This supremely chill puzzle game with lo-fi vibes is my new go-to for relaxation

The Shape of Things
(Image credit: Maple Whispering Limited)

These days I'm always on the lookout for games that will give me a little space to breathe and unwind, and The Shape of Things certainly fits that bill. The Rubik's Cube inspired puzzle game from developer Hyper Three Studio is perfect to pick up and play in short bursts, and its incredibly chill, laid back vibes have quickly made it my go-to choice when I need to kick back and destress. You can certainly see the Rubik's Cube homage in its 3D puzzles, which see you twist and rotate the different pieces of a wealth of objects until they take shape and click into place. Every item will have a different combination of parts that can move up, down, or rotate, and it's up to you to find the correct position for every piece. 

The puzzles aren't too challenging by design, so they won't demand too much from you, which is ideal if you're looking for something relaxing to play. With lots of little touches that just make The Shape of Things a delight to get lost in for a while, there's also a nice sense of progression with plenty of puzzles to unlock as you go. 

Pieces that fit  

The Shape of Things is undoubtedly calming to play after a busy day, but I was also pleasantly surprised by just how much it scratched my collector's itch. Delicate piano notes welcome you into a cozy room that serves as the home menu as soon as you boot up the game. Different decorations, furniture, and belongings can be interacted with to use the game's features, including a gachapon machine which is where you unlock new levels. 

You'll start out with seven coins which can be exchanged at the machine for a gachapon that contains a little world. Then, you can go over to a rotating shelf that houses your gachapons and select the one you've bought to be transported inside it. Each world will have a different theme with ambient sound and objects to piece together that befit the space you're in. 

From a pond with a frog gently croaking in the background, to an art room with chirping birds, pencil sounds, and a fan blowing back and forth, there are lots of different locations to unlock that will be home to more puzzles. As you successfully twist and turn objects to click them together just so, you'll earn yourself a coin - seven are needed each time you want to buy an additional gachapon for your collection. 

The Shape of Things

(Image credit: Maple Whispering Limited)

"There are also some lovely smaller details that I've come to appreciate about The Shape Things."

The actual way you interact with objects works much like a Rubik's cube, with the shoulder buttons on the Switch allowing me to select the different pieces that make up an object. Using the analog sticks, I can then push a piece up or down, or rotate them into place depending on how they move. It can be a little finicky to control in places, but for the most part, it's pretty straightforward to click the items together. On occasion, there will be an object that's so jumbled it takes a spell for me to work out what it actually is. Before long, though, it begins to take shape (apt given the name of the game) after some experimentation with the individual pieces. 

Putting levels in collectible gachapons is a novel touch, and it's certainly satisfying to see my collection grow as I buy more by completing puzzles. There are also some lovely smaller details that I've come to appreciate about The Shape Things. Back in the home menu, for example, there are decorations that allow you to change up the time of day and weather outside of the room. This means that on several occasions, I simply enjoy being there as I listen to the rain falling, or take in the view of a warming sunset through the window. 

As someone who's not the best at puzzle solving, The Shape of Things is right up my alley. If you're on the hunt for a chill game to wind down your day with, then look no further. 

The Shape of Things is out now on PC and Switch.  For more recommendations, head on over to our Indie Spotlight series or see what's ahead with our roundup of upcoming indie games

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.