E3 2011: Sound Shapes Hands-On Preview

By Lauren Alessandra on June 13, 2011, 10:14PM EDT

Quite a few games were showcased on the PlayStation Vita at E3 last week, but only two were platformers: the always adorable LittleBigPlanet from Media Molecule and Sound Shapes, created and designed by Everyday Shooter's Jonathan Mak. While LittleBigPlanet impressed players with it's PS3 level graphics, Sound Shapes did so with its extremely simple, yet intuitive design aesthetic.

Created by Everyday Shooter's Jonathan Mak, Sound Shapes is a game that revolves around a small yellow orb that the player moves around within a tiny musical world. Each level has only a select few colors featured, the most vibrant being the yellow orb, white orb, and the dreadful red shapes. You're the Yellow Orb, which can stick itself to walls, objects, and even ceilings. I've no clue as to what the yellow object is, however it moves sort of how Spider Man would on a city skyskraper.

As the player roams around, they need to collect small white orbs. These white orbs are key to creating the background music that continues through the level. Over time, players will notice the music evolves from a simple beat to an epic melody. One orb could produce a bass sound, while the other a simplistic tune.

Now, the game is nothing without a few obstacles in the way. There are the dreaded red objects planted randomly around the levels which will insta-kill you, sending you back to their last checkpoint. These red objects come in various shapes, ranging from squares, orbs, or hammers. They can keep a player from jumping on certain objects or just squish them to bits. If the player loses any of the white orbs after getting hurt, the player will also lose the sounds it produced, so in order to keep the music alive, the player needs to stay alive themself!

One of the more interesting features of Sound Shapes is the level creator. Using the touch screen, players can place obstacles, orbs, and objects in their very own Sound Shape world. They can also set the sound the white orbs produce based on their coordinates with in a map. This lets players create an entirely original melody all on their own. Players can make it as impossibly hard or as extremely simplistic as they would like. This opens up the doors for endless hours of gameplay on trains, subways, or any other place you can think of. Players can even share their creations with others making this not only a personal experience, but a social one.

The best bit of the level editor is that it's been designed to fully utilize the Vita's offerings. Using both the front and rear touch pads, you can place and size various elements, from orbs to platforms. Creating a level in Sound Shapes is a surprisingly intuitive and easy task.

Of all the games playable for the PlayStation Vita, Sound Shapes is definitely one to keep an eye on. You can sit playing this for hours and hardly feel anything but satisfied. Keep a look out for Sound Shapes with the release of the PlayStation Vita later this year. It just might be one of the main selling points it has to offer.

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