How many times have you had a rough day at work and just came home looking to escape real-life? That’s one of the biggest reasons we all love video games, right? We like the adventures we could never really go on, the badass moves we could never pull off, and the everyday possibility to be a hero. Life likes to knock us down, and this is our escape. But these virtual worlds are sometimes more stressful than the real one. This is where I introduce to you Shape of the World.
The problem with video games as a relaxation tool is that they’re not always relaxing. Take Overwatch for example; the community is filled with the biggest assholes, but I love the game, so I push myself through it on a nightly basis. I’m sure many other people could relate to that. Call of Duty, Fortnite, PUBG, and countless other games give us the adrenaline rush and good feelings that keep us crawling back. What if for one night though, you needed to relax and not think?
Shape of the World is not a complex game by any means. There is no story, no real gameplay hook, and no intense multiplayer showdown. According to developer Hollow Tree Games, “immersion, exploration and contemplation form the core of Shape of the World. This is a place to get lost in, a relaxing world for you to spend 1 to 3 hours meandering at your own pace, observing and unwinding.” In other words, it’s just you, some soothing music, and the evolving colorful world.
The game does what it set out to do, but maybe it does too good a job. I found myself struggling to stay awake through the hour I played. It’s a short game, but even that hour it took me to beat it was too long for the same walking around “gameplay” with a few sprinkles of interacting with stone columns to create a bridge to the next area. From what I gathered the only objective in the game is to constantly follow a path to all of the symbols which will change the color of the world and allow it to evolve further. There are a few collectibles, but nothing worth going out of your way to find. There is nothing hard about the game, save for trying to see through a dark, rainy, mountain area that gave me a migraine. Not very relaxing if it affects you like that.
In the end, Shape of the World is a very shallow experience. If you are looking for a world to walk around in with no choices to be made, this game is good for a few 15-minute intervals at most. Nothing is exciting about it. It is just a walkthrough a world that changes colors and grows trees. In my opinion, the game is overpriced at $15, so if you are interested, I would wait for it to go on sale. I like what they tried to do, but I feel there are much better artistic, relaxing games out there.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
A boring world, with relaxing music
Gameplay - 3/10
Plot - 2/10
Design - 7/10
Shape of the World wants to relax you and get you out of your stressful world. The problem with this is its world is so boring and mind-numbingly stale that if you don’t fall asleep playing, you get a headache just trying to power through it. The music is soothing, and the beginning colors of the world are pretty, but this quickly gets old. If you find the game for cheap, enjoy the relaxing beginning to the game, but don’t stick around for the nothingness the rest of your gameplay session will bring.