Shiftlings Review – Passing Gas Has Never Been so Fun [PS4]

Shiftlings Logo

I play a lot of first person and third person shooters on the PlayStation 4 as that’s my main source of entertainment when I’m gaming at home. That however doesn’t mean that I won’t switch it up a bit from time to time and play other genres when I need to escape the world. Another genre I thoroughly enjoy is that of puzzle games. I love how puzzle games make you thing about possible solutions to their problems, and while they do require more brain power than your average FPS, I somehow always feel quite relaxed playing them. There’s just something about puzzle games I find soothing. That why when I heard about Shiftlings by developer Rock Pocket Games and Sierra, I just knew I had to try it out.

In Shiftlings, you play a pair of space engineers – Purple Plop and Green Goop – who are the unwitting contestants/test subjects of an intergalactic reality game show. As part of the program, you’ll be sent to over 50 absurdly hazardous levels across five unique worlds to perform maintenance tasks for the amusement of the audience at home.

Gameplay

The game itself is a puzzle platformer. Like most games of this type, you’re tasked with getting both your characters to the end of each level. Because one of your characters is always “inflated”, you must use this difference in both size and weight to your advantage. What makes this particularly neat is that you can transfer the inflated state to either character as you play. Without being crude, you’re passing gas to each other (if you know what I mean). One character will always be larger and heavier than the other. This is the main gameplay element you’ll need to get the hang of as you’ll be constantly doing this to progress through all the puzzles. Also note that there is a fixed length to the air hose so you’ll also have to take that into consideration when navigating each level.

Shiftlings Screen 3

Because there are two characters you can control, you have the ability to either play on your own or bring a friend along to play with you either locally or online. Playing with a friend requires lots of communication and with games like this, hilarity usually ensues when things go wrong. If you’re playing on your own, you can move your characters independently of each other by swapping between them. Of course you can also move them together at the same time by holding down the left shoulder button.

Another gameplay mechanic to take note of is the ability of your smaller character to jump on top of the larger character in order to reach higher ledges. In order to do this however, the smaller character must be at a higher position than the large one, whether it be from a slightly higher platform or higher up on some stairs. The larger character can not really jump, though he does have the ability to drag the smaller character around if need be.

In order to beat each level, both characters must make it to the repair task and both characters must safely get to the exit point. That’s only one part of the objective. Scattered through each level are also three soda bottles you can collect in order to completely “beat” each level.

Presentation

While the excellent gameplay should be the focus of any good game, it surely doesn’t hurt to have gorgeous visuals. Shiftlings is packed with tons and tons of eye candy. Everything is so vibrant and colorful, giving the game a really fun atmosphere. There’s also a lot of detail here in both the character models and level designs. Rock Pocket Games took no shortcuts here and filled every ounce of space with something to look at.

Shiftlings Screen 2

On the audio side of things, there is actually a lot to hear. There’s a misconception that indie games don’t have the production value that AAA games have and that’s just no true. Shiftlings is filled with an incredible soundtrack and full voice overs. There’s even a few cut scenes here and there to fill in the story. This is a game that has a very complete package.

Final Thoughts

Shiftlings is certainly one of those hidden gems that should be looked at by those searching for a really good puzzle platformer. There’s much to like about the game from its splendid graphics and presentation but to me, what I love the most is its unique gameplay mechanic of passing gas. This is a game that will really make you think and can be enjoyed on your own or with a friend. Playing with friends obviously can be more fun but also more hectic as you both have to be on the same page. Overall, I’m finding Shiftlings to be quite a fun and relaxing game when I want to get away from my usual routine.

Shiftlings Screen 4

Shiftlings Screen 1

Shop Link


Review code provided to us by the publisher/developer.

 

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