This was supposed to be a review for Shift, but a quick first impression showed that it is nearly identical to Ivory Tiles, which was released a mere 2 months earlier. Both games are rock solid puzzlers… but since we didn’t get to Ivory Tiles, you get a package deal here!
Out since January, this puzzle title from Munky Fun, Inc., is basic in its concept — move the corresponding blocks to their specified locations on the board. It’s old-school in that sense, but the execution is what sets it apart.
Players start out with a set of blocks on a preset board. The blocks always move in straight lines and only stop when they hit something, so navigation is dictated through careful use of the environment. The accelerometer comes in to play here, as a simple tilt left, right, forward or backward is enough to get the blocks moving, though a touch option is available as well. There’s no fine tuning of the movements or calibration necessary since the blocks only have one place to go — refreshing compared to so many other accelerometer-driven games out there.
Difficulty is gradually ramped up through the level progression, which is tiered at different challenge levels. There can be some real head-scratching moments as the levels jump to 3D with different elevations in play. Thinking about a puzzle in three dimensions with moving pieces is a challenge, for sure. Completing those challenges is incredibly satisfying, especially some of the harder ones that start popping up in the middle difficulty tier. Scoring is based on par, but there’s no moves limit.
All of the above applies to both games, with a few subtle differences between them. For the Sinophiles out there, Ivory Tiles is perfect with its wooden board and East Asian Theme. Fans of Brian Eno and ambient techno in general will dig the soundtrack for Shift. They’re easy games to get in to, and can be quite addicting with a little momentum. Style differences aside, they are both well-executed with elegant simplicity.