Sound Shapes Review
Like music? Like platforming? Like LittleBigPlanet? Yes? Then get out of our sight and pick up Sound Shapes. What’s that? No, we’re not kidding, it’s a Vita game worth picking up. Honest.
Another title that captures the brilliance of the Play, Create, Share ethos, it’s one of the few games available for Vita where the massive pre-release hype has been justified. Sound Shapes is a great advert for Sony’s device.
Well, perhaps not at first glance: the latest product helped out the door with Sony Santa Monica’s input seems like nothing more than a platformer with a nice musical twist.
Which it is, in part. Presented with a series of environmental obstacles (and a few rules that govern the surfaces your avatar, a sticky ball, can adhere to) you’ll have to negotiate the stage, picking up ‘coins’ on the way.
Doing so changes the backing track to the level, as do some of your enemies, so flamboyant play will see your actions adding an extra layer to the track already there.
Which is fun, if a little prescribed. The real game, however, comes after you complete these stages: by finishing the (increasingly complex) levels, you’ll unlock musical notes, enemies, backgrounds and other trinkets for use in putting together your own levels. It’s here where Sound Shapes shines. Or sings. Whatever.
Most campaign levels are slightly boring, but the Beck stages are brilliant.
Even if you’re not musically inclined, it’s difficult not to be impressed by what’s on offer. Starting with a blank slate of a level and 120 BPM running through it, soon you’ll be dropping in beats, effects and instruments of all stripe, as well as enemies and level geography.
The Vita’s unique combination of input methods are put to good use here, and it is – shock – almost as if Queasy actually thought about using the Vita’s strengths. We know: crazy.
Like in LBP, seeing your creations take shape is the best part of the game; we put together a rudimentary level in about ten minutes, and although it was basic we felt like we’d actually achieved something, which then pushed us to create something bigger and better.
It’s this feedback loop that’ll keep players interested in Sound Shapes, but there are also niggling issues that we hope don’t turn into full-scale problems.
Firstly there’s the fact that to unlock all of the effects, enemies, backgrounds etc you’ve got to complete the campaign, which is a chore.
Secondly, there’s an inherently more difficult bent to Sound Shapes than other games under the Play, Create, Share banner, thanks to the musical angle: we just hope the community levels are as good as in other games.
We’re sure they will be however, and worries aside this is one of Vita’s best games.