Shiftlings Enhanced Edition is a colourful co-op platformer set in space. The original game was released in 2015 via Steam and was very well-received, and now it’s making the leap to Nintendo’s latest system with glorious 60 frames per second gameplay.
Shiftlings Enhanced Edition features solo, local and online co-op puzzle platforming over five planets, each comprised of ten levels plus a bonus obstacle course taking you to a grand total of fifty-five. If you’ve played the original, the Enhanced Edition offers better pacing, a better progression system and an improved level layout, which helps both single and multiplayer.
The idea of the game is to navigate to the end of each stage using your character abilities. These characters are bonded together with a cable, but you can shift between controlling them individually or together, and you can even make them smaller or larger to be able to weasel your way through the nooks and crannies throughout the levels. While Shiftlings doesn’t give the player much of an incentive to beat all of these in succession, it means that the game can be picked up and played at will.
When controlling the characters during solo mode, I found that the buttons can be a bit confusing in the midst of tricky platform puzzles. B is jump, X makes you become bigger or smaller, and A switches between the two characters you control. It’s simple enough to remember in general, but applying this in the heat of the action can be quite difficult when muscle memory is telling you to press a different button.
Shiftlings’ saving grace is the fact it’s less confusing playing co-op, as it was intended to be played. The controls are the same, but unless you physically switch between your co-op partner’s character, you only have to worry about your own, which makes the game significantly easier. For what it’s worth, my sister really enjoyed playing Shiftlings co-op with me and found the puzzling element to each stage to be fantastic and satisfying to complete.
The game’s soundtrack is wonderfully futuristic and authentic sounding. It’s not too memorable, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a good fit and on top of that, the game’s narrator is utterly hilarious with their dialogue often perfectly timed with character’s actions within the game.
The gameplay quality is great thanks to the playful style of the game’s colourful characters and environments, but also due to performance. The game manages to keep a 60 frames-per-second frame rate with no hiccups whatsoever.
While you may not want to pick this up strictly for a single player experience, Shiftlings Enhanced Edition is probably one of the best co-op experiences there is on the Nintendo Switch, especially considering the recent surge in top-quality indie titles on the platform. If you like puzzles, platforming and have friends that enjoy video ganes, then this is for you.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch