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Sound Shapes is the genesis of something remarkable—the interactive album—yet it's still totally accessible. Its combination of modern, surreal and pixel art with stellar tracks from some incredible artists is truly distinctive, despite it wearing its influences on its lovingly-crocheted sleeves.
I'm hardly fazed by minor complaints like an inadequate community hub or a lack of multiplayer (missed opportunity of the year); and the relatively short length of its campaign is mitigated by Death Mode's difficult challenge levels, Beat School tutorials and the level creation and sharing tools.
And what is there can hardly be described to anyone who hasn't played it. Each level reacts to your every input in countless unpredictable and wonderful ways. Volcanoes spit out arcing fireballs with a noise that sounds like a kid blowing a raspberry. Square spiders double in speed and let out a "coo" when you jump on top of them, and moles wrapped in cabbage hiccup in time with the beat.
Menacing cameras follow you through the Superbrothers levels, which look and play like the touch-control masterpiece Sword and Sworcery would if it was a platformer—and set in a futuristic, Matrix-like office complex built on a demonic computer burial ground.
Beck's lyrics manifest on moving blocks whose properties are altered when the "Loser" singer croons the words "hurt" or "lose." Deadmau5's first track is like a game of Space Invaders on acid, and the rest of them only get crazier from there. Do yourself a favor for this one and hook up a subwoofer.
Kudos to Queasy Games for not squandering this wonderful opportunity by half-baking any aspect of it. The tracks themselves will make a stellar soundtrack album when it's inevitably released, though I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stop picturing Beck's "Aaaaahhhhh"s as fluffy, blue clouds.