In my first review for MLG – the truly awful Yorbie, if you care to relive it – I wrote about the resurgence of Indie platformers available on current-gen consoles… Well today we have another, Shiftlings from Rock Pocket Games.
In Shiftlings, you control two hapless aliens that while going about their business stumble upon the fizziest drink in the known universe – Black Hola Cola. One of the aliens drinks it, causing a rather large volume of gas to be expelled from his person, filling up his space suit and blowing him up like a balloon.
Luckily, our two aliens are tethered together, enabling them to shift the gas between them on demand, providing the foundation for some pretty unique co-op style gameplay, as you help our alien buddies navigate their world. They remain tethered together, and you can flick between which one you control, and which one is the larger and heavier gas-filled one at the push of a button.
While I played the game in single player mode, it feels like co-op multiplayer is where the game would really come into it’s own, with each player taking control of one character and having to work together to solve the increasingly complex levels.
There are some genuine ‘surprise and delight’ moments in this game. While the controls are simple – shift gas and move two tethered characters – they provide some seriously innovative gameplay. There was a real sense of satisfaction the first time I worked out how to use the blown-up gas filled character as an anchor to help his smaller companion reach a new area.
There’s also a lot of humour to the game – toilet humour, but humour nonetheless. The closest thing I can compare it to is the Rabid Rabbids series of games. If you’ve ever played them, then you’ll know the crazy, nonsensical brand of comedy that moves you through the story.
There are ‘boss fights’ at the end of each section of the game, though in Shftlings these bosses come in the form of giants that roam the level, changing the obstacles in your path and generally trying to slow you down. These provide some of the most challenging bits in the game, and are a lot of fun to play.
In conclusion, Shiftlings is a joy to jump into! It’s a good-looking platformer that plays well and offers up large amounts of challenging and surprisingly unique gameplay. While it’s not necessarily a game that will keep you engrossed for hours at a time, it’s a cracking pick-up-and-play title that I guarantee you’ll keep coming back to – even more so if you can find someone to play co-op with.
MLG Rating: 7/10 Format: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Shiftlings by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 7 days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.