Sound Shapes User Review
Among the above mentioned platformers is Queasy Games’ Sound Shapes. A download-only title released in August, Sound Shapes is a simple, music-centric platformer that has players guiding a blob through different levels while collecting notes. As the player collects these notes, the song will grow and build until its ultimate fulfillment at the end of each level. The five albums the game is based upon are, for the most part, outstanding, with contributions from Jim Guthrie, I am Robot and Proud, and Beck. Replayability is mostly dependent on your enjoyment of each album, so if you don’t like the music, there is little incentive to go back through the main campaign.
If the music is a throwaway for you and you are simply a fan of platformers, the game may disappoint. The mechanics are solid, but they lack the precision that some of the levels demand. The game is challenging at times, but most of the time dying feels cheap. Instead of telling myself that I should have timed a jump better, I would just do the same thing over and over again until it worked. It is this inconsistency that knocked the game down a few notches. I also felt like the difficulty was not graded properly. Some levels are too easy, some are very difficult, and others are a mixed bag. Despite these flaws, the platforming is generally fun and enjoyable, but it does not stand up with the genres elite.
One thing I love about Sound Shapes is the overall presentation. Everything from the organization of the menus to the soothing colors promotes ease of access. Slide your finger one way for community access, or the other for the album selection. There is no wasted motion – an essential quality for an on-the-go experience.
Sound Shapes boasts an incredible soundtrack and excellent overall presentation, but is hindered by some so-so platforming mechanics. If this were the entirety of the game I would score it between 7.5 and 8. There is one more thing, however, and it is a big one – Community! Sound Shapes, like LittleBigPlanet, gives the player the tools to create wholly unique levels for sharing with the Sound Shapes community. While nowhere near as advances as LBP, Sound Shapes has plenty of features that have already been implemented in some very clever community levels.
The touchscreen also makes rotating, resizing, and placing pieces easy to use, making it perfect for casual gamers who do not have the time to spend hours on a single segment. My only gripe with the level editor is the limited musical capability. A track loops every three screens, making it impossible to create multi-tiered, varied musical compositions. I was looking forward to recreating some of my favorite video-game tracks, but I could only produce infinitely looping segments of audio. I guess I’ll have to stick with youtube.
Overall, Sound Shapes is a solid game with some fantastic music. I would pay $15 for the albums alone, but getting a decent platformer and level-editor thrown in? I’ll take it. Sound Shapes is one of the better games available on the PSN, and for Vita owners it’s about as close to a no-brainer as you’re gonna get.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.