Never before have I been so content with just walking.
Shape of the World is a blissful detachment from the monotony of normal life.
Hear me out:
It is a rare occurrence nowadays to come across a game without guns or highscores. That’s why the idea behind Shape of the World appeals to me so much. It is nothing but exploration. Exploration surrounded by perhaps the most beautiful and mesmerising world I’ve ever seen in a video game.
Built in Unreal Engine 4, the world generates itself around you. Trees pop up from nowhere, birds flutter, a drab landscape suddenly fills with vibrant light. I cannot stress enough how pleasing it is to the eye and how peaceful it is to come back to after a day exposed to the real world.
It’s all too easy to become lost in your own thoughts
Developer, Hollow Tree Games informed me that the demo I was sent keeps the player relatively confined in comparison to how the final release will be. However, I still found it very easy to become lost and to wander off the path given to me.
A soundtrack that keeps you intrigued
As well as the incredible visuals that completely immerse you in the world, the subtle soundtrack (which, like the world, changes based on the player’s action) and the ambient sounds of birds and the wind truly add another level of depth. You don’t notice what it adds until it’s gone.
You start off in a completely blank space, empty but for some kind of portal in the shape of the game’s logo. You step through and are greeted by a few trees here and there, all absent of colour.
Are there any goals to the game?
The one colourful thing present are some eerie floating orbs.
Out of curiosity, you walk towards them and you find that they break upon contact. The moment you touch the last one, the whole world becomes saturated with the most vibrant of colours. Rocks fall from the sky, bushes pop up from the ground, flocks of birds dance past in a burst of action.
After seeing the incredible effect these orbs had, you hastily start your search for more, all while absorbing every detail in the world around you.
Next, you’ll come to another portal:
You step through to see what appears to be a whole new area.
You’ll soon realise it is in fact where you just were, with a fresh palette of colours. It really is amazing how new the world feels after this small change.
This continues as you explore more and more, finding more orbs and stepping through more portals.
That’s not actually the best part:
Eventually you’ll come to a set of orbs that upon collection cause a magical floating staircase to come into existence before your very eyes. Upon ascension you come to your final destination at the mountain’s peak, and that’s where the demo ends.
Leaving you in anticipation of what is to come in the full version…
While not part of this demo, some gameplay can be seen here:
The idea for Shape of the World came from lead developer Stu Maxwell’s love for adventure, exploration and how he enjoyed getting lost as a child.
This is very apparent while playing the game.
There’s no map, no guide except the aforementioned glowing orbs nor is there a bearings on where you are. Even if you were to follow your path straight back, the world would be different. Any landmarks have since been lost and replaced by something else, there really is no way to find a specific location again.
Depending on how you like to play this could be extremely frustrating or it could actually lead to a more interesting experience.
A creative mind set leads to a creative game
Stu’s day job is at Black Tusk Studios creating VFX for the Gears of War franchise making it no surprise to how they’ve managed to achieve such a wonderful aesthetic
His creative and artistic mind combined with those of Athomas Goldberg, a specialist in procedural animation technology and the musical talents of Brent Silk now form the main team behind Shape of the World.
It’s important to note:
This is not a game for everyone.
There is a lack of fast paced action and explosions, but that’s not what Shape of the World is about. Hopefully the community will find a place for this as a wonderful, peaceful adventure title.
Shape of the World is currently on Kickstarter with a goal of $75,000 CAD and has until Wednesday July 1st to get funded. They’re incredibly close to hitting their target.
Let me know what you think about Shape of the World
I’d love to hear what you have to say about this game. Make sure to leave a comment down below about your thoughts on the game or share this with a friend who may be interested.
If you want to find out more about a few “Different” indie games out there then check out this article on 3 very “different” indie games for you to try out