Sound Shapes: PS4 Review
Part of the August PS Plus line up
Sometimes, a game can very nearly defy belief and can suck you in completely when you're not expecting to enjoy it.
Such a game is Sound Shapes aka How I lost 36 hours of my life over one weekend.
Unleashed on to the PS4 after a successful run on PS3 and PS Vita, this is a brand new gaming experience, which may not be as easily understood by my words...but bear with me.
Designed by Jonathan Mak and Shaw-Han Liem, it's a platformer which will literally bring music to your ears. It's a side scrolling game which uses music to set the tone and also to help play the game. With tunes from the likes of Beck, Jim Guthrie and graphics that are as stripped back and barebones as you can imagine (think 80s gaming with a large dollop of garishness), Sound Shapes doesn't sound like it'd be much fun.
But it's fiendishly addictive; like seeing an album turned into electronica and put onto a screen in front of you. You race through levels as a little ball, clinging to walls, sticking to objects and collecting circular orbs. As you power through the orbs, the beat picks up - and through five mini levels within five other levels - you try to complete them all by collecting as many of the "beats" as you can.
And that's kind of it - except it's not.
Completion of levels gives you the building blocks to build your own levels, which can be shared online and with the community. The more orbs you nab, the more tools you get to play with - simple, eh?
Music and gameplay are fused effortlessly into this piece and while it's simple to play and you're likely to clock the levels pretty quickly, there are plenty of challenges left. Completion of the campaign unlocks the death mode (trickiness personified) and also provides you with heaps of bits to build your own levels, to share, play and complete.
It looks like UGC is the way to go with this game - and it offers up infinite possibilities and plenty of scope for musical fun.
Sound Shapes represents best what I like about the gaming experience currently.
Recently gaming's suddenly become a lot more fun, clever, intelligent and fiendishly different, it's not content to sit on its laurels and churn out the same content month after month; this kind of vibrant inventiveness deserves to be applauded and long may it continue.