Shift is one of the most recognizable Flash game series on the web, so it makes sense that the folks over at Armor Games are prioritizing it on their ‘port to iPhone’ list. While the original iPhone version was a great port of the first Flash installment with a few extra levels, Shift 2 is a complete overhaul of the sequel. In fact, apart from a couple of rooms at the beginning, you won’t recognize any similarity between the two.
Shift 2′s gameplay mechanic is exactly what it sounds like: You shift between the black and white areas of the square levels in order to reach the exit. In order to create a clear path, you’ll need to utilize gravity-altering switches, keys, and light bulbs that clear checkered boxes. Unlike in the previous Shift installment, you won’t be racing against the clock, since each level is more focused on puzzles instead of speed.
Shift 2 is quite challenging in its later levels, and this is both good and bad. On the one hand, it keeps things interesting, but at the same time you may become frustrated. Precision within a few-pixel margin is necessary to make some jumps, and a mistake will bring you right back to the start of the level. You’ll even need to jump off of gravity switches in succession with no room for error. Until you master these tricks, there will be plenty of deaths coming your way.
The shift just hit the fan.
Much like GLaDOS in Portal, a mysterious and unnamed entity sends you eerie messages as you play. This has been one of the most interesting aspects of other Shift games, but not in Shift 2. Instead of hinting at your death, the wall writing almost always is something like ‘Challenge your friends!’, ‘Here is your current playthrough time’, or ‘My wife wants me to be home by dinner’. Yes, the evil computer is angry with you because his wife doesn’t want supper to get cold.
The controls remain unchanged from the original Shift, probably because they work very well. You’re given an arrow on both sides of the screen. When holding one down, the other arrow turns into a jump button. You can also jump straight up by tapping the middle of the screen. Shifting is performed with ‘shift’ buttons in the top corners of the screen.
The main game is 120 levels long, which by itself is great. By the end of these levels, you’ll have unlocked another 30 bonus levels. Altogether, this is about three to four hours worth of content, depending on your shifting skills.
Shift, jump, shift, jump, shift, jump, shift… you were saying?
Once you’ve completed all 150 levels, there are still more to be unlocked via Shift 2′s scanner feature. On Armor Games’ blog and Fishing Cactus’ blog, QR barcodes are being posted daily that, when scanned into your game, open up a new level for you to play. We believe there are 20 of these to be found, although only four are currently available. Note that your device will need a camera to use this feature.
There are a couple of bugs throughout Shift 2, ranging from occasional freezes after getting a push notification to all-out crashes. However, the only one that really bothered us was when we would shift and automatically die without touching any spikes, forcing a manual level restart. This occurred several times in our playthrough of the game.
Game Center leaderboards are available for those who want to compete for the fastest times. The achievements are all of the basic ‘finish X amount of levels’ variety, although they provide some amusing text once you unlock them.
There may be a couple of bugs, but they’re easy to overlook. Shift 2 has the most content of any game in the series on any platform, and it’s a great way to spend a dollar. A dollar for 150+ levels– do you still need to be persuaded?