Sound Shapes begs to be played and not explained, but here goes anyway: The game is a platformer, where every world is an EP and every stage is made from a song. Each coin you collect stands for a note, and each screen you move across is a loop in and of itself.
But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Sound Shapes is a series of imagined worlds that envelop you, of which music is merely a part (albeit an important one). Levels are designed by pairing music and visual artists; musicians range from Beck to deadmau5 to Jim Gutherie, while artists include the lo-fi pixilation of superbrothers alongside the triangular flourishes of Pyramid Attack. One Beck song is in fact a city of burning tower blocks, which you must jump between as deadly rockets threaten your life, while another sends you rushing through the human bloodstream and dodging antibodies.
In addition, the game includes its own level editor, which essentially allows anyone to build their own hybrid level/songs. It takes a bit of getting used to, but with time it becomes clear just how brilliant it is. Place notes where you want them and how you want them positioned, decide how they should sound, and share your creation with the rest of the universe to enjoy. The download menu is full of homemade levels constructed by the community, which ensures that the game won’t end anytime soon. At $15 for both the PS Vita and PS3 versions together, it’s a no-brainer.
Hint: The higher a note is on the screen, the higher its pitch.
by Devin Santos