Sound Shapes (PS3/PS Vita)
Developer: Queasy Games
Release date: August 7, 2012
With the advent of DLC, DRM and all other manner of so-called advancements in gaming, many assume that our future will be mired in creative stagnancy and money-grubbing. But they're wrong—and Sound Shapes is all the proof anyone should need.
The hype train for Sound Shapes never really left the station, in part, I think, because it's so difficult to do the game justice in trailers and press releases. On paper, it's another quirky-indie-surrealist platformer with a tacked-on soundtrack full of big names like Beck and Deadmau5.
But Sound Shapes is so much more than the sum of its parts. It's more like the amplification of them.
Here's how it works: electro-house guru Deadmau5, indie rocker Beck, Sword & Sworcery-composer Jim Guthrie, and Canadian electronic artist I Am Robot And Proud each composed a three to five-song "album" (in the case of I Am Robot, two of them) for Sound Shapes. Then graphic artists and level designers Vic Nguyen, Superbrothers (also of Sword & Sworcery fame), Colin Mancer, PixelJam, and Pyramid Attack shaped unique platforming levels around each track. The whole thing was orchestrated by Queasy Games' Shaw-Han Liem and Jonathan Mak, creator of the 2007 indie PlayStation Network hit Everyday Shooter.
The result of all that collaboration between visual and musical artists is a near-perfect synesthetic experience—it marries sound and visuals in such a way that the two senses are nearly indistinguishable from one another. You see every sound and hear every object in the game. Nothing moves without adding to the general cacophony, yet somehow it still works to create some truly lovely pieces of music.