Sound Shapes Review (PS Vita)

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Sound Shapes

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Queasy Games revitalises the platforming genre with its melodical masterpiece

We like

  • The way the soundtrack builds throughout the levels is totally unique and absorbing
  • Strong themes and level design throughout campaign ensures platforming gameplay is entertaining
  • Level editor and ability to share creations with community adds infinite replay value

We dislike

  • Level editor issue - Icons really need words to explain what you're selecting

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

(continued from previous page) ...and it’s really all about collecting as many coins as possible and finishing the levels in the shortest amount of time

The main campaign doesn’t take that long to finish and it isn’t particularly challenging. Each of the five stages consists of five levels and each level takes around five minutes to complete. We’d completed the whole campaign in under three hours, though completionists will find replay value in collecting all the coins on each level and trying to beat the top scores for the fastest times, set by players from around the world.

Just when we thought that the game had come to a rather premature conclusion though, completing the campaign unlocked some new game modes, the Death Mode Challenges and the Beat School Editor. This is where the real challenge begins as Death Mode is incredibly hard, but incredibly addictive as you strive to beat the tasks set. You get new levels and new tasks, such as having to collect ‘X’ amount of coins in a certain amount of time, and music once again plays a significant part.

The Beat School Editor is equally as challenging. The initial task, for example, calls for you to listen to a piece of music and then utilise a grid (musical editor) to try and replicate the exact sound in order to unlock the next stage. It also gives you a taste of the level editor, which is the jewel in Sound Shapes’ crown.

The level editor is what elevates Sound Shapes to the next level and makes its £9.99 price tag an absolute snip. Here, players get to tinker with the tools that the designers had to create levels and music. Each time you finish a level you unlock all the objects and music from within them, so by the time you’ve completed the campaign you have all the tools at your disposal. Though there’s a tutorial, creating levels isn’t as simple as it could have been. Sounds and objects are shown as a picture, but having a word underneath relating to that noise, such as “high hats,” would have helped immeasurably.

Nonetheless, in the same way that LittleBigPlanet’s editing tools appeals to those hardcore fans who have the patience and creativity to spend time creating a masterpiece, Sound Shapes gives you everything you need to make levels just as impressive as those in the campaign, thanks to a good variety of terrains, decorations, colour themes and objects. The real magic here lies in the music though, and layering your creation with a sound that fits is great fun. Vita’s front and rear touchscreen are used effectively too, allowing you to manipulate objects and place notes anywhere you like.

Without headphones, Vita’s speakers don’t quite do the game justice, but with a decent set of headphones Sound Shapes is totally absorbing. The music isn’t just a background filler but an integral part of the gameplay and really what makes this platformer such a memorable experience. The level editor could have been explained a bit better and we’d love to have seen more campaign levels, but once complete Sound Shapes is firmly in the hands of the community. And it’s the PlayStation gamers that have the power to turn Queasy Games’ methodical masterpiece into a long-running classic.

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