Shape of the World is an exploration game likely set for the artistically minded. Where it lacks in gameplay it makes up in variety through a colorful ever-changing world, with interesting new species, and interesting environments. Although there are a few caveats, this wonderful, explosive, varied world has some of the nicest visuals, and a soundtrack to boot. Its interactive escape with procedurally generated environments kept me engaged throughout my entire playthrough.
This game’s goal according to its steam page is a relaxing come home from work to a peaceful environment where nothing can hurt you. I must say it really does accomplish its goal. It’s a beautiful game with graceful animals, vibrant colors, and a soundtrack that adapts to your every move. Not unlike the physical world around you. It wraps you up in its ambiance and doesn’t let you go until the last moment.
Sadly, this game’s gameplay is not as amazing as the visuals. As previously stated, it is an exploration game, but once you get past that, there is little more. You have three essential buttons: your movement with your analog stick, your interact button using ZR, and your throw seed button which is ZL(more on this in a bit). With the limitations of only using two buttons for everything but movement, you can evidently predict that you won’t be able to do a lot. Although that doesn’t always work against this game.
It is a one of the kind experience, but it does FEEL like a walking simulator. You walk around to triangle-shaped goals hitting bright stones along the way to progress. There isn’t much else to it. The environment is constantly changing around you though due to, as previously stated, being procedurally generated. Luckily, you do get to affect the world around you as you progress throughout. In the very beginning, it teaches you how to interact with the world, which more often than not, is using trees to get a small speed boost to get you to your next objective. Not long after that, it teaches you the throw seed button, which can be used to grow trees around you(good for combining with the interact button for somewhat speedy gameplay).
As for some of the cons, I found myself, in the beginning, being completely lost as to the objective, and found myself wandering over and over, falling off of stairs or cliffs to caverns where I would have to spend a good five minutes to get back to the same point. It wasn’t the worst thing though, as the environment was different every time I went to the same spot. Once I realized about a third of the way through my play through that there wasn’t much objective besides continue exploring towards the triangles, it was a much more relaxing experience, and I ended up enjoying it a lot more, even without a story.
Overall, it is a great game, with great sound design but no story or reason to continue going does bring this game down. For $15 on the Nintendo Switch I would recommend this to those that are looking for a short, relaxing game that will give you a psychedelic journey through a vast expanse of a world with interesting but simple mechanics. If you’re looking for a difficult game with a good story, I recommend turning your head away and look at a game like Celeste(great game). But if your tired of all these games that are the reason PS4 and Xbox users call switch owners masochists, I would recommend this game.