Netshift is the Web-based successor to Blackshift, an action puzzle game download from Rob Allen (foon.co.uk) the man who brought us the Hapland series and many other excellent titles from the Farcade. Netshift, currently in beta, makes the original game much more accessible, and even includes a level editor with which to create and share levels with the Netshift community.
Control is with the keyboard, use the [arrow] keys to move your little Klingon destroyer around. You will need to push blocks, pick-up keys and items, and find the checker board exit to each level. Press [enter] to pick-up items, and press [space] to fire when in possession of a missile. The game includes a variety of objects that you can interact with: locked doors, guns that fire when stepped over, moving enemies, conveyor belts, and a host of other traps and contraptions that are all left up to your discovery. Figuring out what does what is part of the fun. If you need to restart a level, press [R].
To rate your success at the end of a level, your total time to completion is recorded. You can even watch a replay of your run-through, which makes for another interesting feature: you can watch run-throughs of the best players for each level.
On the front-page level selection screen, you can choose one from the most popular levels, the most recent or try a random level. Some are poorly designed and very challenging, others are smoothly paced and intriguing. This diversity is due to the level editor, which makes it fun and easy to build levels in mere minutes.
Analysis: As a game, Netshift is pretty good but it does suffer from a couple of flaws, such as the ease of death, and the lack of an audio-off button. As a service, however, Netshift is very promising and offers a lot of potential. The level editor is a very good tool, and it's fun to use. The population of content that results will grow and yield some amazing specimens as the game's popularity increases. Also, you can expect the niggling flaws and occasional bug to be worked out when the game sees a final release. There are many games-as-game-creation-services appearing across the Web, some of which we'll be covering in the near future, and Netshift serves as a promising example of this coming new wave.
When you shift your mental image of what Web-games can be, please remember to hold the clutch.
Cheers to Yuval and Tomhd for sending this one in! =)