Shifting Sands is a fun-filled puzzler that is perfect for its 99 cent price point. The game is a satisfying mind bender that offers a challenge to those willing to attempt its 30 levels.
The objective in shifting sands is to move one’s little patch of sand along numbered tiles from the start tile to the end tile. Each tile displays a number, this number represents the amount of times one must move the sand onto the tile in order to make the tile disappear. In order to complete the level, all tiles must be wiped out, and the sand must end up on the end tile. While the concept is simple, the game is entertaining and reminds me of the stupid games I used to make up for myself while hopping along tiles in the grocery store.
Shifting sands is not without faults, the game’s graphics are simple and the sound is nothing special. The opening theme song is cheesy, and unfortunately there is not support for listening to one’s own music. Controlling the game is conceptually easy, but trying to press the little arrow buttons to move the sand can be difficult as precision is necessary. There seems to be no way to return to the menu while in a game, and there is no in-game tutorial/instructions page. The continue game option does not start you back from where you were in a level, rather it simply starts you at the beginning of the puzzle you last played. My final gripe is that when one pauses the game, the puzzle is not hidden and this renders the timer on the level almost pointless.
While I did present a substantial list of complaints, the game is only 99 cents. Not all of the puzzles are hard, but a select few will assuredly stump the player. From a time spent vs money spent perspective, Shifting Sands delivers with its 30 well-constructed levels that will undoubtedly provide ample entertainment. Head on over to the app store and pick this one up if you enjoy puzzles, Shifting Sands will not disappoint.