Sound Shapes Review
Sound Shapes, from Queasy Games, has been my most anticipated PlayStation Vita game ever since I saw it back in 2011. One of the biggest hooks was easily the fun looking 2D gameplay that seemed to borrow from Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, where you travel around levels collecting as many notes as possible, creating music with each pick up. The other was the stage creator where anyone can create their own music and upload it onto the PlayStation Network for the world to play.
What I Liked
The Beck Levels
The campaign in Sound Shapes sees you traversing various levels created by people like DeadMau5 and the guys behind Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, but they are all outclassed by Beck. Not only is the music very catchy (Beck-tionary not required), each level has a distinct look and feel to it, rather than each one seeming like a repeat of the previous version. My personal favourite level from Beck and the entire game is Cities. In this, you travel through a very dangerous city, dodging missiles that move to the beat of the song and utilizing the lyrics that will appear on screen as platforms to reach the end goal of the level.
Once you beat the campaign from Sound Shapes, you unlock Death Mode. This is a series of challenges that truly lives up to its name and will put your platforming abilities to the test. You only have a short amount of time on the clock to collect a large amount of notes, trying to avoid hazards that are specifically designed to push your abilities with the game. To prove just how hard each level is, pretty much every single trophy you will earn in the game is after completing one of these levels.
The Music Creator/ The Community
Just taking a look at the Community section of Sound Shapes will reward you with some really amazing levels. The amount of creativity and dedication some of these levels have received is nothing short of amazing. The level creator that Queasy Games has constructed is extremely in-depth and can give anyone with a creative side a way to have their wildest dreams imagined.
Just like LittleBigPlanet, Sound Shapes is a game that begs to be replayed for months and months to come, just to see what everyone has done with the tools in the creator. Though the Community isn’t perfect (it needs way more search options than are currently available), for just a $15 game, you have an endless amount of levels to play.
What I Didn’t Like
The Basic Platforming
At its core, Sound Shapes is a 2D platformer that borrows heavily from Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack. You travel through the levels as a blob, stick to the environment in order to reach different heights, occasionally float through the air, and collect notes. Problem is, the platforming isn’t very interesting. Unless the levels you play through add in some sort of crazy items, you will just repeat the same process in each.
I know that Sound Shapes isn’t meant to be a 2D-focused platformer, but it was still disappointing to have such a brilliant experience based around something so lacklustre.
Beck levels aside, the campaign is a huge letdown. There are just 20 levels included and getting 100% within each and every one of them will only give you around 1 hour of playtime. Out of that hour, a good chunk of it will be spent breezing through some very easy levels, or playing through levels that seem way too similar to the previous one. Thanks to Death Mode and the Community, the campaign doesn’t need to be replayed ever again to get enjoyment from Sound Shapes, it was just a little weird to have more fun in the first 20 levels I played that other people created, over the ones included with the game.
Not as good as: Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
I’ve noted the similarities between the two games several times throughout the review, but the fact of the matter is: Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is the superior game. What it lacks in user-generated content, it more than makes up for with a fun and satisfying campaign. Furthermore, Tales From Space features better platforming and is the cheaper buy. However, I don’t want to take anything away from Sound Shapes, as it’s a great game–it’s just that it shares a lot of similarities with an amazing game.
Basic platforming and boring campaign aside, Sound Shapes is a triumph. The level creator, Community, and Death Mode are so vast that you can end up playing this game for months and years to come. Sitting at just $15, you owe it to yourself to download this game, especially if you want to show off your creative side.
Sound Shapes was reviewed with a copy provided by Sony.