We’ve seen countless versions of what the future looks like. Specifically, we have seen versions of the future with fully immersive technology and how it affects humankind. Shift Quantum is first and foremost a puzzle game. But it tells a story set in a future where people are searching for happiness. Will technology help them find the answer?
Shift Quantum starts with a wonderful, although very corporate, AI walking you through a survey. In this world, Axon Vertigo is the corporation with the program you need to find happiness. The voice puts you at ease. After all, you wouldn’t want to go into an experimental program feeling anxious and scared, right? After a quick survey, your program begins. The survey asks your end goal, and I picked happiness. This program should help me reach my goal, right?
After the survey, you begin your adventure in a series of mazes. The mazes are in contrasting black and white, and for good reason. In Shift Quantum, you have the ability to use Shift to switch from a positive to a negative perspective. When Shift occurs, everything that was black turns white, and vice versa. In a way, the visual aesthetic reminds me of the matrix. Your character is in a black suit and must run, jump, and climb all over each maze.
When you shift, it will open areas of the maze that aren’t available when you start out. Paths that were black are now areas that you can walk in when you Shift. You can use your Shift ability as often as you like, and sometimes you will use it frequently. You can’t shift on the grey squares, so keep that in mind. While shifting unlocks different areas, it may also put you in harms path. Spikes and other obstacles are around no matter how you shift between each plane, so be careful.
I was a little worried about the mazes when I started Shift Quantum. Some puzzle games can get repetitive or too difficult. Well, don’t worry about repetition in Shift Quantum. There are 117 mazes to run through, and each of them has solid variations and challenges to get through. Besides maze layout, you will also get items like boxes that you can push and pull to different areas. You can use these boxes to open areas when you Shift. The puzzles offer a very good amount of challenge. I had to think pretty hard during some of the later mazes, but I ever became overly frustrated.
It’s tempting to focus on the mazes, but the background delivers a nice aesthetic to the game. The background is also in greyscale, but is very detailed and provides an idea of what this future looks like. The background is completely urban with neon lights, flying cars, and large skyscrapers. And don’t be turned off by the greyscale. There are bits of color in the game, but it has to do with the story. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that the color really sticks out in the grey, black, and white environment.
Overall, Shift Quantum is a very fun puzzle game. The Shift mechanic is used quite frequently and offers some different dimensions to the puzzles. There are a ton of mazes, so expect to use those brain muscles of yours for several hours. And if you don’t like the puzzles, then make your own with the level editor! Either way, I recommend Shift Quantum for the quality of puzzles, the cool noir-style environment, and amount of puzzles for the price.
Shift Quantum is available now on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.
Note: GameOctane editor Ryan Welch received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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A good amount of challenge
Might be too many puzzles for some