Shapes proves that Sony’s handheld won’t go down with a fight.
The game plays like your everyday platformer but with a twist. While random observers may look at the game as a blob travelling through inspiring 2d worlds, you the player will see that the game is your canvas and you are the paint. The best way to explain it is if you imagine the 2D levels as a blank interactive music sheet. With this music sheet, you are given the opportunity to put all sorts of unusual objects onto it, each with their own unique sounds and properties. Through the placement of these platforms and objects you are ultimately creating your own electronic soundtrack that you can not only listen to but also interact with through your blob like persona as you bounce and roll over the many musical obstacles set in your way.
While Media Molecule’s Little Big Planet proved to gamers that it is easy to learn a level creator but hard to master it, Sound Shapes gives players an incredibly accessible set of tools that anyone can have fun with from the get go. This is all supported by an easy to use palette of motion controls that will have you tapping your screen and back panel like a crazy futuristic composer as you passionately attempt to create the perfect musical level.
To delve deeper into the level creator I will first like to tip my hat to the developer for bringing so much charm in its included objects and sequencers. The fact that within a matter of five minutes you could have a catchy beat through just tapping around a screen and hoping for the best is something that really suprised me. Each catagory of object or shape presents its own unique use and it is great to see that the such a simplisitic mode can be such a time sink.
Not only that but the game also consists of a large number of shipped levels all created by the team at Queasy Games that are not only excellently designed, but also shows to the gamer what is possible if they put their own mind into the level creator. These premade levels also come with a stream of supporting artists, all with their own levels based on a combination of music such as Deadmau5, Beck and many more. This is all selected through a side ways selection of different album covers which gives me hope that Queasy Games will eventually support the game with future DLC. This isn’t much of a problem though because of the massive amount of potential in its level creator.
Each album finds you “bopping” your way through in involves an individual theme and tone. The second album, and my personally favourite called ‘Corpereal’ consists of your gooey self traversing the pixellated exaggeration of everyday office life. In another you will be rolling and climbing for your dear life as ice-like platforms slowly begin to crack and shatter beneath your slimey feet.
The interesting thing about these levels is that all the happenings and perils are actually part of the level’s musical theme. While Corpereal will have its on-screen desk workers sipping hot coffee to the techno vibe, ‘Hello, World’ the games tutorial album will have you crawling up yawning clouds that each compliment to the current beat. To make things a little more interesting for the player, a number of circular orbs are placed around each area for you to collect. By collecting these orbs you are adding additional notes to the level’s tune. You can ignore these sometimes hard to get notes if you like, but where is the fun in that?
The levels also come with their fair share of dangers and enemies too. By referencing Corperal again, those happy little desk jockeys will sometimes fire their hot coco with an insta killing beam of red. In others you will be hopping on sneezing bugs or learning the pattern of miniture lava shooting volcanoes. This adds to the ever growing challenge and while the game gladly holds your hand in the early stages of your adventure, it is all too happy to drop kick you into defeat at times.
Players who find themselves wanting more out of the short campaign can look forward to a batch of Super Meat Boy style challenges called ‘Death Mode’ levels that not only reward you with much deserved trophies but will also have you coming back again and again to shave off seconds in your favourite toe tapping levels. As I mentioned the game will get harder the further you get into it, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending a cluster of hours trying to figure out a certain level or just wanting to raise your time in the leaderboards.
This is all brought together by a manageable community system that will allow you to upload your completion times and levels to thousands of other Shapers and even download their own creations too.
The only question now is, will we one day see a potential expansion where we can add our own favourite songs from current bands and see them brought to life through the already impressive creation system?
Sound Shapes is available now for Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita.
For more information, click here.