Sunday, July 22, 2012

How Did I Forget About Sound Shapes?

So, being one of the first wave of titles really announced for the Vita (then NGP), Sound Shapes has surely been in the back of all our minds for quite a while.  And there has been news coming out for it steadily since the early stages of the Vita's release, as Sound Shapes, er, shaped up more and more in development, but I suppose I filed them all aside in lieu of not being release date announcements.  But I suspect that it was a little too much, as even when the release date was finalized through the PSN PLAY promotion (August 7th, for those interested, which should be all of you) I haven't really given it too much thought.  So tonight when I was anxiously looking about for something to talk about, I saw the latest news on it, the fact that three new Beck Songs will be in the game, I had a moment where all of that excitement and such that I should have had going for weeks now hit me at once.  So much so that I wondered just how I left it overlooked so pointedly to this moment, but that doesn't matter so much as I am making steps to rectify that now.

In that vein, let's sort of re-familiarize ourselves with the news that has come out about the game in recent memory, shall we?  The biggest news, I suspect, is that some time prior to E3, Sound Shapes was announced to be a PS3 title as well which was sort of a double-edged sword, of course.  People will always complain when a game is not available on another system, as well as when a game is announced for one system, and is then later moved to something else.  Because, in terms of the latter, it makes the original version 'less special' or other such nonsense.  I'm sure others have already claimed that a PS3 version simply shows a complete lack of faith in the Vita to carry the game and blah blah blah, nobody cares.  The upside to this, however, was that everybody, regardless of owning a Vita or PS3 or both, gets to enjoy the game at the same price - $14.99 (or $11.99 if you have Plus).  And when I say the same price, I mean the same price overall, as if you buy one version, you get the other version on your account.  So if you own one system only, Sound Shapes will be there waiting for you if you pick up the other eventually.  Obviously any DLC purchased will work on both versions as well, should you go that route.

Now the question swings to "Okay, it's a game about music, so who all is involved?", which is an easy thing to answer of course, but not exactly a short answer to give.  Attached to the game already is Beck (as mentioned above), Superbrothers, Jim Guthrie (same link) and Deadmau5 who you all might have heard about by now.  Just...maybe.  You know, people who clearly have had no musical impact or anything like that.  (Of course I'm being facetious.)  That's all that has been announced so far and I imagine it might be all that'll be announced for the game proper.  Of course, this is where you have to wonder about DLC and consider that they could technically try and woo just about anybody they want.  It's a musical game, after all, which means by its very nature that it's supposed to be a varied thing in its own build.  While I could suggest a few people I would buy on-sight (Daft Punk, of course), I'm not really going to put down a whole lot here, as I'll choose to simply be surprised.

We know what the game is 'about' in a way, what with all the talk of music and such, but that leaves the very real question of, well, what -is- the game about?  The game is a platformer built around music.  That is the simple answer.  The complex answer is....well....complex.  You'd be best served finding one of the many youtube videos about the game to help you with understanding the concept.  (I'm not linking any here because they're all in the Blog posts I've linked already)  But allow me to try, because when I say it's a platformer built around music, I mean exactly that.  The level creation tools (you can make your own levels, of course) have you make a song first and then you tool the level you make around that so you're running through parts of the song as you go through the level for an interactive music experience.  It sounds -really- cool just as a concept and, after looking at some of the videos, I'm convinced that it works in practice as well.  Because, I mean, I see it work in the videos, especially the Jim Guthrie video, as he goes through the process of making a level.  It doesn't show the entire process of course, but it seems fairly intuitive.

I'm not too sure how successful I'll be in the whole creating music thing, but I'm more than willing to give it a shot, of course.  Being that I'm in Plus and I'm interested in the game, I think $12 for two copies of the game is more than fair and will likely be buying it for my Vita as my new "Play whenever I have a minute" game over Treasures of Montezuma Blitz, hopefully.  Or at least being -one- of said games, since I gotta level with you, I'm friggin' seeing in match-three vision I play ToMB so much.  It's ridiculous.  Getting to enjoy some new music while also playing a new game, a platformer at that, is tantalizing, so I don't see a way I would be able to think I could pass it up.  Let's hope that others feel the same way come August 7th, as I really want this game to succeed, if just because it's a different game, and if just because it's been associated with the Vita since it was announced.  Would be a nice bit of validation, I suppose.

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