The jingle train is back at full speed, beginning the long journey from 100 platinums towards the 150 milestone. Sound Shapes was the first title to get us underway, accounting for PJs 101, 102 & 103. That’s right, one game, three platinum jingles.
Developed by Queasy Games, Sound Shapes is a musical platformer featuring an illustrious soundtrack from the likes of deadmau5 and Beck, that takes advantage of the Cross-Save compatibility of the PS Vita, the PS3 and of course the PS4. This means, get the platinum trophy on one of these consoles, and you can load up your save on your other consoles for an instant pop platinum. Every trophy hunters dream right?
If that wasn’t appeal enough, what if I told you, that just like the double trophy games of the past such as Sly Cooper: Theives in Time and Motorstorm RC, Sound Shapes is a really enjoyable playing experience. I should have your attention… Sound Shapes has three steps to reach the three platinums, and I’ll talk about each of them here. Lets start with the campaign.
Sound Shapes has a solitary gold trophy that’s awarded for finishing the campaign mode. The campaign is short, but enjoyable, and is a good introduction to the mechanics and rules of the game, which is essential when it comes to beating ‘death mode’.
Consisting of 5 albums, you should expect to spend between three and four hours travelling through beautifully crafted stages, vibrant with colour and alive with noise. Your progress through the stages is just as dependent on using your eyes as it is using your ears. Platforms appear and enemies attack on the beats playing behind what you see with your eyes, and applying both your visual and hearing senses are key to making it to the end of the levels.
Don’t get distracted by trying to collect all of the additional notes scattered through the levels, you don’t need these for the platinum trophy and they’ll only slow you down and increase your death count.
Beat the campaign and your reward is of course, the aforementioned gold trophy, but also the unlocking of Death Mode and Beat School, where the majority of the trophies are to be earned.
Death Mode is the true beauty of Sound Shapes. Here, you will be given timed challenges in difficult environments isolated from the campaign levels. In each challenge, you’ll be charged with collecting a certain number of notes in a given time period.
Get ready to feel the rage. Some of these challenges are simple, and should only take you a handful of attempts. The others however, will definitely get the blood pumping and induce some real frustration.
Frustration could be seen as a bit of an understatement. There are a few levels to look out for, where I genuinely believe that getting all of the notes in the allotted time comes down to luck. From what I can tell, there are a set number of spawning locations for the notes to appear, but the order of this spawning is completely random. Therefore, you could get five or six in very quick succession, setting you up for a good run, or, you could spawn notes at opposite sides of the map over and over. My advice would to be to just focus on not dying, and eventually, the note spawning gods will shine down upon you and you’ll nail the level.
Death Mode is the real challenge, and the only obstacle between you and your three platinums, so take your time. Savour it, everyone loves a challenge. Pay attention to the beats and the see which attacks correspond with which noise. If you learn the levels the platinum will be yours before you know it.
Our final stop is over at Beat School. This can be found over in the level create section of the game. Creating levels is one section that I didn’t spend much time in, but I can see the appeal of. Your shown how to make levels in the tutorial stages, but it’s never something that has captivated my imagination.
In Beat School you’re tasked with recreating a beat that is played to you at the beginning of the level. You can listen to this beat again a set number of times before you need to make it again on your own.
Now, if you’re musical, then this really shouldn’t be a problem for you. Many of the solutions are very straight forward, due to the limited means of input on home consoles. However, if you don’t want to try it yourself, simply look for the images of the final solutions either on PS Trophies or YouTube.
If you’re looking up the solutions, Beat School should only take you about 20 minutes. That gives an overall platinum time of approximately eight hours. I’m judging this by starting Sound Shapes on Friday evening, and finishing it on Monday evening, without playing at all over the weekend.
Sound Shapes is a great little game. I picked it up in a recent PSN sale for £4, and it was worth every penny. The attention to detail in both the visual and the audio are exceptional, and the fact that it is playable on the Vita makes it even better. It’s a perfect choice for a game on the go, and doesn’t come close to utilising the potential of the PS3 let alone the PS4, so it just feels at home on the handheld.
I’d recommend giving Sound Shapes a try even if you aren’t after the trophies. It’s a fresh perspective on 2D platformers, and it’s reliance on sound rather than just blasting through levels as quickly as possible is unique and enjoyable. Combining talented musicians with challenging platforming is a wonderful combination that warrants the asking price alone.
As you may have seen from one of the screenshots above, next up, I’ll be finishing of Final Fantasy VII, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 and shooting my way through Hard mode on Downwell. If they interest you at all, keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming summaries. To stay tuned to all new posts, follow the blog on twitter @hiiitscore, or myself on PSN @Sethoy.