Shape of the World isn’t exactly a game despite its apparent walking-sim design that has you moving around colorful landscapes while plants and wildlife spontaneously appear around you. This is more of a Zen relaxation tool meant to occupy 2-3 hours of your hectic life and hopefully provide some perspective or balance. If you’re looking for something to stimulate your mind or reflexes move along.
There’s not much to do in Shape of the World except to enjoy your surroundings and find a way to progress to the next area. There will be glowing items that you much touch to spawn bridges to move you toward the A-shaped portal where colors and landscapes will be under constant evolution. Life springs forth as you move about, somehow sensing your presence and rushing forth to greet you. Creatures swim in the water or scurry about the brush while trees will sprout and stretch into the skies. It’s really quite magical at times, and I was often reminded of the PlayStation game, Flower.
The world is procedurally generated with ever-changing environments taking on distinct color themes or shifting between day and night. There is so much movement and morphing going on around you, and you are almost always in motion as well, so I was impressed just how fluid everything flowed. Admittedly, there isn’t much texture detail in these stylistic visuals, and the shapes and landscapes are low-poly creations, which begs the questions; why isn’t this game in VR? This would be the perfect VR game.
The soundtrack is probably the best feature of Shape of the World, with soothing music that, at times, soars with energy and fits with any given situation and even sets an emotional mood without getting manipulative. I often found myself losing focus of where I should be going, as I lost myself in the music while following a babbling brook through trees that were sprouting on either side of me, and I’m guessing that is the point of the experience.
As long as you know what you are getting, those seeking to relax for a couple of hours will love Shape of the World. You’d spend $13 on a meditation CD, and this game is going to give you a lot more hours of interactive enjoyment, and if you love the music as much as I did you can get the soundtrack for $5. Shape of the World delivers a beautiful mix of sound and visuals, and with 26 achievements and procedurally generated worlds, there is plenty to keep you coming back for more gameplay therapy.