Shiftlings is one of those games that just makes me smile.

Co-op play, a colourful environment and cute character design make Shiftlings a delight to play. This physics-based puzzler allows you to control two characters (or one each if playing with a friend), attached by a cord which allows you to swap air from one character to another, effectively making one huge, tall, fat, round alien and one teeny, tiny alien.

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Working out who needs to be which shape at what time is crucial to solving the puzzles and making it through the levels which steadily increase in difficulty. This can mean anything from using the big guy as a trampoline to jump over gaps or a weight to push down buttons and open doors so the small guy can get through. This gets complicated pretty quickly when deciding what to do next and how to get both characters through to the end. I’m not ashamed to admit that it took me several tries to get through most of the levels.

In co-op mode, both players can switch shapes whenever they want, which is a recipe for both frustration and hilarity. Particularly as Shiftlings is a game that I envision being great for families, there are moments where it breaks character. There may be many parents biting their tongues whilst playing with their kids to avoid red, snotty, tear-stained faces after an outburst along the lines of “STOP PRESSING THE DAMN BUTTON YOU LITTLE SHIT!” (No? Was it just me who got shouted at for ruining a game?)

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Family fall outs aside, Shiftlings’ setting creates a bright, colourful environment for the bumbling twosome to carry out their adventures and matches the playful feel of the game. The only real issue with Shiftlings is that there was no tutorial. Until the developer told me about the different abilities of each of the characters, I was just trying to jump and press random buttons in order to complete the puzzle. Hopefully the full game does a better job of teaching me what to do.

There were around 6 levels available at Eurogamer so I didn’t get a complete feel for the depth or difficulty of the puzzles the full game will provide, but the release should have 50+ levels to enjoy. Shiftlings is currently on Steam Greenlight so if it sounds like the kind of game you’d like to see, head over there and vote for it!


About The Author

Contributor

Ria is a student with a penchant for dark RPGs, warped puzzlers and a good story. She’s not a typical gamer with interests ranging from literature, art and foreign films to trance, hard house and tech. You can find her on Twitter @introskeptive where she muses about games, politics and life in general.

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