Shape of the World is one of those games that is hard to explain. At first, I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s a first person walking sim that has a light-hearted atmosphere with vast open areas to explore, but I just didn’t see the purpose. Wandering around the colorful areas is fun and they’re beautiful to look at for a bit, but I couldn’t progress. It wasn’t until I figured out a way to get to the next area that I felt a sense of satisfaction and discovery that I ended up completing the game in one sitting.
If you’ve played games like Journey or Flow, you’ll feel right at home in this strange place.
Shape of the World begins in a snowy landscape devoid of colour. In the distance is a triangle. When you walk through this triangle portal, the world opens up. The colors in this new area are sharp and crisp. The environment literally pops up in front of you as you journey through this newfound land (seriously, it’s like walking through a pop-up book). There are a number of these triangle portals in each area that change the environment and its color. As you progress through each area, you can pick up “seeds” that change the color of the world around you. You can toss these seeds on the ground to plant trees that are used to give you a speed boost if you chop them down. Puzzle solving consists of finding bright white rocks that you can touch to trigger a pathway you can slide across to venture into a new area. Various creatures inhabit these lands. You can throw seeds at them or poke them, but it doesn’t really have an effect on anything. You’ll spend the majority of your time just throwing seeds at everything. That’s what I did.
Much like Journey, Shape of the World tasks you with making a trek through forests and caves to reach your goal: The Summit. It’s odd, but for a game that is all about relaxing and discovering, I found myself in a state of urgency as I came closer and closer to the top of the mountain. There isn’t any story at all, and you don’t know anything about what you’re doing or why. This game is all about discovering and exploring a strange world for no reason other than reaching The Summit. If you like your gameplay fast and frenetic with instant gratification, you might find your patience running thin after spending a couple of minutes in this game. Once I started discovering how to properly get access to new areas and progress, it had me hooked right until the credits rolled. You just need to take your time.
Shape of the World is a cool experiment. I hope that it gets the VR treatment one day. It’s gorgeous and unique but doesn’t provide much else for you to do when you’ve finished it. It’s a one and done kind of game. If you are planning on purchasing it, don’t expect a riveting story. It’s just a chill and relaxed experience exploring a gorgeous world that can be completed in a couple of hours. If that sounds like a good time to you, give it a go. – NVJ
Shape Of The World is now available on PS4 & Steam. It launches on June 6th for Xbox One & Nintendo Switch
PS4 review code provided by Evolve PR