The Nintendo Switch is a strange animal functioning as both living room console and handheld portable. In its one year of existence, it has seen the release of blockbuster titles, with “best in series” offerings from their intellectual properties AND a swath of indie titles released in rapid succession. These titles range from tried-and-true indie neo-classics to oddities and cell phone/tablet titles – like Warp Shift. This is our review of Warp Shift on Nintendo Switch.
Originally released with resounding success in 2016 on the iOS and Android platforms, Warp Shift is a puzzle solving game that puts a high priority on aesthetics and the enjoyment of gameplay. One of the things that I noticed immediately about Warp Shift is that it is gorgeous! While the character design is simple, the scenery is breath-taking with its hand-painted abstract backdrops.
Speaking of simple, the premise of Warp Shift is simple as well. You play as Pi, a young girl who finds a glowing, sentient cube, but tumbles into the heart of her planet only to discover mysteries to be unlocked. Pi must navigate a labyrinth of shifting chambers to restore the memory of her companion cube.
Like most puzzle games, you are rewarded for completing a puzzle under a specific number of moves, resulting in a rating for completing the puzzle. Warp Shift takes a slightly different approach to this model. While the perfectionist and completionist may challenge themselves to gain a three-star rating by completing the puzzle under a specified number of moves, the casual player can still complete a level and it is just that: a completed level.
Do not take this simple approach to the game to mean that Warp Shift’s puzzles are easy. There is a fair amount of mind-bending challenges within from lining up the right color gates between rooms to finding your cube friend and unlocking exit doors! As you move your way through the five zones, the puzzle difficulty gets progressively higher. If you are among the completionists, Warp Shift should keep your mind sharp for hours.
Since the control layout in Warp Shift and their behavior are a carryover from touchscreen devices, they feel less natural on a controller. The left thumbsticks and D-pad are used to select a chamber to interact with or move to. Selecting a room with the A button will cause Pi to move to it if the path is clear. The right thumbstick shifts the chamber position. I found the sensitivity to be a bit strange, ofter causing me to overshoot how I wanted to move a chamber. Fortunately, a puzzle can be reset as many times as you need to by pressing the X button.
If you like puzzle games that are both challenging and gracious, Warp Shift is worth a shot. At $9.99 USD, it provides a wealth of levels to last a while – especially if you are going for all three stars per level! Warp Shift is a casual puzzler for all ages and skills that presents a good challenge for those who are looking for one out of a puzzler. With its beautiful scenery and ambient soundscape, Warp Shift is a visually stunning and aurally pleasant experience.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.
COMPARE TO: Rooms: The Unsolvable Puzzle, Temple of Xiala
OVERALL SCORE: 7/10
- Gorgeous aesthetic
- Highly accessible
- Good portable title
- Translation of touch controls to control pad