Shift Quantum is a cyber-noir, action-puzzle, platformer in black and white. Players solve puzzles with a unique ability to change levels on their head, with a thing called shift. Using the shift ability can open new route’s unseen before in plain sight, your aim is to make it to the exit while shifting from the level and avoiding all the obstacles thrown in your way.
In Shift Quantum is a black and white puzzler that has a futurist feel with a touch of Blade Runner added in. Backgrounds move and shift as you travel round a puzzle with the likes of flying cars zipping in and out of large city structures. Maps are also rotating as you go along matching what your player character is doing during a puzzle. Neon signs flicker and light up, this really gives you a feeling of a living breathing world behind you.
The gameplay is simple and easy to pick up, with a couple of simple button inputs controlling everything you need during the story. Shift is a unique concept that inverts the solid colour you are standing on, while turning the map the opposite way around. This in turn allows running, jumping and dragging boxes around while feeling fluid and natural. If you have picked up a platformer before I am sure you won’t have any trouble learning the three buttons in use, it has a lovely pick and play feel to it that anyone can get used to within minutes.
Later stages really start to pick up the difficulty with a learning curve that increases comfortably for newcomers yet does not make it that easy that veterans. More obstacles are thrown in to make you think outside the box, with the standard spikes that kill you if you touch them to blocks that change the general level and layout. Digger blocks dig through parts of the level while Wind blocks blow you around the map with a giant fan. Rotator blocks do what they say on the tin by rotating the map in the direction they are facing without changing/inverting the colour of the platform you are standing on.
Right from the off, you know you are in for a treat with a catchy techno bassline in the main menu. The music grabs your attention with a futuristic score continuing onto the levels as you play the story.
Sadly, the game does not have any in game vocal dialog other than a few grunts as you jump or fall. The general feeling of the game still is great, the experience is more of a visual masterpiece with the simplistic 2 tone colours working well to let you know what is clearly going on.
If you like to think outside the box with your puzzle games this is the game for you. Nothing is more satisfying than being stuck on a puzzle for ages, to then finally hit that exit point and feel a great sense of achievement. The only minor problem I would say with the game is sometimes the later puzzles give you a chance to be stuck inside the level, the only way to solve this is to either kill yourself or pause the game and click the reset option which undoes all your current progress sadly.
The two game modes Shift Quantum has to offer are a story and an online level maker, the user generated level maker is a little fiddly for my own liking to be able to create anything half decent, but my word what the online community has made is amazing. From basic platformers to complicated puzzles there was always something on there to keep me entertained if I fancied a break from the story to unwind and let my brain focus again.
A review copy for Xbox One was provided for the purposes of this review (Thank You!).
You can view all of the achievements here.
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- Easy to pick up and play
- Makes you think outside the box
- Smooth gameplay
- No rewind button for mistakes
- Would be nice for verbal audio for the story