Taking inspiration from the retro Rubik’s cube phenomenon, The Shape of Things is a cosy puzzle game where you must reassemble blown apart objects to their former glory. Similar to the aforementioned cube, players must twist, slide, pan, and scale pieces of an object until they fit together perfectly.
At it’s core, The Shape of Things really is quite that simple, but it’s the execution that really brings this little puzzle game to life. Upon entering your cosy room, you are surrounded by all of your favourite things. It might be a bit messy but it feels lived in, a space that someone would actually use, rather than clinicial and cold. The large windows allow you to gaze at the weather outside and features soothing animations such as blinking stars, drizzling rainfall, and soft falling snow. The soft piano music playing in the background further emphasizes the calm ambience.
Accessing every aspect of the game is done through this snug spacewhich basically functions as a fancy menu screen. This only acts to further encapsulate the calm, cosy experience where you feel like you’re in the room itself. If only changing the weather on Earth was as easy as it is in-game.
What brings the most joy though, is the inclusion of the gachapon machine, which is animated in a way that emulates the same kind of excitement as in real life. I’ll gladly spend 7 G-Coins for 5 seconds of unmitigated curiosity. For each individual puzzle that is completed, you are rewarded with 1 G-Coin which in turn can be spent at the gachapon machine to spawn random new worlds. Completing each world remunerates you with 10 coins so you can be guaranteed to use the gachapon after each level. Hurrah!
Each world in The Shape of Things that unfolds out of each spherical plastic container consists of ten puzzles that each relate to a specific overall theme. For example, the ocean theme consists of a boat floating on the ocean; a buoy gently rocks in the distance and both a lobster pot and some rope poise in the foreground. Each object that you have to piece together in this world is that of a nautical theme, from anchors to oars and everything in between.
So, let’s talk about these puzzles. The mechanics of rotating, scaling, and sliding the pieces generally work very well, especially after patch 1.0.3 was released – which made the margin of completion much more sympathetic. Before this update, most puzzles had to be completed with the most intricate accuracy before the completion animation would trigger.
The Shape of Things controls can be a little bit finickety at times, especially when rotating objects, but generally, all control mechanics work as expected. The puzzle difficulty provides an average challenge but it would be great to see multiple difficulties implemented in the future so that all abilities can be catered for.
The Shape of Things overall thoughts
Whilst it’s true that there is a fine line between what one might consider a relaxing game over a boring one, I think The Shape of Things is accurately advertised – that is to say that it does what it says on the tin. It is definitely a game that is better off being played in smaller bursts so that the overall experience doesn’t become stale, but if you’ve got half an hour spare here and there, grab yourself a hot drink, a comfy seat, perhaps even a warm fuzzy blanket, and get playing.