Developed by Fishing Cactus, read on as I take a blue pill, becoming Axon Vertigo’s latest puppet, bending my mind through the challenging, enjoyable experience that is Shift Quantum.
Shift Quantum is a mind-boggling puzzle game that has a great amount of mystique, challenging gamers to navigate successfully to the exit marker via numerous methods to reach the destination.
The game starts off with some corporate dialogue throwing loads of random questions about your own experience and what you want out of the shift quantum program. The tech company that is known as Axon Vertigo then proceeds to claim how great the experience will be, promising better life quality and encourages you to take this blue pill, so the journey begins.
This cyber-noir metropolis is incredibly atmospheric, from the music to the feel of each fuzzy-imaged level design. It reminded me of the Deus EX universe,(almost as if it was a mini-game) the pixelated lead character with the long black coat and slicked up hair instantly reminded me of the inspirational Neo (from enter the matrix) and Adam Jensen.
Navigate around spikes, dangerous jumps, and twist the level design to open up new paths and areas to progress further into the game. Like a parkour experience, you can run, jump, pull yourself up onto higher platforms. Obstacles can prove tricky to get around, but by twisting the environment which results in the screen changing to grayscale, (and the map rotating upside/down like) the obstacles can be avoided. The level will then revert back to black when you re-twist to the previous design.
The backgrounds of each map can be intriguing to watch as it’s like the booming in-game world is coming to life whilst you’re in a pit of dangerous perils. Cars zoom past, whilst there are a plethora of skyscrapers and neon signs adding plenty of detail to what feels like a bustling city many years advanced to ones we live in today.
The gameplay mechanics in Shift Quantum can be complex and certainly prove difficult to overcome during later/more advanced stages. Traversing to some platforms is impossible regardless of the colour you’ve shifted to, spikes are an instant death trigger, and you come across numerous blocks that provide as much a headache as anything else in the game. Adding elements of strategy, having to really think about your next move. Examples of these would be blocks that can destroy other blocks, moveable blocks that obviously are able to be pulled/pushed and then there are other blocks such as blower blocks that’ll blast you away. Lovers of the puzzle solving genre will get plenty of fun here, as the game throws up many complicated paths proving a tough challenge.
Shift Quantum features two main modes, the main campaign option which is crammed with other 100 levels and a stage editor. The stage editor gives the community an arsenal of tools to play with. Place blowers, traps, start/exit markers, activators and more where you see fit, creating new maps and then publishing them to the online servers to be rated and played by fellow gamers all over.
Thanks to Fishing Cactus for the code, Shift Quantum is available now on the Xbox Live, PlayStation store, and Nintendo’s E-store for £15.99. Remember to check out the summary box below for a final word on the game.