As a guy with an extremely busy life, Shape of the World looks like the most soothing thing I’ve seen all week. Something about the way the forest unfolds around you as you walk through it makes me just want to lay down in a bed with cool, clean sheets and a good set of headphones, fire up my Switch and ignore my family for a good five or six hours. That scenario is extremely unlikely, but a guy can dream.
Kickstarted in 2015 by Stu Maxwell, a VFX artist that worked on Gears of War 4, Shape of the World has been in development for four years (he started before the Kickstarter) and is finally nearing release. “I’ve been pushing hard to bring Shape of the World to life on and off in my spare time after work for a few years now. It’s a colorful and surprising place I’ve made for people to relax after a busy day, inspired by all my stress-relieving hikes and bike rides through the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest where I live,” says Maxwell.
The game seems to be based around gently exploring a magical procedurally generated forest, but makes a point of saying that it is more than a walking simulator. Read this description and tell me that this doesn’t sound awesome: “A realm that leaves you free to progress at your own pace, without the incessant ticking of the clock. Find yourself pleasantly lost as you summit mountains, fly with whales, raise precipitous boardwalks and slide swiftly to new and ever stranger environments.” That sounds lovely. The brilliant colors and soothing sounds in the trailer make my feet tingle. I think that's a good thing.
Shape of the World releases on June 5, 2018 for Steam and PlayStation 4, and on June 6, 2018 for Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. The price on all systems is $14.99.