reviews and playing tips: Palm and Pocket PC games
Shape Shifter by Astraware Price:
$19.95 Reviewed February 2005 by Marc Morgan
Shape Shifter is
a puzzle game from award-winning developer Astraware with
a circus theme. It’s an original
game, and it’s really addictive. Like many other Astraware
games, Shape Shifter features both music and sound
effects, and is full of beautiful colors. At first glance,
you might think Shape Shifter is just another puzzle
game out of the hundreds out there, but prepare to be amazed!
The idea in Shape Shifter is
to fill in all of the empty spaces with shapes that match
with the space on the moving bars so the bar disappears.
There are different types and colors of shapes, such as stars,
hands, snowflakes, arrows, leaves, feet, and many more! There
are also pieces that can be used in any space, and they appear
every once and a while during gameplay. If you can’t use any of the pieces available,
you can put a piece in the red and blue trash, and a new piece
will take its place. There are two different game modes to
choose from: Beat the Clock and Shape Speedster. In Beat the
Clock mode, you have to fill a certain amount of bars before
the time runs out. There are also bonus levels every once and
a while to test your skill. In Shape Speedster, you have to
fill a certain amount of bars before they pile up to the top
of the screen. If they pile to the top of the screen, it’s
game over. If you manage to clear all the bars on the screen,
and there are still more bars waiting to come, they will come
immediately for you to get rid of. Between levels, there is
a nice level-up screen that you can use as a break before you
start the next level. Before you start the game, you can choose
to start anywhere from levels 1-99, depending on your skill.
On the first level, if you select a piece to use, the empty
spaces that can fit it will glow, but in levels after the first,
you have to receive a power-up by using a sparkling piece to
do this. Shape Shifter provides a great new concept
that’s both easy to master, and very addictive.
The controls in Shape Shifter are
simple and easy to master. To fill a space, you tap on the
piece you want to use, and drag it to the space. If you can’t
use the space, you drag it to the red and blue trash. Navigation
through the menus is done using the stylus as usual. Getting
used to the controls takes no time at all, and they are easy
When you open Shape Shifter,
you will be greeted with beautiful circus-themed graphics.
All the menus are well decorated and follow the theme well.
In gameplay, the shapes all have brilliant colors, and jump
off the screen at you. All the other aspects of the gameplay
are smooth, and look amazing. Also, the layout is perfect,
so you can easily look at how you’re doing, and what
shapes you can use without losing time. The graphics in Shape Shifter meet and
go beyond the expectations you would have for an Astraware
Shape Shifter features both sound effects and music.
The music flows continuously throughout the game, and is a
perfect match with the theme. There are many sound effects,
such as putting a piece in a space, a piece not fitting in
a space, menu selection, etc. The sound effects add to the
game nicely, and do not get annoying. However, you can turn
the sounds off if you need to.
Overall, Shape Shifter is a great game with a great
concept. The idea of filling shapes into moving spots is easy
to get used to and great fun. The graphics are well done, colourful,
and easy on the eyes. The music works perfectly with the theme
of the game, and sounds great. The sound effects really add
to the game. Best of all, Shape Shifter is easy to
get into, and simple enough for anyone to pick up, yet addicting
and hard to put down.
Playing Hints and Tips
Try to move quickly, as the rows of spaces can pile up
Try to focus on filling one row at a time, as you may
end up with a screen full of half-full rows
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
The graphics in Shape Shifter look
great, and integrate with the theme perfectly.
The music both sounds amazing and fits
into the theme seamlessly! The sound effects also add to the
The gameplay in Shape Shifter is
amazingly fun, and will keep you entertained for hours!
Shape Shifter is so addictive,
you’ll pick it up, but it’ll be hard to put it