Considered as a "musical platformer" by its designer, Sound Shapes is a game by Jonathan Mak's (Everyday Shooter). Players control a ball that must collect musical notes and complete levels. There are five "albums" of levels to complete in the Campaign, as well as Death Mode challenges, a full level editor, and the ability to play levels made by the community.
Many artists collaborated on the development of the game, such as Deadmau5, Beck, and Superbrothers.
Sound Shapes plays in a very similar manner to many 2D platformers, with the main exception being that the player, a ball that vaguely resembles a floating eye, adheres to many surfaces. Rather than scrolling, levels are arranged as a collection of screens (and it is possible to return to previous screens). Players start at a record player entrance, and must find the record player exit to complete the level.
The player's ball must jump around, dodging hazards while collecting as many musical notes as possible. Hazards, defined as "anything red," operate in rhythm with the music; along with non-harmful level elements like platforms and friendly creatures, they contribute to the level's soundscape. The collectible music notes add to the soundscape as well, creating a song from the level itself. Each note plays on the screen it is collected and up to two screens away from it. Players can possibly miss collecting some of these notes; when a level is completed, players are scored on the notes collected and the time taken to complete the level. Completing the level with all notes collected unlocks elements used in that level for use in the Level Editor.
When all levels in the main campaign have been completed, Death Mode is unlocked. Each level has a Death Mode equivalent, which is a grueling single-screen challenge to collect a certain number of randomly-located notes within a specific amount of time that is akin to the "Grab X Bananas" bonuses from DKC3. Each Death Mode level has an associated Trophy.
At any time, players can play Community-made levels made using the game's Level Editor. Players can follow certain level creators to keep up to date with their levels, and can also view the most popular and most played levels. Using the game's Community website (http://www.soundshapesgame.com), players can also queue up levels to play later on the PS3 or Vita.
The Sound Shapes editor is the same tool used by the game's designers to create the levels within the game. Elements such as game objects, enemies, notes, etc. are unlocked by completing the Campaign levels. Items can be placed, resized, rotated, and otherwise manipulated; if the item produces a sound (for instance, an enemy that fires a laser), the tempo and pattern of the item's effect can also be modified. On the Vita, many of these editing functions make use of the rear touchscreen.
Before a level can be completed, the creator must be able to complete it as a player at least once. The level can then be uploaded to the Sound Shapes servers where it can be played and rated by other Sound Shapes players. Levels created on the Vita are playable on the PS3, and vice-versa.
When all the Campaign levels have been completed, Beat School is unlocked. These are simple challenges requiring the player to recreate a beat, chord, or audio loop by placing notes within the play area. It requires one to listen closely to the audio and tempo to decipher which notes produce which sounds at which points. Each Beat School challenge has an associated Trophy.
Around the time of the game's release, Queasy Games confirmed incoming downloadable content for Sound Shapes.
- Acoustic Sound Pack ($0.99): This pack includes five new instruments usable in the level editor. It includes a mix of instruments such as guitars, piano and kalimba.
- Drum Kit Sound Pack ($0.99): A series of new drum sounds that can be added to custom levels. Sounds include snares, hi-hats, toms as well as an electronic kit among other new sounds.
- 8-Bit Sound Pack ($0.99): This chiptune-themed sound pack allows the player to compose with sounds reminiscent of 1980s 8-bit gaming. Additionally, modern electronic synths, bass lines, and loops are found as well
- Curved Terrain Pack (FREE): This free pack doesn't include any new sounds but it gives players the ability to add smooth surfaces to the game's platforms and beats. This pack is required for compatibility with future downloadable packs.
- Holiday Sound Pack (FREE): Includes five new Christmas-themed instruments for use in creating Christmas songs and carols.
- Car Mini-Album & Creator Pack ($1.99): Introduces a car as a playable character including new level units like loops and speed boosts. This pack also includes new sounds and trophies.
- Community Milkcrate & Six New Albums (FREE): A pack of community made levels and albums released as official DLC including developer commentary.
(Music by I Am Robot and Proud, graphics by Vic Nguyen)
- Hills n' Spills
- Sparkle Darkle
- Sneak n' Deke
- Rowdy Cloudy
(Music by Jim Guthrie, graphics by Superbrothers)
- Research & Development
- Event Horizon
(Music by I Am Robot and Proud, graphics by Colin Mancer)
(Music by Deadmau5, graphics by PixelJam)
(Music by Beck, graphics by Pyramid Attack)
- Touch the People
- Spiral Staircase