It’s often said that the best games take a concept and then flip it on its head to create something innovative and imaginative, and Shift Puzzle Game takes that to the next level. It literally flips the entire game upside down, and in doing so becomes one of the most mind-bendingly original titles we’ve seen on Android in ages.
The concept of the game is simple enough. You have to get your character to the exit in one piece and in the shortest time possible. Of course, getting him there is anything but straightforward. Not only do you have to traverse a variety of obstacles, including precarious platforms and deadly spike pits, but you also have to get your head around the notion of flipping the level to reach your goal.
At any point you can tap the shift button and the screen flips and inverts horizontally. Not only does this invert gravity, making up down and down up, but it also changes the layout of the screen. What was previously a solid platform becomes thin air, and what was previously a complete dead-end transforms into your route to escape.
Just getting your head around this concept is taxing enough, but some levels throw in additional headaches. For example, you might have to activate a series of platforms to reach the exit, and these can only be triggered by collecting keys, which are fiendishly dotted around the level in such a manner that you have to do some serious screen-flipping in order to obtain them.
Other levels introduce a wall of spikes which slowly descends from the ceiling, adding even more pressure to your task.
There’s lots of trial and error involved in Shift, but when you do fail you won’t be able to blame it on the controls. They’re really well handled, with just three main commands to worry about. You have a button on either side of the screen which control your direction, and whenever you’re moving one way, the opposite direction becomes your jump button. This means you don’t have to worry about prodding an entirely separate button to execute a leap. The only other button is your shift command, which flips the level vertically.
Shift’s stark monochrome aesthetic won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s certainly unique. One element of the presentation we really liked was the music, a jaunty tune that sounds like it was lifted from a 1960s spy TV show.
With tight controls, plenty of challenge and gameplay that will exercise both your brain and your thumbs, Shift Puzzle Game is a highly recommended download for all Android gamers.