The Shape of the World is one of the weirdest games I’ve played in 2018, and I think that’s solely because it’s barely a game. The short and sweet review of this game would be “You walk around inside a strangely colored swamp/forest/cave/mountain and touch glowing things to go to the next area.”
I’d like to consider how entertained I was while playing the game, because while the gameplay is barely gameplay, it’s colorful, calming, and short. There’s a strange serenity to the game, even when, in the later portions of the game, it gets a bit darker and kind of dreary but it perks up for the ending. I can’t really say that there’s a story, the only thing in the game that you can do outside of walking from one end of the level to the next is finding plant seeds to plant. You can touch trees while moving to move faster (why?), and there are certain objects you can interact with from a distance to heave yourself into the air to move along faster.
It’s honestly kind of a hard game to review, since it’s really just a relaxation program, essentially, and I think to that extent, it works. The sound design is lovely, there is not a single harsh sound in this game, everything is like a chime or xylophone. The music is very nice, the colors change every time you reach a new goal within a level, but for the most part, they typically stick to rather comfortable colors. A couple times it would turn red or black or kind of dark blue, but everything is so pleasant that nothing ever intimidates you.
If the question is whether or not I enjoyed my hour long playthrough of the game, my answer is yes. If you are stressed and you look to videogames to relax you, I lit some candles and made a cup of tea and played this game from end to end and came out feeling nice. I do believe that relaxing games can have more substance, and the one thing keeping my score down for this game is the fact that you really do nothing. Video games are supposed to be interactive media, and since you barely interact with the game, I kinda have to grade it as such.
My experience with the game overall was good, but considering the price point of $14.99, I dunno man, this game should be like $7.99, I sure as hell wouldn’t pay $15 for maybe not even an hour of fun. Just rent a Studio Ghibli movie for that kind of money, you’ll feel good, and maybe even a little emotional afterward.
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