Review: Shiftlings (Xbox One)
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Shiftlings is the second game to come out of Sierra Entertainment since Activision reopened it in fall of 2014, the first being Geometry Wars 3. Developed by Rock Pocket Games, Shiftlings is a goofy side scrolling puzzle-platformer.
You play as two idiotic alien janitors who are “fixing” machines, while unwitting starring in a reality show. I say fixing but it’s really just turn a value and pull a lever. One of the aliens that you play drinks the “fizziest soda in the universe” and ends up with a bit of a gas problem; inflating his space suit. Since the both the aliens suits share air through an umbilical cord the “gas” passes through and inflates one or the others suit. Yep the game is just one big fart joke and that’s fine. Farts are funny. That’s also where the main mechanic in the game is, you have to navigate the levels with one alien inflated and having to switch who is inflated to get through obstacles. You also only control one alien at a time. Whichever alien is inflated is also the heaviest for some reason. This can but used to haul the smaller one up on platforms and then he can jump on top of the fat one and use him as a bouncy castle to get to a higher platform. When moving only the fat one can pull the other which can be an issue when you are trying to go up a onto a lift and only one makes it on and the umbilical cord is cut and killing them.
Host/announcer of this wacky reality show would fit right in on a Nickelodeon kids game show. He jokes can be funny at times but can get repetitive quickly, especially if you repeatedly die in the same area and have to restart from the checkpoint. In between worlds he has some snarky comment about how dangerous the next world is and how it’ll be very entertaining to watch.
It’s not until about mid-way through when you start to actually come across enemies. They enemy robot that’s wander the levels have saw blades and giant hammers. Who gives a robot a saw blade? That just asking to get killed. You can jump on theirs head to destroy them but only if it’s the big alien. Here’s a little tip: use the small alien to jump above the robot to get the height; then inflate him as he’s coming down to destroy the robot.
Shiftlings does have two player co-op. As you can expect one player controls one alien and the other controls to the second. You can no longer use the B button to switch characters (makes sense, right?). Both players have the ability to inflate and/or deflate the other. That can make for a back and forth of inflating and deflating both of you fighting for control. The skill that become the hardest, that I found while testing the co-op, is the one where one has to jump on the other and use the fat one as a trampoline but you also have to walk across the screen at the same time. In single player, you can hold down the Left Bumper and both character move at the same time. Not the case in co-op, obviously. Be sure to watch the video above to see William and I play some of the co-op.
Over all Shiftlings is a pretty ok game. If you really enjoyed games like ‘Splosion Man series then you’ll like this game.
*Code Supplied by Publisher*