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[PSN Review] Sound Shapes

Artistic platformer, please meet my friend the music mixer?

What is it?:
You’re a ball, with a tail of sorts, that rolls around and will occasionally find things to climb into/interact with.

The design of the main menu originally gives you access to 3 main areas of the game: campaign, editor, community, and, of course, settings. I’d recommend sticking to playing through each level first in campaign. The design for the campaign mode is set up where you select a CD/record, and then select a track to “play.” There are 5 records to play, each with a variety of different types of music, complexity, and design. The game takes you on a path to teach you how to create your own levels. In each level, there are different ways to interact with the different sounds. There are ‘notes’ you collect in each level, and ‘check points’ to hit that count as collectables as well. You do all this as quickly as possible, due to a timer running for each level.

Once you complete all the records, you open up Death Mode, and University within the editor. Each level in each of these modes grants a trophy upon completion. Death Mode is extremely difficult but fun. It will require you to complete a task within a certain time limit in most cases.

  • The University is a mode where one listens to a sampling of sounds, then tries to create the sample of sounds you just heard.
  • Each mode presents a different set of challenges and enjoyments. I loved the Create mode portion. It gave me a good structure to build my own levels if I choose to do so.
  • The Community section of the game has an endless number of possibilities. See the link to view some of the levels that have been created.

Here’s a link to the Sound Shapes Community page.

The controls are limited. You can use the digital or analog controllers to move around; there is a jump button and a speed up button. The rest of the controls are altered by different environments, which give the gameplay a nice change of pace.

Music and Level Design:
The different records give enough variety to the different elements each introduces, but it did start to get stale. However, the last record introduced some fun elements. It isn’t as long as the others, but it is the one that was mixed by Beck. The actual number of levels in the base game isn’t vast.

From collecting all the ‘notes’/collectibles in the game, to finishing Death Mode, to exploring all the Community levels, and finally, to getting the quickest time in a level, this game will have you busy for quite some time. If you get bored of that, you can try your hand at creating your own music and levels. The game could be a retail release; it easily has more value in it than a lot of retail games.

For anyone who likes music and likes 2D platformers, this game is for you. Though, at times, it may frustrate you, it is a beautiful blend of art, game, and fun.

[review pros=”Lots of depth
Community Levels are complex
Easy to play for small amounts of time” cons=”Takes a while to get into it” score=93]

This review is based on a PS3 copy of Sound Shapes, purchased by the reviewer