Shift Happens is a puzzle platformer that was developed by Klonk Games and published by Deck13 Interactive. It tells the story of two blobs, Plom and Bismo, which are bounded by physics to share masses with each other after an accident occurs. To resolve this issue, they must travel through the laboratories to find a missing part to fix the machine. This adventure spans throughout four different areas with completely different atmospheres. At one moment, you are in a laboratory, trying to dodge laser beams and spark traps, then the next minute you are going through a forest watching out for spike-ridden vines. This title switches up the environments on you through holodecks and it can be seen on the first level of the new stage when the background shifts between the previous level to the new one. This title can be played either in single-player, where you have to switch between Plom and Bismo on the fly to complete the puzzles, or in either local or online co-op. To keep the experience from getting stale, the co-op levels even include aspects that are different to the single-player experience. This idea of separate campaigns was an interesting way for the developers to implement things in the cooperative levels that were just not feasible to do in single player. The puzzles task players with shifting the weight between Plom and Bismo to knock down bridges, use trampolines, and squeeze into small spaces. The only goal of each level is to reach the end and take the elevator to the next stage; however, there are various side objectives to keep the levels interesting and test your patience to achieve a perfect run. Each stage contains seventy-five orbs that are scattered throughout the level and contains a secret area that must be found to collect all the orbs. Collecting all of them will net you with all three ‘stars’ for the level and the more orbs that you have, the more extra lives that are awarded. A fan of time trials? Well, this game has those too! Each level has a time trial that gives you another star on the level. These time trials do not unlock until after completing the level once, so it gives you plenty of time to practice every nook and cranny of the level and hone your inner speed-running skills.
Shift Happens is priced at $15 USD and I feel that is more than reasonable, but if you are going to purchase this game make sure you are able to play it in co-op. Have some friends over, find someone online that also has the game, and maybe even pay someone to play it with you (Uhhh…maybe don’t do that, it might turn out weird). In the end, this is a game that strives upon the cooperation of two individuals and that is where it shines. By yourself, you just aren’t getting the true experience that it has to offer.
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 7/10
+Stellar Puzzle and Level Design
+Great Cooperative Experience