Shifts for iPad review: In space, no-one can hear you scream...

Somewhere between turn-based strategy and a solo boardgame, Shifts is basically Star Trek if Kirk and co were almost certainly doomed. You're in command of a spaceship and its five-person crew, trying to survive a nanobot attack which has all but destroyed humanity, and hoping to establish new colonies before it's too late. Every turn, the relentless nanobots damage your hull, the colonists you carry with you, and your repair capabilities. Every turn, you need to make increasingly agonising choices about which crew members to deploy where, and whether you'll spend your three or four actions on fighting fires or exploring the galaxy in search of habitable planets.

There's no way to beat the nanbots, so it's a race against time, striving to find and found enough colonies before you run out of fuel, hull or colonists. It's hard and unforgiving, so more than likely you'll wind up as so much sad space-junk, but it is possible - and that's why you'll keep boldly going. 

Download Shifts for iPad from the App Store here


Sadly, Shifts' presentation lags far behind its strategy, with ugly art, a fiddly interface and a few grammatical errors giving it a vague air of amateur hour. It's testament to the tight, brutal ideas behind this that it works so well regardless.

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