Indie puzzle games come in all shapes and sizes but sometimes, the simpler ones provide the most fun. Warp Shift may have basic gameplay but mastering its puzzles is quite an impressive challenge so get ready to slide some tiles.
For one reason or another, I love tile-sliding puzzle games. From the PlayStation classic Crossroad Crisis to the highly underrated Tilelicious for Wii U, I just can't get enough of this simple formula. Anyway, Warp Shift is played by sliding rows and columns of rooms that loop around. Your goal is simply to guide the main character (a little girl named Pi) from the start to the goal. However, you'll encounter plenty of roadblocks along the way that force you to activate switches, warp between two points, and open doors. Upon completing a stage, you're awarded anywhere from zero to three stars according to how many moves it took you to beat it. Overall, the simplistic gameplay setup is extremely easy to learn but working out how to completely master every stage will require a lot of careful planning. If that doesn't work, you could always go for the trial and error approach.
Warp Shift is one of the most gorgeous indie puzzle games that I've ever played. The opening scene that shows Pi discovering her mysterious yet delightful cube friend and entering the magical world beneath is mesmerizing. As you play, it's easy to admire the detailed visuals and animations. Watching Pi and her cube friend interact is adorable. Even seeing Pi flip around in her gravity-free world as you think of your next move will put a smile on your face. There are five environments that you'll find yourself within throughout the course of the campaign and each one is distinct although not much changes besides the background image. On the audio side, the atmospheric melodies are captivating and the sound effects are spot-on. The robotic cube fellow even sounds like R2-D2.
Even though Warp Shift is a simple game to play, obtaining all three stars in each stage can be a surprisingly difficult endeavor. Minimizing the amount of moves that you take while solving a puzzle requires a great deal of planning and thinking outside of the box. At the start, this merely involves sliding rows and columns in seemingly unintuitive ways. For example, sliding a row so its leftmost room ends up on the right-hand side. As you progress, things get a lot more complicated and each puzzle starts to involve at least a few steps. Once you flip a switch to activate the warp portals, open the door to the exit, then finally escape the stage only to see that you earned three stars feels simply incredible. If this sounds appealing to you then you'll have a great time mastering Warp Shift.
On the other hand, Warp Shift certainly doesn't feature that much content. For starters, there are only 75 stages contained within 5 worlds. There is no multiplayer or any extra modes that will add much-needed replay value. I would have loved to see a level creator or any sort of similar content. Along the same lines, the replay value is limited to just trying to achieve three stars within each stage. If there were collectibles or a list of challenges then that would have provided welcome additional replay incentives.
Warp Shift is an impressive puzzle game with absolutely fantastic visuals and sound. The lack of extra content and replay incentives may be disappointing but puzzle fanatics should definitely still pick this clever concoction up.
- + Simple gameplay that's easy to learn
- + Outstanding presentation
- + Mastering puzzles is a satisfying challenge that'll have you thinking outside the box
- - Only contains 75 puzzles with no supplementary modes
- - Not much replay value besides trying to get three stars on every stage