To play Sounds Shapes without a pair of heavy-duty headphones/earphones is to miss most of the appeal of this upcoming PS Vita exclusive platformer.
Without sound, you’re left with an interesting-looking, but ultimately fairly standard, platformer in which you control a blob jumping from point A to point B in self-enclosed, one screen sections.
Pop in some buds, however, and the game transforms completely into an engaging aural experience.
Bring the noise
Sounds Shapes is a very easy game to explain, which ironically makes the appeal of it harder to describe.
As previously alluded to, you play as a blob with a bulbous eyeball, leaping from platform to platform, sticking to walls, and picking up small circular icons as you go.
There are only two buttons (and the d-pad) to memorise – jump and unstick – with enemies in each of the ‘albums’ (levels, essentially) acting as obstacles, switches or jump pads depending on the chosen stage.
Each screen has a checkpoint or two in easy to reach locations, so death is very much a temporary condition. Instead, the focus is on reaching the end of each stage as quickly as possible with as many ‘notes’ as you can find.
Playing our song
It’s these notes that transform Sound Shapes into another intriguing indie effort for Sony’s portable powerhouse.
Each note adds either a beat or tone to the (at first silent) soundtrack, with the notes found higher up the screen producing a higher pitch.
As these notes build, so too does the soundtrack, starting out as a series of simple beats before climaxing in a thumping/melodic soundtrack.
This soundtrack alters at points during a level, mixing through various styles and adding in extra notes and audio via enemies spitting fire or other such moving elements on screen.
It really does start to feel like you’re playing an album as you reach the end of a stage, with the platforming merely acting as a simple backdrop for the real focus of the game.
We’ll see if Sound Shapes can keep us tapping along with the beat when the game launches on August 7th.
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