Sound Shapes

Common Sense Media says

Fun indie combines music, platforming, and creativity.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game promotes creativity, music appreciation, and non-violent problem-solving.

Positive role models

There are no real characters in this game, but players may find role models in the game's community, where they will find talented level designers with skills worth aspiring to.

Ease of play

This game employs a simple but unusual mechanic where players control whether their blob sticks to or falls away from surfaces. It takes a while to get used to and could cause a bit of frustration, even among older players. However, the difficulty never ramps up to the nigh-impossible levels seen in many other indie platformers.  

Violence

One level has missiles flying through the air and some highly stylized cartoonish explosions. Should the player's blob run into a red object -- a wall, spikes, one of the game's odd looking enemy creatures -- it will disappear before being reset at the nearest checkpoint. 

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Names of a few musical artists, including Beck, appear prominently in the game. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Minor privacy and safety concerns: Players can share levels with one another within an open community. However, communication is limited to the text names users assign to the levels they create, meaning there is little opportunity for kids to encounter foul language or share identifying information. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sound Shapes is a downloadable platformer and music creation game available for both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. It includes a simple but powerful level creator that encourages players to tap into their creative side and design their own levels, which double as musical tracks. Players can then share their creations with the game's community. It has a small amount of violence in the form of spiked traps and glowing red enemies that can cause the player's blob to disappear, as well as a level that depicts some very cartoonish missiles and explosions in the background. Parents should also note that while this game never grows too difficult, it does employ an unusual system of movement that may prove a little frustrating for some kids, at least until they get a feel for it.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • music

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • deduction

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content
  • imagination

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Game design is top-notch, with stunning graphics and unique sound palettes. Players unlock new sounds and shapes to use in their own songs by finishing game levels, which is a very effective way to engage.

Learning Approach

Kids learn by experimenting in a very forgiving and encouraging environment. Kids don't learn formal music notation but can easily apply the principles of rhythm, pitch, and timbre they learn to other musical pursuits and projects.

Support

Tutorials explain the basics, but kids learn by experimenting as well. There's an extensive online fan community, accessed through the game, that lets players share their original musical tracks.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • music

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • deduction

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content
  • imagination

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Kids will learn about video game design and music in this quirky little indie platformer. Players can see how songs come together while playing through the story mode, watching and hearing layers of sounds combining to create rich and interesting tunes. Then they can take what they've learned and design their own levels and music using a simple but surprisingly robust editing module. Sound Shapes doesn’t provide any formal training, but it offers a good opportunity to learn more about both music and game making.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Bell

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

SOUND SHAPES is a quirky little platformer in which levels double as evolving musical tracks. Each level, comprised of a single screen, is filled with simple two-dimensional obstacles. The player's blob character can stick to light-colored objects, but not dark-colored ones. Touching red objects and creatures will cause your blob to disappear and reset at the most recent checkpoint. Sounds play as a sweeper bar tracks across the screen, touching music making objects. These sounds create a song that grows in depth and richness as players collect coins scattered across the environment, each of which adds a new noise to the constantly changing soundscape. As players work their way through multiple musical levels grouped together as albums, they unlock elements that they can use to create their own levels via a simple editing kit. Kids can then share their musical video game creations in a safe online community.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Where many modern platformers pride themselves on their unforgiving difficulty, Sound Shapes offers an experience focused on fun, creativity, and music. Make no mistake; some levels demand a deft hand at the controller, and it takes a while to become comfortable with the game's unusual stick-to-certain-surfaces mechanic, which can prove a little aggravating at first. However, frequent checkpoints allow players to keep progressing at a steady pace. This allows kids to fully enjoy the game's great original music, and, eventually, create their own. The level editor is wonderfully easy to understand and use, letting players create playable levels with looping tunes in just a couple of minutes, then upload them for others to try as well. And with an almost limitless number of player-created levels available to download, this $15 PlayStation Network game is well worth picking up.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the use of music in video games. What sort of music do you like? Do you enjoy playing traditional instruments, or do you prefer electronic instruments? Has this game made you more interested in creating your own music?

  • Families can also discuss creating digital media. Do you ever feel shy about sharing? What might make people hesitant to let other people see the things they make? How do you overcome this shyness?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
Price:$14.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:August 7, 2012
Genre:Music and Dance
Topics:Adventures, Music and sing-along
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors) (PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita)

This review of Sound Shapes was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide