‘Sound Shapes’ Review, A Year Later and Still a Must Buy

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Now that Sound Shapes has been out for just over a year, I’ve finally purchased the game and completed the campaign (all in 1-2 weeks of casual yet addicted gameplay). “Good for you, Allegra,” you might be thinking. “Way to be A YEAR TOO LATE.” Yeah, well, you’d be right. I am late. But, with the revived love for the game that comes with the one-year anniversary, I write to you as a big fan who can’t help but sing praises for this simple and deceiving (read: not actually simple) game. I am here to remind you how amazing of a game Sound Shapes is, especially a year after its release.

If you’re a music person like I am, buy this game. The team at Queasy Games (and Sony Santa Monica) pulled out all the stops with this one. They start you off with some fantastic beats that get you dancing, and your successful gameplay enhances the music throughout each level. If you miss just one note, you are missing out on a part of the music that makes it that much cooler, and it gives you a reason to want to go back for another round. Not that you need one. I played some of the levels over and over again just to listen to the music and to see if I could do it just a little faster. At this point you might be thinking, “What the heck is Sound Shapes?”

 To put it simply, Sound Shapes is a music platformer. You control a little ball-blob (that sometimes, depending on the coloring, looks like an over easy egg) and maneuver the little guy through levels, sticking (and unsticking) to colorful surfaces to get past the bad guys. The controls are what you’d expect – X to jump, D-pad or left stick to move forward or back, and O to release. Red things are bad (…they kill you.) and you can’t stick to black things. Everything else is fair game. Simple idea, addictive gameplay. The controls are easy enough that they don’t get in your way. You hardly have to think about it – you can just lose yourself in the music. Dance a little. And avoid the red things.

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I especially like the Cities levels, with music from Beck. I never really liked Beck… I’m not sure why. Sound Shapes is making me second guess that. It brings an aspect to the music that I never felt before. It brings what’s been in my head out into my hands. Sound Shapes immerses you in the music, and the way that the Cities levels do that is impressive. Sound Shapes brings music to life.

Sound Shapes enhances the Vita – or is it the other way around? They were made for each other. I’ve played the game on the PS3, and I loved it, but there’s just something about the portability of the Vita that gives the game that extra little boost. It’s the perfect game to play right before bed – it helps you wind down the evening, and the Vita allows you to cuddle up under the covers and get sucked into the game. The best part? You have options. You don’t have to rock out to epic music if you don’t want to – you can choose more relaxing beats to suit your mood. All you have to do is choose a different level. Just make sure to grab your headphones.

Sound Shapes_2I do have one beef with Sound Shapes. I want more! In my opinion the campaign could be a little longer, or we could at least have access to more community levels. Perhaps I’m spoiled by the ever-evolving community levels in the LittleBigPlanet games, but I admit that I am a little disappointed that I haven’t yet seen any new community levels pop up. Maybe I’m missing something. That’s not to say I’m bored with all of the levels that are available – but it would be fun to see something new. Their answer to this “problem” is simple – you can build your own level. Now, I’ve never been one to enjoy building levels, even in my favorite games. But the ease of creation in Sound Shapes is tempting. As you move forward in the campaign, you unlock new materials for building levels. Creating the music is simple enough, too. A note lasts for three screens, and there’s hardly any other rules. You’ll see what I mean. Try it out – I think it will satisfy your craving for more. It has for mine!

The bottom line is that Sound Shapes does what I always hoped it would. From the first time I played it at E3 2012, I itched to play the game. This game is the pinnacle of casual gaming. The levels are just short enough that you can play one… or ten… in a spare moment of your time. They leave you wanting more, and even when you’ve played through absolutely every level offered, you’re willing (and craving) to go back and play them through just one more time… and if you’re anything like me, you just can’t stop.

Discuss:

Have you played Sound Shapes? What did you think? Do you prefer Sound Shapes on the Vita, or the PS3?

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