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Video Game / Shift

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Greetings Subject 32763

Welcome to Shift, your not so ordinary puzzle platformer.

Shift is a quadrilogy flash game series about test subjects that have to reach the exit, utilizing a power known as "shift". When the test subject shifts, they invert into the ground below them, making the white tiles the foreground and the black tiles the background. As the game progresses to sequels, new things are added such as tiles you can't shift on as well as arrows that shift gravity.

Truthfully, the company that's performing the experiment has actually captured a father, mother and son to use them as test subjects to experiment on them in secret. As the series progresses, the family tries to escape.

The first game was released in 2008, and the entire series is available at Armor Games, Newgrounds and Kongregate. Go here.

A Gaiden Game by the name of Shift: Freedom has been released. It was initially exclusive to the iPhone. Additionally, an adaptation called Shifting World made by Aksys was released in April 2012 for the 3DS.

No relation to Need for Speed: Shift or its sequel, Shift 2: Unleashed.

This flash game has examples of:

  • Advancing Wall of Doom: A few spike-lined walls make appearances in the first two games.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall
    • In the first game, at one point it claims the player's timer has been corrupted and it will not be able to record their name as a high score.
    • In the beginning of Shift 2, when an Advancing Wall of Doom in the first level stops halfway instead of crushing the player, the game claims it's due to a "faulty actionscript".
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Everything is in stark black and white, and your Shift ability lets you invert the world and swap between the two to advance. The only colour are the drops of red blood left behind when your protagonist is killed.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The endings. All of them, to the point of apparent self-parody by the fourth game.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first game always ends with a Downer Ending, as unlike the sequels, it lacks a proper good ending.
  • Everything Explodes Ending: In Shift 4, taking the escape rocket somehow causes the entire universe to explode. The cutscene is set to the delightfully cheery song "Boum" by Charles Trenet.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: To beat the game, you have to, well, shift. And it is performed by the shift key.
  • Fake Difficulty: An unintentional example. In Shift: Freedom, one of the levels is an otherwise fairly simple platformer, simply jump between a few pillars and avoid the spikes, no puzzle mechanics involved. What makes it hard is that the game itself has framerate issues and is very glitchy, and there is a high chance the timing of one of your jumps will not register, or you will hold on to the right key for what would have been long enough has the game not paused for a fraction of a second. This level is the first to have a hint that you can skip frustrating levels.
  • Gravity Screw: Aside from the titular Shift mechanic, arrow tiles from Shift 2 onwards change the level's gravity at any time.
  • Happily Ever After: The Good Ending of Shift 4.
  • Heroic Mime: Fancy Pants Man in Shift 3, which is lampshaded in the final cutscene. Apparently, Brad Borne never intended for him to talk.
  • Level Editor: Introduced in Shift 2.
  • Lighter and Softer: Fancy Pants' appearance in Shift 3. His storyline has him simply get to the end to recover the orange color of his pants, which were stolen by the enemy. Even his death animation is an example of this, which has him explode into stars instead of drops of red blood. This was probably done because his origin series is an example of this compared to the Shift games (the worst that happens is a Winged Soul Flies Off at Death).
  • Mind Screw: Don't try to figure out how the Shift mechanic works. Or how the multiple characters in Shift 4 can maneuver in different spaces and gravities all at the same time.
  • Multiple Endings: Starting in Shift 2, if you get the Bad Ending, the game will hint that there's a better one out there, but you'll have to figure out the rest on your own.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: If you die in general, you simply start the level/room over, like in Prince of Persia. If you reach the Bad Ending instead, it's game over.
  • Plot Hole: Shift 1 and 2 end with the player character either dying or escaping the facility. But somehow, in the ending of Shift 3 and the gameplay of 4 those characters are still imprisoned and need to be rescued.
  • Secret Character: In Shift 3, you can unlock Mel Gibson. Actually, Fancy Pants.
  • Shout-Out: Portal, and at the end of Shift 4, Shaft. There's probably at least a half a dozen more.
    • In the first one, there's a whopping two of these to Portal: "Now you're thinking with shifting :P" and "THE TIMER IS A LIE!".
    • Shift 2 Has a button in "Extras" that claims to lead to a sequel to "Portal The Flash Game," Clicking this button makes the button fall off the screen and permanently inaccessible to see again.
    • Shift 2: Mini Adventure parodies the latter with "THE ROOM COUNT IS A LIABILITY!"
  • Spikes of Doom: They can be either black or white, depending on how you have shifted the world. Either way, they'll still instantly reduce your character to Red Mist, while remaining pristine themselves.
  • Take Your Time: With the exception of the two minute warning in Shift 4, All of the games play this straight. The timer only tells you how long you've been playing.
  • That One Level: In Shift 2, the level with the message, "Notice: This level is CPU intensive. If lag occurs, please upgrade your PC." And lag always occurs, making it difficult to make your maneuvers, and sometimes resulting in a crash. However, when you reach the fourth key, more text is revealed, saying, "Joking again. :P Now, wasn't that annoying!?" And then it stops its fake "lag".
  • Timed Mission: Every Shift game has a timer somewhere in it telling you how long you've been playing (and the game likes messing with you on this matter, too). In Shift 4, it says you have only "ten minutes" to complete each chapter, but this is a lie (you even get a medal for letting the timer expire). However, when Shift 4 gives you "two minutes" to get through three rooms to reach the Good Ending, it really does mean it.