Platformers? Love 'em. You can't make enough. Platformers of any type appeal to the gamer in me. But upcoming PS Vita game Sound Shapes also speaks to the musician in me. It's slick platforming and musical creation. You can create music that actually becomes the levels that you platform in. After spending a bit of time trying both sides of this game out and then seeing how they come together, it has moved up to be one of my most anticipated titles.
Sound Shapes creators say that it is both a 2D platformer and a musical instrument. Several games have attempted to mix musical elements into gameplay, but this one goes a step beyond and gives the player total freedom to create a sequence that actually becomes the level. It's not some kind of abstract thing where some somewhat random musical cue will sound after being triggered, either. In this game you're platforming to "play" the music.
The platforming side plays out with a little rolling ball...thing that sticks to all surfaces. The problem is that all the surfaces are small, and that there's always danger (any platform or obstacle colored red) nearby. As the player, you want to avoid red, but look for other environmental pieces to come in contact with. Each one touched initiates a new sound to be played, triggered in its own time in a 16-bar musical loop. You want to come in contact with all of the musical elements so that you are able to hear every bit of the intended composition. The goal is to come in contact with all the musical elements while surviving challenging 2D plaforming levels
What's really cool about Sound Shapes is that the physical placement of each of these musical elements directly corresponds to their musical placement on a 16-step musical/beat grid. That wasn't apparent to me until I saw that each dot on the musical grid was placed exactly where the musical element was in the game stage. In this editor you are able to plunk down dots that trigger notes from several musical instruments or drums, and it gives you just as much creative freedom as any musical sequencer would. Musicians will be impressed by the level of musical freedom provided here, as there's really a full-featured music making program within the level editor.
Your music becomes a level when you throw in background patterns and foreground obstacles, platforms and more. The Vita's touch screen lets you plunk down any object from the menu, while the back screen lets you use multiple fingers to move and resize any object freely. At any time, a soft button on the touch screen can be tapped to try out your level.
Using these tools I was able to compose a short loop of pretty music, add in a solid beat, throw in some platforms and obstacles, and then try it out for myself. That's great about Sound Shapes is that level design can be approached from either the musical or platforming side. Those that are musically inclined will get a kick out of how robust the tools are for creating songs, and then they can make a level around the song, but those into making a deep, challenging platforming can just as easily focus on the level design tools, with the music taking a back seat. Either approach is going to make a stage that looks and sounds cool, and will most likely be fun to play through.
Sound Shapes will take full advantage of the Vita's online connectivity. Uploading and sharing of levels will be supported. You could even take someone else's song or level, remix it and then re-upload it.
I think it's apparent that I'm more excited about the musical side of Sound Shapes than the platforming side, but this title is looking so good that I think any fan of either music or challenging platforming action will be pleased.
|9:00 PM on 05.14.2013|
Dubstep comes to Sound Shapes
As Queasy Games' musical platformer Sound Shapes continues to grow, it was only a matter of time before dubstep found its way in. The wubs are coming by way of a $0.99 Sound Pack that's out right now as DLC. Get out of that ...more
|1:00 PM on 03.12.2013|
Sound Shapes gets vehicles and six new albums via DLC
On the PlayStation Blog, we're told about some new content for Sound Shapes that you're going to want to take a look at. Namely, the game has gotten vehicles (!!!) with a $1.99 Car Mini-Album & Creator Pack that is a bit...more
|12:15 PM on 12.19.2012|
Sound Shapes is getting a free holiday sound pack today
Sound Shapes is a really special game. Even more special is the game's community, which supports it with absolutely amazing new levels/songs every single day. Queasy Games has realized this, and to show their undying love fo...more
|3:00 PM on 12.05.2012|
Sound Shapes: three new Sound Packs, new Terrain Pack
Three new Sound Packs and a Curved Terrain Pack are now available for the music/platformer Sound Shapes, out now for the PS3 and Vita. The three Sound Packs are priced at $0.99 a piece in the new in-game Sound Shapes Music Sh...more
|2:00 PM on 08.18.2012|
Review: Sound Shapes
Innovation. Smart developers seek it out in the hopes of capturing lightning in a bottle: that one grasp at a title that will delight and entertain the masses with its unique, fun take on a familiar theme, heightened through ...more
|6:00 PM on 07.20.2012|
Give this Sound Shapes song by Beck a listen
As you might recall, one of the musicians involved with Sound Shapes is none other than Beck. He has contributed three separate tracks to the music-centric platform game, the first of which, "Cities," is detailed in the vide...more
|11:14 AM on 06.04.2012|
E3: Sound Shapes hits Vita and PlayStation 3 on August 7
Sound Shapes seems to be one of those games most PlayStation Vita owners are excited to get their hands on, and for good reason -- just look at it! Developer Queasy Games has announced the release date: August 7. Better yet,...more
|3:00 PM on 05.18.2012|
Sound Shapes teams up with Superbrothers and Jim Guthrie
Sound Shapes has impressed us time after time, and it's only getting better for the PlayStation Vita platformer. The folks who brought us the remarkable Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP have joined up with developer Que...more
|8:00 PM on 04.17.2012|
Hey! Listen! Deadmau5 & Pixeljam on Sound Shapes for Vita
Toronto-based developer Queasy Games recently showed off their upcoming Vita title, Sound Shapes at a media showcase in New York City. While we've already had some hands-on time with the game, new footage courtesy of the Pla...more
|1:30 PM on 04.29.2013|
Monday Mind Teasers: Rhythm Doctor
For this week's mind teaser we're not just using our brains, we're using our ears. Rhythm Doctor on Newgrounds challenges players to participate in the tunes at specific moments to progress, with an interesting (bizarre) spin...more
|8:30 PM on 04.22.2013|
Idolm@ster Shiny Festa finally hits iOS ... for $54.99
In bringing port of their PSP game Idolm@ster Shiny Festa over to the West, Namco Bandai Games has shown us what a $54.99 iPhone/iPad title looks like. The hit Japanese rhythm series appeared on the Apple App Store today...more
|9:00 PM on 04.17.2013|
Have a teaser trailer for 'music exploration' game Fract
Here's a snazzy-looking trailer for the indie game Fract, described by its creators as "musical exploration" game which is currently on Steam's Greenlight service. It's got some of my favorite things in it: abstrac...more