I absolutely love puzzle games. I thought that I would throw that out there in case I start drooling too much over various elements of them in every review I do. Sure, some of them get repetitive and the gameplay gets stale after a while but that doesn’t matter to me. Puzzle games are great pick up and play titles and having them on the Nintendo Switch is like two peas in a pod. Not every puzzle game is amazing on the Switch but I can say that Warp Shift is pretty damn beautiful and fun.
Warp Shift is a semi-complicated 2.5D puzzle game originally developed by Fishlabs on the iOS and Android platforms and now ported to the Nintendo Switch by ISBIT Games. The great thing about this title is that there is a small story that goes along with why you are solving these puzzles. The gorgeous opening scene presents you with a girl named Pi who is looking for a way home. She ends up meeting a tiny square robotic being that leads her through various mazes (the puzzles) to get her home. Oh, and Pi can float.
I have been tapping my fingers here for a while now trying to find the words to describe this puzzle game and it is more complicated than I thought (and I like that). The puzzles based off of a grid system where every space on the grid is like a small room that makes up an entire maze. You have to traverse the rooms on by one by selecting the room you want to go to and either tapping it or pressing A. You are trying to basically find the shortest path from the starting point to the end point. The unique part of the grid is that you can vertically or horizontally slide the rooms to move the doorways in order to get your character through the maze. The idea is simple but the explanation is tough: make your way through the maze by sliding the rooms so that the doors line up and you can reach the exit.
The aesthetics are beautiful. I actually can’t stop looking at it. The 3D models are crisp and clean and you really feel like you are moving Pi around with fluidity. The animations are flawless and everything seems to be there for a reason. I truly feel like there was a lot of effort put into this game back in 2016 when the game was released on iOS and Android.
There are 5 worlds with 15 levels in each for you to solve. Each world introduces a new mechanic with the old mechanics being reintroduced from time to time. A world may have you matching colored doors, going through portals to get to other rooms, collecting the cube robot to open the exit for you, unlocking doors/portals with switches, and sometimes a mix of the mechanics on one level. There is just enough content in this title to allow you to play it in chunks and not all at once (even though I personally played it all in two sittings). This is what I love about puzzle games. There is no rush and the puzzles actually make you feel calm and relaxed (unless you are the type of person that freaks out over not finding a solution to a puzzle). Also, each level has a move limit. Technically you have unlimited moves but if you want to perfect the level (3 stars) then you have to solve the maze in a set amount of moves. This gives the game some decent replay value because you can only unlock worlds with a set number of stars collected. Can you see the mobile elements sneaking in here?
The music is decent for what it is. Mellow atmospheric tunes in the background as you traverse the worlds. The sound effects as you swipe the rooms around and move Pi around the rooms is great and there is no annoyance like in many other puzzle games I have played. One thing I absolutely love about music in puzzle games is that the developers seem to understand that you need to have good audio for those people that just want to sit and think about what is in front of them.
Warp Shift is great. I enjoyed almost every aspect of it. It wasn’t too short and it wasn’t too long. There was no pure frustration over the mazes and I could plot out my solution with ease. I am so glad they incorporated a story into this game because I feel like most puzzle games gloss over a need for that. This game is a great addition to the Nintendo Switch library but you can also pick it up on iOS and Android if you prefer it on those platforms.
Warp Shift is available on iOS, Android and Nintendo Switch