In Code Shifter for the Nintendo Switch, Stella is a game developer at a company about to launch their upcoming game. Then, the worst happens: a hacker strikes! Thankfully Stella is on the case. She uses an avatar to go into a virtual 2D sidescrolling world to hunt down bugs, destroy bad code, and ultimately stop the hacker from messing up their game launch. Its a unique story/concept for a game, but how is the execution? Is Code Shifter a good game?
Code Shifter is a game with three different styles of gameplay: a 3D “real world”, a 2D sidescrolling virtual world, and a pixel fighting mini-game.
When you start Code Shifter, you’ll find yourself in the 3D “real world”. As Stella, you experience cutscenes here, can move around the environment to talk to coworkers, and can access the 2D virtual world, the fighting game, options, and the menu. Basically this world is your hub world. If you press the plus button (check on this) you can find a quick menu that gives you access to the various places without walking around.
This “real world” is simplistic and cartoon-like but pretty cool. The only real complaint is that the B button is used as the confirm button instead of the A button. That takes a bit of getting use to!
Then there’s the 2D sidescrolling world where all the action takes place. Before going into it, the player is given access to a computer screen. You’ll find tabs for each level, which are slowly unlocked as you beat levels, costume changes eventually and a place where you can add abilities to your character. Once a level is selected, Stella’s avatar goes into the 2D sidescrolling world.
This part of Code Shifter plays like an action platformer. There is a lot of jumping and attacking enemies in this section. At first, the levels may seem a bit generic but quickly the game introduces hero transformations and that makes the levels more fun.
In Code Shifter’s 2D segement, your character will be able transform into various 2D pixelated characters. These transformations are based on Arc System Works characters. You don’t have to have any previous knowledge of the characters. They have their own unique look, powers, and most of them have their own music that starts once you transform into them. The music in this game is pretty great!
Hero transformations are not the only thing in these 2D sidescrolling levels that are cool though. Players will find hero assists, increasingly complex levels as they progress, and some neat bosses! Code Shifter has a lot of depth to its levels.
Some of the later levels get almost Metroidvania like and maps will appear to let the player see where they are. A lot of effort was put into the 2D aspect of Code Shifter.
There is a little repetition to the levels, but just when you think you might get bored, a new transformation or a new challenge is introduced. The levels are mostly fun and often challenging.
That isn’t all the game as to offer. The final mode is the fighting game. This part of Code Shifter is more of a mini-game. There are two modes here: stock and score. In stock, you have a limited amount of lives to beat up the enemy. Meanwhile in score, a certain score has to be reached before you beat the game. The fighting mini-game is the least complex mode in Code Shifter, but its still fun and a nice distraction.
Code Shifter’s concept and gameplay are pretty unique, but they wouldn’t work quite as well without the game’s mix of graphical styles.
The “real world” of Code Shifter looks like a mobile game. That’s not meant as a knock on this game though. Code Shifter’s real world has a cute cartoony look that fits its story. The mobile game look works for Code Shifter.
As for its 2D sidescrolling world, it also has a mobile look but what really makes it feel different is the mix of pixel characters into the mobile looking world. This just works so well.
It would’ve been nice if there was more variety to the backgrounds from level to level though. Even so, each level is interesting thanks to the placement of platforms, powerups, and enemies.
And then there’s the fighting game which is completely pixelated, from its environment to its characters. Its very cool to get a look at one of the games that the Code Shifter’s characters are making. It looks neat.
Overall, Code Shifter is a really fun game!
Code Shifter is a really good game. Some might not like the mobile look of its “real world” but I think it works for this game. Best of all though are the 2D sidescrolling levels that start off simple and get more complex later. The pixelated transformations, especially, rock. You can tell a lot of effort was put into Code Shifter. Code Shifter is worth a look, especially if you enjoy 2D action/platformers.
||Unique and fun concept|
||Cool pixelated transformations|
||More variety in the 2D backgrounds would've been nice|