Fascinating, Captain: Shifts is my discovery of the year so far

By Owen Faraday 04 Feb 2013 0
"She's got it where it counts, kid." "What a piece of junk!"

I spent a little while last night and this morning with Shifts - an excellent original iPad sci-fi strategy game from new kids Threadbare Games. I'm kind of in love with it.

Shifts is essentially a solitaire board game, a little like Weird Worlds - you can play a whole session in fifteen minutes, and the game will be different the next time you play.

In Shifts, mankind has been wiped out by rogue nanomachines or some other MacGuffin - your job, as the captain of the arkship ISA-001, is to find humanity some suitable new homes among the stars.

As Star Trek and FTL have taught us to expect from science fiction spaceships, things are going wrong at every possible junction - your vessel was clearly built by the lowest bidder. By clever allocation of your Roddenberry-style beautiful, multi-ethnic bridge officers can you keep the ship together long enough to complete your mission of seeding the galaxy with new oases for mankind.

Your officers each have an expertise at defusing particular crises, as well as a special ability that you can use while navigating the expanse of space. New crises emerge every turn, but you can only use three officers at any given time to combat them - which also adds to their exhaustion levels. Do you put Leticia on shift so she can talk down your ship's insane AI, or do you use her abilities to perform long-range scans to direct your colonization efforts?

Shift gives you interesting choices to make every single turn while you struggle to eke one more jump out of your doomed ship. It's atmospheric and original - highly recommended. I can't wait to talk to Threadbare Games to see what else they've got in store.

Watch out for a proper Shifts review soon. The trailer is after the jump, and you can get Shifts on the App Store for two bucks - iPad only.

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