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Game Info:

Shiftlings
Developed by: Rock Pocket Games
Published by: Sierra
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U
Genre: Puzzle/Platformer
Number of Players: Up to two players
ESRB Rating: Teen for crude humor, suggestive themes, alcohol and tobacco use
Price: $14.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Sierra for sending us this game to review!

Shiftlings is a 3D platformer/puzzle game about an interplanetary game show that features two custodians who are conjoined by an air hose.  These janitorial aliens are thrown into deadly puzzles and they must make their way to the repair station to activate the exit and move on to the next level.  In total there are fifty levels that take place on five wacky planets.  In each level there are three bottles of Black Hola Cola waiting to be collected.  Future levels are unlocked by collecting the required amount of Black Hola Colas. 

This mysterious beverage grants the aliens the ability to shape shift.  One alien is skinny and one of them is inflated.  They can swap modes as long as there is enough room for the inflated alien where the skinny one is currently standing.  Each mode has its advantages. The smaller alien can jump higher and interact with switches while the inflated alien can pull the smaller one and move heavy boxes.  The smaller alien can jump on top of the inflated one trampoline style to reach higher ground.  

Highlights:

Strong Points: Great co-op gameplay; challenging levels that make you think; silly humor
Weak Points: Not many people online to play against 
Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence; crude humor

The puzzles gradually get harder and thankfully you can usually take your time solving them.  That is if you don't want to partake in the time attack or leader boards.  After ten levels in the planet are completed, the time attack mode and leader board become unlocked.  A challenging bonus level will become available as well.  Thankfully these brutally hard levels are completely optional to complete.

There are various jumping puzzles and obstacles like deadly flames and lasers to avoid.  The major limitation is the air hose that connects the two aliens together.  If their air hose gets severed they will die and will re-spawn at the beginning of the level or at the last checkpoint.  Any Black Hola Colas gained since the check point will have to be re-acquired and this is usually not a simple task.  

Shiftlings
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 89%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

Even though Shiftlings is very playable by itself, it's best played with a partner to control the other alien.  Unfortunately, I was not able to find any active games with players online.  I did get a Steam achievement for inviting someone to join my game though.  Other than Steam achievements, there are trading cards and cloud saves. 

The ESRB gave Shiftlings a Teen rating, but I found the game to be more silly than anything and had no problems letting my kids play it on my PC.  There is cartoon violence and lots of silly humor.  The announcer will insult your intelligence a bit when you carelessly die and he does make a comment or two with sexual innuendo.  The background announcements are funny to listen to and the one about lethal spankings made my kids laugh. 

Don't let the colorful and cute graphics fool you, Shiftlings is a very challenging game.  I enjoyed it best in small doses.  It may lure kids in, but the difficult levels may scare them off after a while.  The price is a reasonable $14.99 on Steam and there is a free demo available if you want to give it a try before buying it.  I highly recommend it if you enjoy puzzle games.  If you're just looking for a platformer game, you may want to look elsewhere.  

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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