:Shift: review

Brilliance, pure brilliance! There, I said it, now go download the game.

Want to know why you should buy :Shift:? Maybe I should mention superb artsy graphics, lovely jazzy music, great two button img_0191controls, and cool game mechanics combined with clever level design. Add to that a dark sense of humour that is as twisted as the game. Oh, and don’t forget that you get all that for a buck.

:Shift: is a platformer in black and white, with the occasional red when you splatter yourself in a spike trap. The game looks like your ordinary 2-d platformer but just like Paper Mario it has a neat twist. In :Shift: you can invert the colours totally twisting the level. Each level is a race to reach the door to the exit. To reach it you have to navigate a level that you have to invert multiple times. To rearrange platforms you have to collect keys, and it is true brain torture on some levels to get them in the correct order. On some levels there are also unavoidable spikes chasing you. In those cases the humour shows quite well with text saying “run, run, run”.

img_01873You are subject 32763, and you have to escape some weird experiment. The setting is a bit like the old classic movie Running Man combined with some Cube. Most levels feature some sort of text message, and reading it can often lead to your death as some spikes impale you. When you reach the end of the game you get to register a highscore, or is it really the end. This game is cerebral in many ways.

You control your subject by arrows on the sides of the screen. When you run to the right the left arrow turns into a jump arrow button. Two buttons to control the movement is really neat, and granted it takes some getting used to. Jumping can be tricky but after a while it becomes second nature. There are also shift buttons at the top enabling you to shift/invert the level. This can also be controlled by means of accelerometer by tilting left/right or forward/backward.

When I started playing :Shift: I had trouble beating the levels as I thought too much. Once I relaxed and just played I managed much better. It is never a fluke when you beat the harder levels, it takes skill, planning and timing.

Too high to jump?

Too high to jump?

:Shift: has some weak points as well, and the one most disturbing to me being that there is no level select, and no way to skip hard levels.  At the menu screen it is very easy to hit start instead of continue, if you hit start you restart the game from level one. Finally, it is really hard knowing your score in the game, and what the game scores you on. Is it only time or does it also calculate the number of deaths?

Presentation & Graphics


Minimalist art is what springs to mind, beautiful and clean. Occasionally the text can be hard to read but at the same time that is part of the game, a distraction.



Just press "shift" and you can progress in an inverted world.

Just press "shift" and you can progress in an inverted world.

A jazzy tune looping, and intensifying once you complete the level. Would like to see a bit more variation. You can play your own music alongside the game soundtrack, great for listening to podcasts while you play.



Great combination of platformer and puzzler with working controls.



I completed the game in less than two hours on my second run. Still I will probably play through this game a couple of times each month as it is a really cool experience just playing it. No achievements, unlockables or online leader board lower the score.

Game Rating


One of the best cerebral platform puzzlers I have played for the iPhone so far, only beaten by Toki Tori in my book. Try the lite now or take my word for it, and just buy it!

:Shift: $0.99

:Shift lite:

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  • Jay

    isn’t this a flash game? im pretty sure i played this before.

  • Torbjorn Kamblad, Sweden

    Yes Jay it is a flash game, they are already at :Shift 4: at the armorgames site. I never played the flash though.

  • Rock $ Rolla



    i have played the flash, its awesome.

  • Jay

    i played upto Shift 2 or 3

  • Marleen

    Managed first 5 or 6 levels fine and enjoyed it a lot. Now frustrated by labyrinth with keys in white area while self in black and vice versa, and no hints on how to get from black to white. Been jumping and bumping like mad. Not fun anymore.

  • Torbjorn Kamblad, Sweden

    Have you tried pressing shift Marleen? If you double tap the screen you can get to the menu, and select how to shift. I think the buttons work best.

    Sadly it is a flaw that there is no level select as some levels are truly hard.

  • thestrangestick

    Great game! And I just recorded a new highscore of 807 seconds in one play through – currently at number 1 and 2 on the leaderboard!

  • McScratchy

    I’ve got a score of 676 that I’m trying to top…t’aint easy.

  • Nezdiego

    Fun game but I would prefer more levels and a limited number of lives. One of my favorite iPhone games but there is potential for it to be better

    current high score 642

  • ha

    ha my score 557.5 yes… i want online scores….