Sound Shapes Review
Developer: Queasy Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
North American Release Date: August 7th, 2012
European Release Date: August 15th, 2012
Trophies: Yes, 1 | 1 | 32 | 0
Sound Shapes came out of the blue and changed what we thought musical games were. Instead of playing an instrument you're following the beat of the songs just to finish the levels, while adding notes to the songs themselves. It's won various awards, but was it deserving of them?
Sound Shapes plays exactly how you would expect it to. It's a game about sounds and shapes. You play as a blob that sticks to some substances and not to others. It's a platforming game that uses music to conduct the levels. By listening to the beat everything becomes predictable and the game itself becomes fun to play because of that. Bouncing on heads in tune to the beat of a song fits so well that you'll want to play more and more of it. Each level is unique in terms of gameplay and the music as well. Each level feels new, and that is tough to achieve. There are enemies that have to be avoiding in various ways, new objects are added in and most importantly, there's a song for each level.
Once you finish the game, you unlock a mode called Beat School. I found this to be extremely fun because what you're trying to do is remake a beat using notes that are on the screen. There are squares that each have a different pitch and sound to them, and you need to use these to recreate what you've heard. I thought this was really unique and I was intrigued by it.
The level editor/creator works similar to Beat School where you have a screen with squares with different pitches and you can create your own song. Not only this but your own level. By completing the main game, you unlock different objects to put into your level and you can make these pretty extensive. There are community levels that other players have made that makes Sound Shapes LittleBigPlanet-esque. And that is not at all a bad thing.
This is what Beat School looks like. It may not look like fun, but I had lots of it when trying to figure out the beats.
My only problem with Sound Shapes is, if you play on the Vita, it isn't utilising any of its features. No touch-screen mechanics or back-panel things except in the Editor. I wish the game would've been changed a little from the PS3 version to use these features in the levels.
The campaign is short, very short. It's 20 levels, and while each is unique and the game doesn't get stale you can't help but realize there were only 20 levels. Once you finish the game you unlock Beat School as well as Death Mode, which is a tough version of each level, and you need to collect a certain number of notes within the allotted time. While these do stretch the game's length, I was a little disappointed. The campaign can be completed in about three hours.
Death Mode I'm not sure was necessary. It was extremely hard at times, and aggravating. I would've much rather had seen more campaign levels than Death Mode levels, because after you've been listening to the same song for an hour just trying to finish one Death Mode level, you'll get annoyed. One thing I will say that's good about Death Mode is that the flow is never broken. You'll die, and you can still hear the music in the background. You can then go back into the level and the song will never stop, so you may start the level at different times of the song.
By far the best part of Sound Shapes is its soundtrack. Quite possibly the best soundtrack in a video game, Sound Shapes features the work of Deadmau5, Beck, I am Robot and more that make up each level of the game. The game is uniquely split up into different albums, each featuring an artist with levels created around the music. You finish the album of say Deadmau5 and move onto Beck. Beck and Deadmau5 are possibly the best artists in the game in my opinion.
The aesthetics of each level change and no two levels are the exact same. Granted, the second album sort of blends together (I thought it was the worst album) but every other level I felt was interesting. While Sound Shapes doesn't break new grounds in graphical achievements, it's fitting for the style of game that it is.
Most levels have very vibrant and eye-pleasing colors.
If you finish the campaign, each Beat School level and Death Mode level you'll earn the platinum. A very easy game here for trophies, though be warned, I got extremely frustrated on almost all Death Mode levels. Not only this, but if you have a Vita and a PS3 you can earn two platinums. Cloud-syncing after you get the platinum once, and getting the cloud save on the other system makes each trophy unlock. Trophy whore's will love this.
Sound Shapes is what PSN games should be, unique and fun games where everything fits. I do feel the $15 price tag is a little steep for the amount of content (disregarding the community levels), and you should wait for a possible price drop if you don't like playing community levels. Overall Sound Shapes is a really fun game for a few hours. If you love music, then I strongly recommend you buy Sound Shapes.
The only bad thing about it is that it disregards, almost entirely, the Vita's capabilities.
Very short, only serves a few hours of gameplay. Beat School was my favorite mode, but I wish the campaign was longer.
The best soundtrack I've ever seen (or heard) in a game. If you are a music fanatic you'll love Sound Shapes.