By: Mike Chen
Editor’s Note: We did a full review of Sound Shapes when it first released as a Vita/PS3 cross-buy. To read that review, click here.
Sound Shapes has been out for a while now – long enough to win some Best of 2012 awards for its presence on the PS Vita. With much of the game already working with Sony’s hardware, it’s not a big surprise that Sound Shapes is going across the entire Sony spectrum. For new PS4 owners, buying Sound Shapes also gives you PS3 and PS Vita versions; anyone who purchased an older platform receives a free download of the PS4 version. But is it any different?
I’ll approach this from two perspectives. First, as someone who never played Sound Shapes before, the game is a seemingly simple 2D platformer with colors and graphics that look like someone took all the fine details out of an Adventure Time episode and left you with the basic shapes of each character. Only two buttons matter — jump and accelerate, and when you accelerate, your character no longer grips the surface. Hitting different colored/shaped target icons produces different musical sounds, ranging from synth melodies to percussion. Each of these forms loops of different lengths, and when you complete a level, you’ll hear a fully composed track.
As a Sound Shapes newbie but someone who grew up versed in music and pretty experienced composing electronic music, this appealed to a lot of my sensibilities and a lot of it is just plain fun. The level design in the relatively short campaign is reminiscent of Ibb & Obb (a fellow indie platformer with similar aesthetics). A LittleBigPlanet-style level editor provides an infinite amount of options, though. The community really shines through, creating levels that range from fast-paced gameplay to completely musical (one of my favorites explicitly stated to not touch the controller).
The PS4 version looks exactly like the other platforms — it’s not pushing any graphical boundaries here. There are a few small differences but nothing that will really impact your experience. The controller’s speaker is used to chime when you hit targets and the light bar pulses to the beat of the music. The touchpad is used during level creation to navigate through screens. Other than that, it’s more or less the same game and putting a new copy on your PS4 really only saves you the effort of loading up your PS3.
Creative and fun, Sound Shapes is a worthy addition to the early PS4 library, particularly for anyone who likes to dabble in music. Just be warned — if you’ve played this on other platforms, there’s not really much of a difference.