Shape of the World is a creative and interesting way to see the world, one where players will explore the world, triggering special events as you explore the settings provided by a chain of new events that you may trigger with each and every action made.
When booting up Shape of the World there was something distinctly different about this game from ones I’ve been experiencing over the years. First, it’s different from most games in today’s current string of games. It’s one that doesn’t follow traditional gameplay elements as we’ve come to know over the years. At first, Shape of the World is hard to understand, it’s not your typical game by any means.
To put things bluntly. Shape of the World isn’t going to hold your hand, it isn’t going to guide you about as you may think. Rather, it’s going to be a game all about exploring, using your own mind to see the world before you as the developers wish. When you initially load into the game, it’s a game that presents you with a wide-open space
When a game doesn’t play like, operate like, or even follow the basic characteristics of what we’ve come to expect from video games over the years, it can be pretty hard to throw it into any easy-to-understand tick boxes or categories. This is exactly the situation we face with Shape of the World, in which the ‘game’ is just as much in your own mind as it is on screen.
When first having loaded in, I was presented with a wide-open space, one that was almost blindingly white and left me dazed for just a moment. In this space, life seemed obsolete, very sparse compared to most games in the modern age. After a few moments of walking forward, I would notice the world about me coming to life as I continued forward to the nearest existing things before me. As I did, I would notice something odd. I wasn’t controlling a character. Instead, I was controlling myself.
Left thumbstick would move me forward, moving the right one would act as my head as I would begin to walk and turn. After pushing the left one forward, I’d move forward, watching the world about me sprout to life in spectacular colors and shape that would each introduce themselves to me as if life grew from the ground itself. Before long, I’d approach a triangular-shaped gate, one that would slowly appear in the distance, beckoning me to investigate its presence. Before long, I would, and curiosity would be the primary cause.
The oddity is already before you. Shape of the World isn’t your average game. It’s a living, breathing entity, one that wants you to explore its very depths from beginning to end. While simple, it’s an extravagant experience, one brought to life by small, but specific goals that must be met. You may be wondering by now, what is the main aim of this game? What’s your target objective? Let’s talk about that.
The entire game’s premise is about the beauty of the world around you that is often marred by the hectic reality of the lives we live. It’s about taking a moment from that chaos, taking a deep breath and seeing the beauty in the world about you. To see the things that you have missed, to boldly go where very few have gone before and enjoyed those moments there. In short. Explore. See new things. Stop letting chaos ruin the beauty before you.
Let me put this for you in the easiest way I can. Between the art, the subtle chimes of life and atmospherics on the screen before me, I couldn’t help but relax, to find myself soothed as I walked about, taking on the evolution of beauty and magnificence as flora and fauna sprouted to life before me. The odd thing is? The music is a key form of how your story is told. It’s soft, melodic, sometimes and it will often change based on the area you are in, taking away, at times, the overly-relaxed experience you have already had.
Your goal is simple. You are to explore the world, searching for those triangle-like gates I mentioned before, moving through them, exploring what they do to the world about you. Each one has its own cause and affects as you move through them individually. Because of your moving through them, you will influence the world around you, each beckoning you to move through the game until you reach its final destination, the ending. I urge you, however, not to do this. I urge you to take your time, to actually see the world about you, to let this relaxing title be the one you enjoy.
Shape of the World – PC, PlayStation 4, Switch and Xbox One
Developer: Hollow Tree Games
Publisher: Hollow Tree Games
Release Date: Now Available
Those very things you miss could be seeds for you to collect. Each of them will be indicated by a small log for you on your pause screen. Each of these seeds can be planted in order to bring trees to life, which, oddly, allows you to travel faster than you did before. If you get a full set, something magnificent happens, but for your sake, I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.
But once things came to an end, a part of me was saddened by the game coming to an end. It was an experience that was a nice escape from the chaotic world we live in. I often found solace in recent events in my life. Often times, it helped me escape, to sink in from the madness placed before me. But never-the-less, it’s a great game, one I plan on revisiting rather soon. If you’re one that likes relaxing games, ones where the constant action wasn’t put before you, then Shape of the World is the game for you and with its affordable price? Might as well give the short, but magnificent experience a try.
Our review is based on a retail version that was provided to us by the game’s publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
David Dailey is a major fan of extremely niche games, often offering an in-depth look at what separates them from the rest. He’s also extremely obsessed with Magic the Gathering and his ‘sneks’.