Review | Sound Shapes

Sep 08, 2012 Comments Off by

Sound Shapes 8 Review   |   Sound Shapes

The PlayStation Vita may not have set the world on fire in terms of sales in its first few months of existence, but it has provided those gamers that have picked up the console with some incredibly unique and amazing experiences. Gravity Rush, Uncharted Golden Abyss, Mortal Kombat, Rayman Origins and more have proved that a high-end dedicated handheld can be a wondrous thing.

This incredible content, almost unheard of in terms of quality in the first year of a new console, is seemingly never ending with hugely anticipated titles constantly releasing in the lead up to Xmas, whether this converts the unconverted is up the air, but there has been enough in the Vita’s short history to suggest a brilliant future ahead.

That future is brightened even further by Sound Shapes, the genre-defying musical puzzler. Feeling familiar and yet totally fresh and unique, Sound Shapes is yet another example of the PlayStation Vita being used in all new ways.

Sound Shapes 9 Review   |   Sound Shapes

The crux of the game is simplistically complicated. A puzzle game as its core, Sound Shapes has the gamer moving through levels like a traditional side-scrolling platformer but with gravity and sonic-defying components to test the brain.

Assuming the role of a blob, yep a blob, each level challenges you to make your way to the exit, avoiding instant-death dealing traps and collecting muscial beats as you go. As you collect these beats they change the dynamics of the soundtrack, sometimes adding, sometimes taking away and make every level a masterclass in musical creation.

Much like other classic platformers, Sound Shapes is all a matter of time, trial-and-error and quick thinking. While not as gorgeous as Rayman Origins, the game has its own distinct art pallet that perfectly suits each of the varied levels, worlds and most importantly music that litters the twenty or so levels.

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And while these levels do pose a considerable challenge for all but the most confident of puzzle-solving geniuses, the real meat of the game is surely to be found in the level editing components that can make ANYONE a gamer designer.

Taking a cue from the fantastic level designer elements of Littlebigplanet, Sound Shapes allows levels to be built from scratch with just the flick of a finger of the slide of a hand. It’s here that the Vita really shines. With touch screens, never before has creation been so easy on a console (home OR portable). Simply swipe, pull, push, stretch and pinch your levels to life and upload them into the PSN for the entire Sound Shapes community to enjoy.

Sound Shapes 5 Review   |   Sound Shapes

The enjoyment of the game also directly corresponds to the amazing music that Queasy Games and Sony have managed to cram into Sound Shapes. Deadmau5 and Beck headline an eclectic range of artists that add an immense amount to the structure of the game and provide a whole new way to experience music, in a way that no other game has ever really done.

Sure games like Amplitude and even Rock Band Blitz are musical/puzzle hybrids, but Sound Shapes allows gamers to experience a whole new side of their favourite artists like never before. Even fans who might hate the hipster that is Beck will find themselves appreciating their music while attempting to circumnavigate their insane level.

Sound Shapes 7 Review   |   Sound Shapes

It’s not all roses in the land of Sound Shapes though. At times the campiagn almost feels like a tutorial for the level-creation tolls (and it very well may in fact just be that) and can be completed in a pretty short space of time, and the cruelty of some of the puzzles makes throwing the Vita through the wall an all too attractive offer. But the unique elements and stonking soundtrack more than make up for all shortfalls.

Sound Shapes is yet another example to the world why the Vita is quite possibly the best console on the market at the moment, and yes, that does include PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. While it will never be able to replicate the power of the home consoles, the portable is a field of dreams for new, innovative IP; of which Sound Shapes is a shining light.   [8]

Rating: 8
Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Queasy Games
Genre: Puzzle
Players: 1
Classification: PG
Website: http://nz.playstation.com/soundshapes/
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