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Wandering with Wonder in Shape of the World

It took me a solid minute to realize the game had started. The beginning is very white, but then there was a movement. Oh! It’s time to move! Just barely visible is a glimpse of color: an upside down red ‘V’. Soon, the game begins to change. What was plain and dull, turns quickly to soft hues.

I find a seed and throw it, and a new plant springs forth, joining some others. A weird shelled creature opens its eyes and watches me, and a few more lurk around. The creatures aren’t sure what to do with me. A giant sky whale just drifts by in the distance, doing its own thing. Two very large red blobs bump against me, shoving me away. I apparently had intruded their territory.

I find myself exploring different nooks and crannies, but also feel a need to go to the next big V. More colors, and more beautiful views, await, and the music is shifting and changing with every passing V. I am part of Shape of the World.

It reminds me of being a kid, and exploring things in the world for the first time. As I am interacting with this weird glowing rock, and launching myself around, I think about the sounds it makes. There were some metal barrels that I would throw rocks at for the deep resounding thud, or high pitched plunking sounds they would make.

Shape of the World makes me have to look at the world again through a child’s eyes. Why are those squids floating around, and are they friendly? They seem friendly. What happens if I touch this boulder? I see the big red V that is clearly the way to go, but I don’t have to go through now. I can wander a while, and look at this other side path. I don’t know what to do with this world that I am in, but I am definitely having an impact. Before I know it, I have planted a hundred trees.

I am molding the world a bit, and getting captured in the beauty of that creation.

The game is fun, but not in a way that I am used to games being. It isn’t like Minecraft because you aren’t exactly building. You are adding and subtracting plants. It isn’t like Starcraft where you battle and strive for resources. It reminds me more of painting, or pottery, or a gentle and easy hike where you happen to be able to grow trees instantly. I am molding the world a bit, and getting captured in the beauty of that creation.

There is one moment where I simply stopped and watched. Plants popped in and out of existence, and trees would bloom into pink leaves, only to have a strange small blue porcupine walk by, disappearing the trees in it’s tiny wake, and others would pop up. It’s beautiful in a similar way as the autumn trees are turning outside.

You shape the world: touch creatures, plants, rocks, and something happens. You throw a seed, and the appropriate object for the area sprouts forth. And you move.

So, how is it?

  1. Leave It
  2. Lukewarm
  3. Like It
  4. Love It
The world explodes with different colors and settings, different tones and vistas to enjoy. It’s a good place to think about the scope of the universe. The developer, Hollow Tree Games, strove to create a relaxing, peaceful, and contemplative experience. They accomplished that. 

Alex serves as a Youth Minister near Indianapolis, IN where he spends his time playing games, watching Twitch, competing against his students, and playing even more games.

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