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'Sound Shapes' makes the PlayStation Vita a sequencer, level design an art form (video)

'Sound Shapes' makes the PlayStation Vita a sequencer, level design an art form (video)

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From Jonathan Mak, the creator of Everyday Shooter on PSN, comes Sound Shapes for the PlayStation Vita. I got some more play time with it, after my promising four minute demo on Monday, and I like what I'm seeing. It's a pretty bizarre title, with graphics that look more like they belong in some Flash game from 2003 than in a flagship release for a next-gen console. Still, once you spend a bit of time with the game, it makes a lot of sense. The actual gameplay is simple platforming, using the d-pad and two of the face buttons for jumping and "running" (you're a little sticky blob, when you go fast you don't stick), but the level editor is a touchscreen extravaganza.

Using the front touchscreen you place notes and obstacles on a grid that ultimately represents a loop creator. You can even place multiple things at once using multitouch. Then, when you need to reposition stuff, you tap the front screen to select your target, and then you use the back touchpad to reposition and scale objects with pinching and twisting motions. As the player collects the notes they rebuild your loop step by step, but they do it to a continuous beat provided by the specific placement of other objects in your level -- like a periodically flashing obstacle that doubles as a kick drum, for instance. Level design is a delicate balance of finding something that sounds good, and finding something that's challenging and fun for the spikey blob to traverse.

It's easy to jump between play testing your level and editing the level, constantly making tweaks, and while I'm sure the "campaign" is fun to play and listen to, I can imagine myself camped out in the level editor for a solid year's worth of commuting time. Check out a video of Sound Shapes after the break.