An indie series originally launched back in 2008, the Shift franchise comes to retail for the very first time courtesy of Rising Star Games. Known as Shifting World, this brand new outing is designed specifically for the Nintendo 3DS format, featuring a number of new additions as well as a revised protagonist design, bringing unique character to the console.
The long-and-short of Shifting World is that it’s a puzzle-platform videogame that works in a similar manner to the underappreciated Crush3d. Players must work their way through each level to reach the exit, jumping across impasses and obtaining keys to unlock doors. However, soon they’ll reach breaks in the path that cannot be scaled manually, or ledges to reach that are simply too high. At these points, the player must ‘shift’ the level with a press of either trigger, inverting everything about it: up becomes down, external surfaces become passable recesses, and exposed doors become blocked passages. As the videogame progresses players will meet all of these issues within mere seconds of one another, compiling these few challenges into strings of tasks that must be completed in sequence. It’s a simple yet addictive premise that quickly ramps-up in challenge.
Players have a map to aid them, which works in conjunction with your manual shifts, and later in the videogame you will also receive the layer-shift ability. This is the finest point of the Nintendo 3DS adaptation, allowing for brand new puzzles and challenges to be created. With a press of the Y button players can turn the 3D levels into 2D, causing blocks and areas to change in shape as they move from the foreground and background into a single space. It’s not a cheat or a shortcut, blocks will only move in relation to those that surround them meaning that there’s more logical puzzling added to the already complex design.
Time Attack is unlocked before you complete the first world, allowing you to replay the campaign levels and submit your scores to a local leaderboards. Each level has a time limit, demanding the player replay levels time-and-time again to find the most direct route, cutting vital seconds off their time. A Bonus Mode is also unlocked later in the videogame, rounding out a selection that offers in excess of sixty levels.
A platform experience that, Time Attack aside, demands the player pay more attention to the logistics of moving across the map as opposed to the troubles caused by enemies and time limits, Shifting World is an unusual and welcoming prospect. Cerebral taxation in favour of dexterity challenges is a proposition that many videogames aspire to but ultimately fall short, Shifting World accomplishes that goal with aplomb. Every aspect of Shifting World has been made with the stereoscopic 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS in mind; from the elegant presentation of the hypnotic menu screens to the layer shifty ability, very few titles yet released on the Nintendo 3DS have been as convincing of the quality conditioning stereoscopic 3D technology can add to videogames.