Alterium Shift (Sneak-Peek)

Alterium Shift (Sneak-Peek)

Alterium Shift is set in a fantasy world where only few humans can use magic, and their powers are derived from a resource called Alterium. As your player character you select one of three students of the realm’s academy for magic users, each with their own skillset and magic affinity (melee/fire, archer/wind, generalist mage) and with very different personalities and individual starting quests. While the game doesn’t technically use RPG Maker, it features pretty much the same interface, game logic, and battle system. A unique feature unlocked after the mundane early game is picking a savegame of one of the other two characters to use their powers in your game world, but whether this is a simple puzzle gimmick or adds something substantial remains to be judged when the game is finished.

In addition to the typical gameplay of go out, get a big mighty quest, fight random mobs on the way, there are a few minigames here, but they’re generally single-button based. Fishing has you hold a reel-in button, balancing between too much and too little tension; as the archer you sometimes have a very simple task of hitting a target by holding down your button until the reticle is on it; you have a walk button to hold down in an introductory chicken-catching quest.

The game makes good use of its 3D camera to show you nicer vistas than you would otherwise get in an indie RPG, but it can be played in the same “hug the walls and press interact on everything” style when world-exploring since there are copious hidden chests throughout the game world. The developers describe the game as about halfway content-complete, which shows in some placeholder texts and unevenly distributed flavor text. Some objects in the introduction can be interacted with a dozen times, showering you in furniture-related word jokes, while others serve very little purpose. Early Access here truly means what it says, but don’t misunderstand this: the game in general is perfectly playable.

Fans of more self-ware and jokes-heavy genre entries would do well to give Alterium Shift a look, but might want to wait for full release to play it. At a $20 price point and with a price increase announced for full release, it is certainly not the cheapest choice.

Disclaimer: This game is on Steam in Early Access, which means it is still under development and may change significantly over time. The review was conducted based on the game’s current state, and it is possible that the review may not reflect the current state of the game after updates.

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