In the past few years, we've seen many successful console releases based on titles that were originally free-to-play online Flash games. Games like Alien Hominid and Super Meat Boy used their successful Flash outings as a foundation for expansion, adding additional features and ideas that took full advantage of the hardware they were using. Shifting World has similar origins: it sprung from a series of Flash games called Shift (which have seen numerous ports to smartphones and even PSN), but adds numerous new twists and elements incorporating the capabilities of the 3DS hardware. Unfortunately, these additions aren't as well thought out and implemented as they could be, resulting in a game that ultimately falls short of the charming little puzzles that spawned it.
Shifting World finds its enigmatic hero trapped in a strange, two-toned series of mazes by the equally mysterious Duke of Shadows. The reasons this hero is stuck in this world aren't immediately clear, but what is obvious is that he must find a way to extract himself from this monochrome mess as swiftly as possible. But just rushing through these platforming environments isn't going to accomplish much of anything: you will soon come up against obstacles and structures that seem insurmountable. That's where Shifting World's unique gameplay gimmick comes into play. When you press the shift button, the room does a 180-degree flip and changes its structure so that the foreground sinks into the background, and vice versa, creating passageways and platforms that weren't there previously.
Shifting has other uses, too: certain platforms and elements in the environment react to shifting in their own ways, while some floors prevent shifting entirely. Keys and switches are also scattered throughout stages, opening new paths to different parts of the level upon collection and proper activation, respectively. Not everything in these mazes is beneficial or benevolent, however: traps, such as instant-kill spikes, also exist to turn simple puzzles into precarious predicaments if you aren't careful. It's a clever take on the platform-puzzle formula, and on paper, it sounds like a recipe for a brain-boggling good time.
Yes, the concept is proven to be very fun--in its original Shift incarnation. Unfortunately, many of the "advanced" new elements that Shifting World tosses into the mix only serve to hamper the game instead of making it more interesting.