It’s not often you get to use “zen world-building sim” in a headline. It’s a rare occurrence given the fact that zen games are most times relegated to itch.io or the backwaters of mobile devices, and world-building simulators are oftentimes put into the category of city management games like SimCity or Tropico. However, in this case, Hollow Tree Games’ Kickstarted walking simulator, Shape of the World, manages to combine organic world-building (literally) with a zen-like atmosphere.
It was recently announced that the game will be making its way to the Nintendo Switch… soon.
How soon? Well, according to the studio founder Stu Maxwell – who gained his pedigree through paying his dues as a visual special effects artist for The Coalition on Gears of War 4 – “this year” soon. Not only that, but they’ve optimized the game to look and run on the Switch in ways that even surprised the team, with Maxwell explaining in the press release…
“I’m thrilled to officially announced that Shape of the World is coming to Nintendo Switch this year,”
“Nobody on the team expected the game to look so nice on the Switch, we’re really happy with it… We can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks.”
Well, they can see what you think after you watch the trailer below to see Shape of the World in action running on the Nintendo Switch.
The game utilizes a procedural population algorithm, which does exactly what the name infers. The algorithm procedurally populates the 3D game space as players walk through the world. The closer you get to objects the more they grow, change, and evolve.
You literally shape the world with your movements.
Yes, it’s a walking simulator, but it compensates pretentious narratives with visual intrigue. This is not to say that if you’re completely against walking sims you’ll magically enjoy Shape of the World, this is to say that if you enjoy zen-like games and have an affinity for walking sims, you might enjoy Shape of the World.
Now to clarify, the purpose of the game is not to race against the clock or challenge some mythical force taking over the world. You literally shape the world, collect relics and move on to the next segment. It truly is a zen-like game.
I don’t know if Nintendonites have been clamoring for Shape of the World they way they have with lots of other games, flooding the YouTube channels and begging for a port like a San Francisco bum begging for a bedpan or a vape, but if you’re looking for something off the beaten path you can look for Shape of the World to launch later this year for the Nintendo Switch. The game was previously announced for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
For more info feel free to visit the official website, or you can drop by the GDC Indie Megabooth to see it on display, or you can visit the booth at PAX East this year, where it’ll also be a part of the Indie Megabooth.