June 9, 2012

E3 2012 – Sound Shapes

Sound Shapes E3 2012
Sound Shapes’ quirky visual style was seduction at first sight, a natural fit on Sony’s new handheld, with organic and charming designs that offered surface reminders of Sony Japan’s Patapon and Loco Roco, as well as the continuing work of Q-Games.

But while Sound Shapes has always presented easy eye candy for me, it’s never simply represented another pretty face at the dancehall.

As with the aforementioned titles, Sound Shapes offers a consistent sense of tactile joy for the fingers, even as they shift from rolling the small ball at the center of the game through trippy garden environments to old school platforming challenges that can find one stepping outside to curse the performance of said fingers.

Sound Shapes is also a tricky beast when it comes time for a summary of impressions.

There are times when Sound Shapes presents peaceful exploration. There are times when Sound Shapes feels like an old school Mario platforming challenge. There are times when Sound Shapes offers up a retro Atari atmosphere.

There are times I could imagine playing it beneath a tree with a sense of Zen on the air, and times I imagine I’ll need to run my fingers under ice cold water to prep them for the challenge. And at all times, there is the sense that Sound Shapes offers an endless potential for a wide range of experiences, all within the deceptively simplistic framework at the core of what Queasy Games has created.

Organic is probably the best word to describe Sound Shapes, given that the game’s stages, which are presented as albums ready to be placed on a record player, has brought together many designers to stretch the limits of the game and my understanding of what Sound Shapes is all about with each album.

Prior to E3, I had the opportunity to sample the PixelJam album, which was a retro flavored play session filled with perilous platform challenges and deviously timed lasers. And now with E3 2012, the most recent addition to this organic experience was news that Superbrothers has created an album for the game as well, with Corporeal aiming to explore “the way in which music can free us from the corporate machine… if it doesn’t crush us first.”

I suppose the most important aspect of Sound Shapes at present is that the game has a long awaited release date, hitting us rather soon on August 7th, 2012. It was also announced that for the price of $14.99, players will find themselves owning the game across two platforms for the price of one, with Sound Shapes playable on the Vita and the PlayStation Network.

This means that crossplay will allow said players to take the game from their homes to the road and back again via the magic of the cloud – which saves me a lot of pretty words, given that the range of content and the ability to create your own makes for a ridiculously cost effective means of satisfying your curiosity without waiting to hear a final verdict from the likes of me.

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