Shift began its life as an online game back around 2008. There have been several sequels and iOS ports since that time. Now Shift DX arrives on the Nintendo 3DS containing all the levels from the first two Shift games and adds over 100 new levels.
At its core, Shift DX is simple to control. You can jump and shift. Shifting causes the screen to flip, and your character to move from one color background to the other. Gravity also takes effect when you flip the screen. Using these two core controls you need to get to the exit of every level. Along the way, they’ll be switches, spikes, checkered spaces that you can’t move between at all, and more.
The “story”, if you can call it that, is that the female protagonist is running through test labs put together by a rogue AI. Sound familiar? The game never gets into the depth that Portal does, nor does the AI ever remotely captivate as much as GLaDOS does. It’s a thin veneer over a pretty abstract puzzle game.
Along with the main story, there’s also a Shift Challenge mode, a level editor, and a QR code system for sharing levels.
The visuals in Shift DX are extremely low key. The game uses just two colors, sharp edges, and a character sprite reminiscent of Lode Runner. There’s no bells and whistles here, folks. Just pure, puzzle action.
It’s not really GLaDOS, you know.
Shift DX is a game I can enjoy in small bites. It’s great to sit down and play a few levels, but I can’t play for an extended period of time without getting frustrated or my having my eyes start to hurt. The puzzles are satisfying, though the difficulty curve is a bit weird. Some puzzles seem overly complicated early on in the game, then others later in the game seem way to easy. It’s hard to tell if this is intentional or now.
In the end Shift DX is a great puzzle game that I keep coming back to. It’s available through the Nintendo eShop on the 3DS as a digital download only. No physical copies of the game are available.
A copy of Shift DX was provided free for review by Choice Publishing.