As a gaming enthusiast I’m always interested in new gaming experiences, but every once in awhile I feel compelled to go back and put in some serious time replaying some of my favorite games from the preceding years. In that spirit, I have created a new series of writing pieces titled Replaying the Classics, wherein I discuss the games that I have replayed recently. Unlike my Late to the Party series, my goal with these writing pieces is not so much to give a strong analysis of a particular game, but rather to give an informal recounting of a game and to try to convey to the reader why it’s one of my favorites. I do not come to you this time as a game reviewer, but merely as a friend wanting to have a casual chat about what he’s been playing. Today, let’s take a seat in our comfy chairs and talk about Sound Shapes.
Long ago, when I had finally burned out on the Guitar Hero series, I thought I was more or less done with musical games. But then I played Sound Shapes. Introducing me to a genre of games that I didn’t know existed, Sound Shapes allowed me to jam out once again while playing video games. To this very day if you were to ask me at any given moment of free time whether or not I’d be down for a few levels of Sound Shapes my answer would always be yes. It’s that good.
Sound Shapes is a musical platforming game in which you control a nameless blob that rolls and jumps across the screen. Actually, saying that the blob is nameless would not be totally accurate, as any long-time listener of Podcast Beyond! knows that the blob’s name is Timmy O’Toole. As you traverse each area you pick up sounds for the music that is playing on a loop in that area. Each musical note you collect builds the song and when you grab the last note of a particular area it’s a joy to hear the entire melody. Every level ends with you jumping onto a small record player and you’re shown the basic stats of your performance before you move on to the next level.
Now, I could understand if you’re a bit skeptical about Sound Shapes from the description I just gave. The game sounds simplistic, and in a sense it is, but Sound Shapes is a great game in that although it does only a few things, all of the things it does are done exceptionally well. Firstly, the music is fantastic with dope beats from artists like Deadmau5 and Beck. Secondly, each stage has colorful art styles. Thirdly, the levels are well designed and strike a good balance of challenge and ease. And fourthly, Sound Shapes works for just about any play length. Since each level taking only a few minutes to complete, you can sit down and play for five minutes or five hours, and walk away satisfied no matter how long or short you play.
Much like Flower, Sound Shapes is a great game to relax to. Sure, you can try to tackle the game’s harder challenges or try to speed run levels, but my preferred method of playing Sound Shapes is to maneuver the blob across each area at a steady pace and enjoy the music. In fact, at certain points in the game I frequently will stop for a minute or two just to take in the beats and mentally jam out. Ok, so I’ll also oftentimes bop my head and maybe move my arms a little, so it’s not entirely a mental jam session.
It won’t take you that long to reach the end of the main campaign of Sound Shapes, but the game doesn’t end there. In fact, you could argue that completing the levels that come packaged with the game is only the beginning of your Sound Shapes experience. Sound Shapes comes with a suite of creation tools that allow you to build your own levels and music and share them with the world. If you don’t want to create anything yourself you can just download any of the myriad creations other people have uploaded, and the development team at Sound Shapes has even gone so far as to curate many user generated levels so that you can easily find and download the best levels that the Sound Shapes community has to offer. The creativity of the Sound Shapes community never ceases to impress me, both in terms of level design and the musical beats they produce.
Speaking of beats, I think we just collected the last note to this one and I’m seeing the record player right in front of us, so it must be the end of today’s chat. I hope you enjoyed our discussion of Sound Shapes any maybe it’s even inspired you to check the game out for yourself. Until next time, enjoy gaming.