Platformers have returned in stride as the independent market has skyrocketed, developing games like Shovel Knight and Fez; and now, Shift Happens. Having released on February 22, the game follows two blob-like creatures after the factory that developed them begins to malfunction. The blobs developed at said factory all have the capability to change their size from small to big, allowing for the blobs to maneuver through different obstacles. The two characters you play as primarily, Bismo and Plom, have had their size-changing powers completely mixed around when they enter a chamber that forces one of them to shrink in size if the other decides to grow bigger.
The game is meant to be played with two players, as I have tried to play it by myself and found incredibly difficult in doing so. Not because the puzzles or areas themselves were difficult, but because you have to play as both characters. While one shrinks, you can use the other to carry and throw him onto another platform, then you switch back and see how to move forward from there. Wit a second person, you have a much easier time maneuvering through the more difficult levels as you progress.
Shift Happens has a total of four stages across different environments that will challenge you according to you players weaknesses. For example, the blobs can withstand water, if they’re higher than it. So, much of the game is about carefully knowing when to change between large and small without destroying the other blob or injuring yourself, prompting the level to start over.
I had begun playing the game the day of the release and my single regret in doing so is not being there for all the updates featuring hats that Bismo and Plom can wear. For Valentine’s Day, for example, Bismo got a little bow to put in his head while Plom had an ‘arrow through the head’ hat. Hopefully, this is a continuing trend that we will continue to see moving forward because if there’s anything that pulls people towards a game, its the event items. However, the event items don’t make the game, and the other Dwellers and I spent much time arguing about the margin for error and handicapping your partner when playing, making it a fun time from beginning to end.
Shift Happens has made a name for itself in the action-platformer genre, even earning credibility from sources like Felicia Day and Hardcore Gamer. That being said, this game could very well be the next best platformer, still at the top ten Action games available from Steam as of writing this.
Released on February 22,2017
Developed by Klonk Games
Published by Klonk Games, Deck13, and FFF Bayern
Reviewed on PC
Check out the launch trailer for Shift Happens below: