Shift Quantum is now up for grabs across the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam realms when, to my surprise even, SHIFT’s as old as 2008. Sort of.
Fishing Cactus’ game-play mechanic of manipulating black & white space, SHIFT, has been the subject of a series of predominantly puzzle-platforming mobile games of the same name. All of these in some form of the other have required players, test subjects of a grand experiment, to escape from a monochromatic labyrinth.
With a brand-new aesthetic that attempts to keep things next-gen and the original spirit intact, Shift Quantum also differs from its predecessors in its layered narrative; supposedly Axon Vertigo has managed to lure the inhabitants of a cyber-noir dystopian universe into its Cerebral Contentedness Program.
Unassuming applicants are promised happiness in exchange for a more resilient universal artificial intelligence. It might sound like a win-win, like Recall meets The Matrix too as the Belgian studio points out, but things are quick to turn dark as is the case with all matters of this nature.
As one such naïve subject you, Number 32763, are called to escape the Shift Quantum program you’re plugged into. To this end you’re provided with a variety of blocks of the Moving, Color-Switcher, Blower and Rotator kind, to name a few, making for an assortment of game-play scenarios when combined with SHIFT.
The 117-or-so levels are far from your conventional walk in the park moreover, rushing into which seemingly ends in with impalement. Meanwhile a few other niceties permit you to take a breather in the form of custom level editing with cross-platform sharing/challenges, controller support, 4K/big picture compatibility, and a thematic 13-track original score.
As for who in their right minds would submit themselves to a negative space program in exchange for happy thoughts? The folks who’ve done so for the role of a tester at Axon Vertigo’s fictional website apparently.