So many games that I have reviewed and that we all have played fit the video game mold. Beat level one, to get to level two, collectSo many games that I have reviewed and that we all have played fit the video game mold. Beat level one, to get to level two, collect one-hundred coins in order to get an extra life, or beat this boss to unlock a new upgrade. Objectives, quests, upgrades, and unlocks give you a list of things to complete in order to receive a reward. Which is fantastic...but sometimes a game comes along that allows you to experience something completely different.
I’m the Flannel Fox Tim Swiernik and I reviewed Shape of the World.
When first downloading Shape of the World I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and honestly was not very excited. Being the epitome of the objective gamer myself, walking simulators rarely do it for me. So with my long train ride ahead of me I plugged in my headphones and began playing.
Starting in a dream like, brightly lit area, I wasn’t sure if the game had finished loading or if I was now in control. So I began to move my joysticks and feeling a bit clunky at first, started to explore this hazy environment. As you walk around, the outline of an upside down V appears and lures you toward it, drawing you like a moth to a flame.
On my way towards the floating V, some glowing rock-like formations grow out of the ground, along with a control prompt showing you that the right trigger allows you to interact with the environment. Touching all of the stones triggers a fantastic sound that you will end up longing for throughout your journey in Shape of the World,
Little stairs form a path for you to venture down toward the sky shape and immediately when you get on the sky stairs your speed increases greatly and you zoomed to the next area.
Eventually reaching the shape in the sky, you walk through it and POOF,
Everything changes. Color schemes flip, new environments burst from the ground, and a new sky shape will be leading you in a new direction.
From there you continue your journey from shape to shape, working your way through this mystical environment.
Along with the right trigger allowing you interact with things, the B button jumps, and the left trigger allows you to throw seeds. When you throw seeds, trees grow instantly, and with an endless supply of seeds you can add a cluster of trees whenever you please. Along with making this wacky world a more beautiful place, they help you move around quickly. If you interact with a tree, it destroys the tree, but dashes you forward and plays a note. So dashing through trees in rapid succession plays a little tune for you and don’t feel too bad about dashing through the trees as the environments are procedurally generated and each time that you walk back through them they will generate in a different way.
Along with having an endless amount of seeds to toss, you don’t take any damage, and there are no real objectives. It’s a seamless experience that I had to stop thinking about and just experience, as it’s quite intuitive you will eventually end up where you are supposed to be. You do run across little alien vegetable-like pick ups around the world that don’t do anything but fill up a catalog on the pause screen. It felt nice after munching through a new veggie to check my pause screen catalogue and see another item in my repertoire, but these are by no means necessary to complete the campaign.
Sights and sounds
While a lot of 3d indies employ the low poly vivid color artstyle like Morphite and Mulaka, Shape of the World feels very special to witness throughout your journey. With every new environmental change the colors shift dramatically, switching from a dark underground cave to a vividly uplifting mountain top in the snap of a finger, creates a specific feeling for each of the worlds that you explore. Switching between schemes so many times that I found myself feeling nostalgic for certain areas in the game, that really struck a chord with me.
The transitions between environments along with the unique mechanics of the game are elevated with the fantastic sound design. From the interaction with huge glowing pillars, to the steps that let you know before you even see them, that you will soon be gliding through the air toward something new. A specific moment when you are trudging up a mountain in the pouring rain then the colors change, the rain clears, made me want to take a deep breathe and feel the cool mountain air glide over my skin.
Standing on an undulating staircase miles about the ground, watching mountains in the distance build themselves, while whales fly passed me in the sky is simply breathtaking. Shape of the World is an amazing experience from beginning to end, without any traditional narrative, I remember my journey like a story that I cannot put into words, but a chain of different feelings with a fantastic ending. Honestly, everyone should experience what Shape of the World has to offer for themself.
Be sure to watch my video review at my YouTube channel TheFlannelFox… Expand