Are you an over scheduled mom with little time to figure out technology? Or are you a technology guru who loves sharing tips with others?
We cover different ways to make technology work for you without spending hours researching and learning how to do it on your own.
In August, Sony came out with a great came called Sound Shapes for the PS Vita and PS3. When I first saw the screenshots of the game, I was disappointed. The scenes were simple, not real-life applicable, and greatly lacking the zest and excitement of today’s video games. Nonetheless, as a PlayStation Family Ambassador, I set out to try out the game and see if it lived up to its acclaims, which by the way, were very praiseworthy.
After playing the game for 10 minutes on my PS Vita, I was hooked*. I admit, I’m jaded my today’s latest video game technology and thrills, which almost caused me to bypass this game. That would have been a mistake. The object of the game is to take your “ball” along a sometimes rocky path to collect circles, or “coins”, which bring about added music to the soundtrack playing in the background. As you roll along, you can jump up and over objects, stick onto walls and defy gravity, and speed roll which gives you momentum to jump farther and faster. Once you roll from one side of the screen to the other successfully, you go to the next screen. You can actually roll along your merry way without reaching for any coins, and it still can be perilous, but doing so limits the “life” of the game, as the circles bring about additional notes to the musical score.
The game is divided into five “albums:”
Hello, World with music by I am Robot and Proud
Corporeal with music by Jim Guthrie
Beyonder with music by I am Robot and Proud
D-Cade with music by deamau5
Cities with music by Beck
I particularly liked the Corporeal album, as it reminded me of my corporate days, working in a big building with thousands of employees. This level takes you through floors of an office building while workers drink coffee, give presentations, and other corporate activities. The music is really catchy and you can’t help but move to the beat.
Admittedly, I was cautious about letting my daughter play Sound Shapes because I was afraid she was going to jam through all the levels of all 5 albums and finish the complete game for me. But I have since found that:
1.) There are SO many levels, this would take a LONG time.
2.) You can replay the levels again and try to quicken your time. Phew!
Sound Shapes is a fun game for all ages. Once you get past its seemingly simplistic nature, you will find a lot of richness and strategy to the game.
very entertaining, addictive, you really need to come up with good strategies to advance yourself in the game and gather more notes
as the game progresses, so do they challenges
engages both adults and kids
added element where you begin creating the game and your own scenes
for one price you get Sound Shapes for PS Vita and your PS3, which are synced via the cloud
you can “die” as many times as necessary, you are not limited to a certain number of available lives
there are countless levels available as community members upload their own creations of album play
some of the challenges are hard to figure out and there is no “help” to help you
it is only a single player game
The goal of the game is to add music and sound to your play, which of course is challenging as the coins are placed in exceedingly more difficult spots as you roll along. Though you’re not penalized for dying (which happens often at times), dying does add to the time it takes for you to complete a level. The less time it takes to get through a level, the better your score.
Once you advance through all the levels, two modes open up, Death Mode and Beat School. I’m not done yet with all the album levels, so I can’t show these modes to you. But I’m excited to know that there is even more levels after I finish the five albums I’ve been working on.
Death Mode – you find your ball in tough positions and you need to capture as many objects as possible in a limited time. Death Mode is only for the most advanced in this game.
Beat School – you put together beats using Sound Shapes tools and the game assesses how well you did.
Build Your Own Game
As mentioned above in the Pros, Sound Shapes allows you to create your own levels using the Editor found on the Home screen. You can create up to 30 screens. As you progress in the various levels while playing the five albums, you will unlock instruments, basic terrain, basic objects, and color schemes to use in the Editor to create your own screens. The further you progress in the albums, the more objects/sounds are unlocked.
As you create your own screens to play, you can use the built-in touch pad on the back of your PS Vita to move objects around. I love all the controls the PS Vita has, and Sound Shapes makes good use of them. I had fun making my first scene, although I’ll tell you, I’m no graphic artist. But as I unlock more sounds/objects, I can come back and enhance and/or tweak my scenes. You can switch easily between edit mode and play mode to test out your new creation while you create it.
Here’s the first screen I created. It’s rudimentary, but as I advance I’ll obtain more objects to build my world more. Anything red you must avoid or you ball will get killed. Anything white, you ball will stick to, allowing you to defy gravity. With time and the right inclination, you could create an awesome game with scenes to advance to either to the top, bottom, or right of the screen.
What’s even cooler, is that you never really ever run out of levels on Sound Shapes because, like you, others are creating their own levels and sharing them in the PS community. Their levels are free for you to play as well, as long as your logged into the PS Community. How cools is that? I’m guessing there are well oever 100, if not 1,000 custom creations available to play online, and some very clever ones, I might add. I’ve played a few of them. And each of them have different music to them. Here are some of the PlayStation Blog’s top community pics for September: Pull Shapes: Sound Shapes Community Picks.
A Mother’s Perspective
I absolutely love Sound Shapes. In a sense, it brings me back to my Pong days where less is more, yet Sound Shapes is so artistically done and much more enticing than Pong. My daughter has been playing the game with me and although it’s fun to watch, I am eagerly await my turn. We typically say we each get 5 deaths before the next person’s turn.
For two years in a row now, Sound Shapes was awarded the Best Handheld Game by the Critics Awards. I’d have to say it is now my favorite PS Vita game. I also love the fact that when you buy Sound Shapes either on the PS Vita or for the PS3, you automatically get the title for free on the other platform. So now I can play either on my PS Vita or on the big screen with the PS3. This is the first cross-over game like this I have like this.
I also think it’s amazing that you can create your own game scenes. If you love challenge, you can add lots of challenges with your favorite obstacles in the game. If you love making artistic scenes, than you can do that. I suspect that making your own level is a bit complex yet for my daughter, who is 9. But within a couple of years, I can see that she would have an absolute blast with this part of the game. The idea of creating your own video game scenes would really excite tweens and teens.
Sound Shapes is a must have game for any family. Sound Shapes sells for only $14.99 for BOTH versions – the PS Vita or PS3! So that means if you buy it on your Vita, it’s also available on your PS3 as well, for no extra charge. Now that’s a bargain for such a great game. I don’t say this very often, but Sound Shapes is a must have game!
*I was given a code to download Sound Shapes as a member of the PlayStation Family. I really do love this game.