Shape of the World – Review
Shape of the World is a 3D casual exploration game developed by the independent Canadian studio Hollow Tree Games on Unreal Engine 4. This project was funded on a Kickstarter campaign back in 2014 and was Greenlit on Steam Greenlight project after receiving 3000 votes in 10 days! I have put my hands on a Demo version to see what it looks like, and I am very excited to share my experience and first impressions.
The game has an immersive gameplay, with an adaptive soundtrack that very well responds to every action of the player, in a beautiful technicolor explosion that reacts to your presence, building a different environment every time it is played, or even every time you pass by an area; yes, if you come back to a previous area, the world will be shaped differently than before, and by your own actions.
I literally felt myself lost in a futuristic colorful forest full of beautiful creatures that made me relax while walking around, exploring, discovering and even flying along with a whale. Having an organic response for every single action I did, Shape of the World is a great scape from reality, allowing players to have from 1 to 3 hours of experience (everything depends on how you explore the biomes around you), that might even help you with stress or anxiety, as the game is really calm.
The world shapes procedurally, making every experience unique. In addition to that, we can collect seeds and interact with some elements in the world such as trees or the cute creatures that surround us, transforming the environment as well.
Sliding up the floating stairs is one of my favorite parts of the gameplay! The game suggests that to continue exploring different areas/biomes, the player must reach a triangular monument that sometimes is reached by “unlocking” floating stairs that makes you drift through it to access new zones. Inspired by experimental games such as Journey and Flower (both from That Game Company), Shape of the World doesn’t focus on score or limits players’ experience by adding health or time system, the main goal of the game is dive the player in into a beautiful and colorful reality.
I can’t wait to try the full version, as the trailer reveals even more different zones to explore, each one with a different set of colors, spreading beauty on the screen. You can check out the release trailer below and see what I’m talking about!
The game will be available on Steam and PlayStation 4 on June 5th and on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One on June 6th, but if you are too anxious to wait, you can try a Shape of the World demo here, but it might spoil the real experience about to come on the final version!
Review by Anderson Araújo – demo Steam code provided by the developers