“Wide, curved, tall or long, so many shapes but none are wrong.” – Hermione Little
The Shape of Things is a relaxing puzzle game in which players solve Rubik’s cube-inspired conundrums, finding the real shape of things inside collectable gachapons.
Developer: Hyper Three Studio
Released: 26th May 2023
Price: £5.59 – £5.80
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
The Shape of Things starts in a cosy office-like room in which the player can control the weather and time of day to create a variety of soothing atmospheres. Within the room is a vending machine that costs 7 coins and will award a random gacha for the player to collect. Each gacha has its own specific theme and contains various dismantled objects that must be put back together by rotating, moving, sliding, and resizing the different parts until they fit into their original shape. Completing a shape will award a coin.
Whilst the puzzles themselves have a casual feel and are not too challenging, they require a high level of precision in terms of reassembling objects. Unfortunately, the controls are not conducive to this as they are somewhat fiddly and inconsistent. This can get a bit frustrating at times and makes some of the speed-related achievements incredibly difficult in a way they were not designed to be.
Narrative and Styling
There is very little in the way of narrative elements in The Shape of Things. However, there is a star chart on the ceiling which tracks the collected gacha by creating a constellation based on which ones the player receives from the vending machine. This will be different for each player and provides a nice personal touch to the experience.
The game has a colourful art style, with vibrant cartoon-like scenes made up of simple 3D models and minimal texture. The overall look is vibrant with some subtle but effective lighting, especially in the office room where the ambience and aesthetic can be changed according to player preference.
The Shape of Things has some really lovely music, mostly gentle and uplifting piano tracks that really suit the style and tone of the game. There are immersive ambient sound effects in the office room that match the player’s chosen weather and time settings. The sound effects within the other scenes match the theme of each gacha and help bring the setting to life.
Although not perfect, The Shape of Things is a satisfying puzzle game with an interesting concept. It has a lot of fun content including collectable gacha, enjoyable problem-solving, a vibrant aesthetic and melodic piano music. The gameplay can get a bit repetitive so it is best enjoyed over multiple shorter play sessions but it is a relaxing way to spend 20 minutes with a cup of tea and is worth returning to. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a casual puzzle game that they can dip in and out of.
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