A beautiful marriage
More importantly—given Sound Shapes is a video game in addition to an art project—it's a much better platformer than I thought it would be.
You control a small, nameless blob, a pathetic-looking entity at the mercy of its world (think LocoRoco). In the words of the game, red things hurt it. The little orb can stick to certain surfaces and scrunch itself up to gain speed and drop from walls and ceilings onto platforms below. Unlike in LittleBigPlanet, another creative Sony platformer, the controls here are pitch-perfect on both Vita and PS3, and the platforming is challenging, but never frustratingly so (until the Death Mode levels that are unlocked after the campaign is complete).
Navigating the physical manifestations of songs from Beck, Deadmau5 and the like allows you to experience those sounds in new ways, not least because you'll be able to influence them directly. In place of the obligatory coins/gems/rings/insert-other-platformer-trope-here, scattered liberally around each level are…well, they call them coins, but they're more like sound loops that are activated as you collect them.
Think of each level's many separate screen-cells as bars of sheet music. The coins represent the notes, their shapes indicating different instruments and sounds. As you collect them, their sounds are added to the song in a loop that only ends once you've advanced a few screens past them.
It's unique in a platformer to have such an immediately tangible reward for picking up those "coins." And each song becomes iterative, constantly building and shedding noises as your movements and actions add and subtract elements of the mix.
So what does any of that have to do with the future?