In this industry, a lot more developers have found innovative ways to involve sound into their products. Not just a background soundtrack or even cute little sound effects like belches and farts, mind you, but rather involving pieces of musical cues and effects that really make you feel like they’re an integral part of your gaming. Remember the cute tunes in LocoRoco and how they kind of changed up as you went along? Or, for that matter, the awesomely tense dramatic overplays when a serious combat situation rolled around in Call of Duty: World At War or something else along those lines?
How about a game that requires the use of sound to shape your world? Because that’s just what Sound Shapes does.
Put together by the team over at Everyday Shooters, Sound Shapes may come across as another music/rhythm experience, but rather than relying on the age-old “tap a button to play this noise” routine (ala Rock Band), it instead uses the sound to create levels that your character will go through. What’s more, it forgoes the usual rules of a platformer, instead setting up a relaxing, innovative experience that literally anyone can grasp, within just a few moments of play.
You play a little round orb that has to work his way through a series of stages, each one progressively built by a certain element that plays along in a song. We’ve included a video below that helps explain this better, but essentially, let’s say you’ve got a guy providing a piece of rhythmic singing, like “Oooooo” for a few seconds. That “Oooooo” is actually creating bridges that go on and off, depending on him holding the note. So you’ll cross over those bridges, then maybe use some platforms below that activate with a different cue taken from the song. No level is the same, as each one features pieces that are structured with that song in mind.
Sound Shapes’ soundtrack is made up of some great artists. As you might have read in our news section previously, Beck, the artist behind songs like “Devil’s Haircut” and “The New Pollution," is contributing three songs exclusively to the game – “Cities,” “Touch the People” and “Spiral Staircase”. Though we’ll have to wait until the game releases next week to hear the whole things, knowing how well his mind works (especially with two turntables and a microphone – we had to say it), we’re eager to see what he has to offer.
That’s just part of the soundtrack picture. Master deejay Deadmau5 is providing a few hit tracks (remember when he was talking about the game and then teased how he “lost” his PlayStation Vita?), along with Jim Guthrie and I Am Robot and Proud, among others. In fact, this could be one of Sony’s more innovative soundtracks since DYAD dropped on the Network last month. And considering how great that game turned out to be, that’s really saying something.
As we stated, Sound Shapes was built with relaxation in mind. There’s no real way to “lose” lives or face death throughout the game, though you will be tasked to collect little pieces to get the most out of it. In addition, you can also put together your own stages using a great compilation tool, made up of 100 unique sounds and shapes, along with little ditties that you can mix together with ease. You’ll then be able to share them with others through the PlayStation Network, and download what others have to offer for no additional charge, expanding the replay value well beyond the usual means of downloadable fare.
One other thing worth nothing about Sound Shapes is its accessibility. The PlayStation Vita has been in dire need of good downloadable software as of late, and we’re happy to report that the game will be available on the same day as its PlayStation 3/Network counterpart. What’s more, if you buy one version, you can access the Cross-Play feature and download it for free on the other, getting two versions in one. And they both have the same sharing features and interface, so there are hardly any limitations to face…that is, as long as you can build levels, right? And PlayStation Plus members can pre-order it now at a discount, for $12, and score a free PlayStation background for good measure.
As we stated, we left a video clip for you below that features some behind-the-scenes work on the game, as well as what you can expect from it. But honestly, there are hardly any games that really mesmerize your ears as much as your other senses, so you might want to take advantage of Sound Shapes when it drops. It’s like a party in your game system…no matter which one you choose. Heck, we’ll take both.