By: Ted Chow
Ever wondered how it be to work as alien janitors traversing the galaxy and platforming through hilarious backdrops and planets? Well look no further as Shiftlings is that quintessential game full of wacky, fun 2D hijinxs for kids and adults alike. With local co-op available, it really is double the pleasure, double the fun!
If you’re used to 2D platformers, then you’ll pick up on the game’s controls pretty quickly. The game offers both keyboard and controller support with key-binding features for all relevant inputs. Shiftlings encourages co-op play through their drop in, drop out approach to getting another buddy in as your partner in crime.
This offers some additional unique experiences that you might not get if you play solo. Controls and camera view are the same in both solo and co-op play so both players need to move in tandem to pan in any particular direction. Complementing the established control scheme, the play experience feels smooth and natural.
Shiftings will take you into many different planet stages that are full of activity and interesting backdrops. The overall visual themselves are pretty light hearted and made with accessibility to a wider audience in mind. If you enjoy some Pixar-esque characters and ambience, then Shiftlings will give off that appeal. The soundtrack in the game is also complementary to the game’s tone with what feels like music warped in from shows such as Futurama.
Shiftlings is a 2D platformer in which you play as Purple Plop and Green Goop, who are space engineers going about the galaxy fixing broken down machinery on a reality show for the entertainment of the alien population. If there was ever a premise as out of the box as this one, I’m not sure what’d be.
Much of the mechanics to the game follow suit to other 2D platformers where you will traverse a given stage to the end point and collect energy drinks as hard to acquire collectables for max completion.
The feature that helps separate Shiftlings from the pack is the ability to play local co-op with a buddy and the swapping feature to finish the stages. An air hose connects the two heroes together, and if that connection is severed it can lead you to restart at the nearest checkpoint.
There is also the fact that one of the heroes is plumped to balloon size and all that air can shift from one to the other in order to solve the platform puzzles. You can bounce, drag and suspend your heroes in order to reach the next platform or gather the energy drinks hidden throughout the stages. This dynamic can provide some interesting and hilarious scenarios as you travel from stage to stage.
With more than 50 stages across multiple planets, Shiftlings will offer some unique stages to complete. And with the addition of time modes and leaderboards, there is always a reason to go back to previous stages — if for nothing more than to hear the entertaining commentary.
Shiftlings is a fun and lovable game for all ages to enjoy. With some interesting mechanics in the form of shifting your characters and their proportions, you are given strategic ways to tackle the platform challenges. Different planets also have unique sets of puzzles to try and solve, and it’s always nice to see some variation. Overall, Shiftlings has a little bit of everything for everybody to take pleasure in.