Divergent Shift (DSiWare)

Game Review

Divergent Shift Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Deterrent or gift?

We've already seen Chronos Twins present the dual-screen platforming experience on DSiWare, but Intrinsic Games now looks to put a slightly different spin on the idea. While their title's mechanics are similar in some ways, Divergent Shift tends to put a bit more emphasis on the actual platforming aspects of the game and less on puzzle solving.

As with most platformers, your goal is to safely guide your character to the end of each level. Your female protagonist can run, leap, wall jump, and even slide through the various obstacles that stand in her way. The catch is that you're going to have to control her reflection and shadow as well, which tends to make things a bit more tricky.

In Reflection Mode, you'll see an exact replica of your character on the bottom screen. Both are synchronised to each other so that when one moves, the other moves as well. The challenge comes in the way the levels themselves differ a bit on each screen. One might have a platform to jump on, whereas the other might not. You'll have to make use of both screens in order to navigate through the various challenges. If you find yourself stuck on the top, you can always peruse the bottom to see if the reflected level might contain a way through.

Shadow Mode changes things up a bit. Instead of both characters synching to each other, they can move independently of one another, and thus you'll have to constantly keep an eye on both to manoeuvre your way through the challenges that lay before you. This brings more puzzle solving elements to the table and can become quite tricky in later levels. While Reflection Mode tends to emphasise the two characters working together, Shadow Mode forces you to learn to use both separately to make it through the levels.

Divergent Shift does a nice job of offering up a smooth and fairly responsive set of controls. There are times when the wall jump isn't as tightly executed as you might like, but it doesn't detract much and generally becomes more intuitive and accurate as you put in more playing time. The main story mode offers some challenging levels to tackle, not to mention a host of journal entries to collect. You'll even be able to go back and play levels you've unlocked in a time trial mode, which adds a nice layer of replay value to the package.

If there's one glaring flaw of Divergent Shift that stands out, it's the game's lack of visual detail. Not only are the backdrops completely devoid of any type of real flash, but the foregrounds themselves aren't much better. The game looks like something that you might have played back during the early personal computer era of the 80's rather than a DSiWare release. It's a shame to see such a unique gaming experience degraded by this lacklustre visual presentation.

Musically, there are some impressive tunes found throughout the game. While they tend to blend into the background a bit, they're all quite reflective of the action taking place onscreen and do a nice job of carrying the overall mood. You'll be treated to a few sound effect variances from time to time, but much like the visuals, they tend to be fairly average and sometimes forgettable.


Divergent Shift might have been a more refreshing experience had it been released before Chronos Twins hit the service, but as it is, the game ends up feeling like nothing more than a more expensive and slightly less fulfilling clone. There's still plenty of fun to be had, but the somewhat short experience and rather bland visuals keep the game from ever reaching its full potential.

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User Comments (27)



ErrorSupply said:

Pretty harsh "Conclusion" for a 7/10. Might as well have said "Skip this and just get Chronos Twins" which I have to disagree about being "more fulfilling".



WolfRamHeart said:

Nice review Corbie. I had high hopes for this game. Too bad that it couldn't deliver. I already have Chronos Twins on my DSi so I think that I'll just stick with that game and save my points for Shantae instead.



joeshabadoo said:

Gonna have to disagree with you Corbie. I feel that the level design is sharp enough, while the game gets long enough legs from the time trial mode and bonus stages you can unlock after the main game is through, to be worth the $8. I'm enjoying it more than Chronos Twins so far.



Stuffgamer1 said:

Which is harder, Chronos Twins or this? 'Cause Chronos Twins is a real female dog...never was able to finish it.



Corbs said:

Chronos Twins is a bit more difficult. You'll likely find Divergent Shift more manageable. And it's a fun game to boot.



AG_Awesome said:

The problem I have is that it is an hour, maybe two hour long game for 8 bucks. It clearly should have cost 5. It would be a must own at 5, but a wait and see at 8. Pass for now...



ErrorSupply said:

So many people writing this game off as not worth 800 when they've never even played it. This is why I stopped making impression topics: everyone just ignores what is said, and waits for the "official" NL review, treating it as the one and only truth. So much for garnering enough support for that sequel they hinted at in the end. More iPhone drek plox! I need to take a break from this place, it's not good for my blood pressure.



Akirih said:

Dispite the review I want this game. I have CT and still think ill like DS more than i liked CT.



TKOWL said:

Hmm, looks interesting. But wasn't it called Reflections for the longest time?



MeloMan said:

Hmm... I like the bit about it being a little less "puzzly" than CT... that jives with me nicely as I'd rather focus more on actual "platforming" for these dual screen types of game. Despite what I've seen of the visuals of this game in motion, I agree they don't look like the status quo, but they don't seem to be as big a deterrent to me as I almost NEVER care about graphics anyway (unless they are utterly butt-fugly, lol). I'm fine with wanting to play the game as it seems my cup of tea, but I'm having trouble justifying the $8 price tag. I understand that this is one of the "higher end" DSi games that had some love put into it unlike the 90% shovelware on the DSi, but $8? Someone correct me if I'm wrong please, but wasn't CT $5 along with another awesome platformer Dark Void?! I'll have to see how I feel, but yes, this price tag is a thorn that may make this a pass for me, I'm not made of money, lol.

Oh and, nice use of "reflective" in your review Corbie, lol.



Stuffgamer1 said:

Ah, I'll probably give it a go, then.

I find it quite interesting how a $3 difference makes such a huge difference in people's opinions of DSiWare games (myself admittantly included). Speaking for myself, I believe it's related to the awkward Nintendo Points system more than anything else. I can buy two 500-point games easily, but an 800-point game is just horrendously inconvienient. I suppose I could always sift through the review backlog to find an interesting 200-point game...



Punny said:

Finally! After having to put up with lots of DSiWare trash this month, something GOOD comes out! I might not get it, though. I'm waiting for Shantae!



FonistofCruxis said:

@errorsupply It just doesn't sound like it will last as long as other 800 point games. For example mario vs. donkey kong: minis march again, mighty flip champs, little red riding hood's zombie bbq, rayman etc.



EdEN said:

Well, 2 hours for $8 is good value. You pay more to go to see a movie...



WolfRamHeart said:

The main reason that I chose not to get this game is that I feel it is overpriced for too short of an experience. For 800 points I'd rather buy a really good VC game that will offer me many of hours of fun instead of Divergent Shift's measly two hours. There are also plenty of other great games on the DSiWare service that are only 500 points. It may only be a 300 point difference but it is enough to keep this potential buyer away.



Corbs said:

When did a 7 get to be a bad game? Wow! I just said I didn't think it was quite as good as Chronos Twins. It's still a very fun game to play. Man tough crowd.



Kyloctopus said:

When you put it that way but you can get rough at reviews where we don't know you like it or not.



marsgreekgod said:

Dude guys... crono triwns isn't that good of game. It's not that bad, but it's not great. it's poorly thought out and isn't that fun, the lives system is stupid (starting with only 1 life every time you die?). I know this is 3 bucks more, but this might you know.. be fun.



sonic_brawler95 said:

Bah! Whats wrong with me, how can I forget that a 7 on NL is a good thing. >.<

I may get this in the future.

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