We all remember those childhood trinkets where your task was to shift coloured squares one by one around a plastic base until they finally formed an image. I was never any good at them, which is why I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed Think Shift.
The chilled puzzler sees you sliding donut shaped coloured circles around a board of increasing complexity to rehome them with a dot of their corresponding colour. You earn yourself a satisfying ding and another step towards the puzzle’s completion. The puzzles themselves become teeth-grindingly difficult once you pass the first few tutorial-ish rounds. It’s all worth it, though, when everything slots into place and you feel that warm satisfied feeling before the trepidation of your next conquest.
The key to Think Shift is understanding that things might have to get worse for them to get better. It’s heartbreaking to have fulfilled all your colours in the top half of the puzzle only to realise you must deconstruct them to worm your way up there with a remaining donut. Nevertheless, it’s never a game-changer, if you’ve got to this point you’ve pretty much made it thanks to a brilliantly thoughtful mechanic that allows any two corresponding colours to be matched. This makes things a lot more enjoyable and takes the edge off what has the potential to be a very frustrating puzzler.
If you do feel like you’ve jammed yourself up a bit, the speed of the reload button will be your saving grace. One quick tap and you’re flashed back to the beginning, ready to rethink your previous decisions. Harder levels can seem daunting at first sight, but after a few elementary swipes victory seems within reach and circles start falling into place. In fact, most of your first moves on any puzzle will be entirely experimental. Due to the ever changing shape of your game board, and the increasing number of colours, it’s difficult to form a concrete strategy for victory – a feature testament to any good puzzle game.
A clean aesthetic makes room for all your heavy thinking, and a decluttered play space makes for a relaxing play experience. Colours really pop against this staunch white background, as evidenced by their fundamental role within the game itself. With 10 levels to unlock in each stage, further stages are obtained by watching a short video before being left to enjoy your experience in peace. Which is ultimately where Think Shift shines – it’s a peaceful, satisfying experience that will keep you coming back for more.