Category Archives: Shifts

Shifts update 2/27/2014

Hey all!

After reading all the comments on various websites and forums we have decided to permanently remove the in app ads from the game. It will still be free with in app expansion purchases. The new build is currently being reviewed by Apple and should be live within a day or two.

Click here to download Shifts!

Click here to download Shifts!

We have always strived to listen to our players feedback because we understand that the good will of fans is priceless. If you want to provide feedback you can always send an email to: A big thank you goes out to all of our players for their patience.

See you out there in ad free space!

The Threadbare Crew

45,000 is the new black

Mars_atmosphereSo I was checking out the leaderboards for Shifts, and you people are doing too well. You need to slow it down a little. I mean, come on, save some for the rest of us!

Or maybe you have an ulterior motive? A high score on Shifts might mean you’re qualified to make those though decisions needed for a one-way trip to Mars. Is that the plan? You all want to go on Mars One? (

Well, if any of you make it and your ridiculous 40,000+ scores help in your application, send us a postcard!

Seriously though, you guys are killing it, and I’m impressed! Keep it up!

And if you’re new? Get out there and stake your claim!

Tips from the Pro(s)

Last week I dropped a post about my merciless trouncing on the Game Center leaderboards and got some responses from our reigning Shifts champion, holder of the current top score of 54,556, Slabymushina!

Slabymushina (which is most likely not their real name, but you never really know) had some hot tips and advice for all you wannabe heros of humanity. Rather than leave them spread around a variety of comments sections on our blog, I’m giving ‘em the front page treatment!

Here’s what our top scorer has to say to help you help mankind:

More seriously, I agree with your advice, preserve Arks at all costs (everything else is repairable, Arks aren’t), and scan, scan, scan.

The one insight I might have is that you lose Arks in two different ways, and you care about them differently, depending on the stage of the game. At the beginning of the game, I am fanatic about minimizing percentage losses of Arks, and am relatively indifferent to losing 15 Arks a pop. When I’m down to 100 Arks or less, I could care less about percentage losses, but will do anything to not lose the 15 Arks a pop. Between those two points, I slowly care less about percentage Ark losses, and more about losing 15 Arks a pop. The key to having a high score is to minimize percentage losses of Arks for as long as possible. Remember, your people actually get better at fixing things as time goes on, so if you can keep the game going for awhile with a high number of Arks, you’ll tend to do well.

So, I tend to deploy my robots to minimize Arks losses, given the priorities above. However, Shifts has replay value because you never face the same situation twice, so rules are made to be broken. Depending on circumstances, I may use a robot on an non-Arks repair, if use of that robot is the difference between not fixing something this turn, and a guaranteed fix this turn. Also, I (usually) will do a fix if I am losing 15 hull points a turn – if you are losing 15 hull points a turn, you will be doing little other than fixing hull points, whereas 10 hull points lost a turn is tolerable.

I have a number of other rules of thumb, but those are the key ones. It also helps to be lucky – on expert level, you are going to lose frequently, no matter how well you play.

Thanks for the tips!


So I was feeling a little smug when we were working on scoring.

I held the office high score with like almost 40,000 points. I was untouchable.

My name was whispered in tones of hushed awe. After work at the bar, I drank for free. (come to think of it, that might have been because of the fringed suede chaps and my pole dancing, but I’m going to cling to my beliefs)

After I’d made enough money off of the inter-office Shifts tournament to pay my rent for the year and buy a large stake in that alpaca ranch, the other guys all de-friended me on Game Center and stopped telling me their scores. (actually, they stopped talking to me altogether…)

Needless to say, I went into our update release feeling pretty confident that I’d be able to feel pretty confident about my score for a good, long while. I wouldn’t even need to play on Game Center. No one could possibly touch me, I MADE this game.

Yeah, that lasted about 25 minutes.

My awesome score, which I achieved once, before we went live, on an internal build, that I didn’t screenshot, and thus have no proof of, wouldn’t even get me in the top 10 now.

You guys have kicked some ass.

At the time I’m writing this, the #1 score is 53,339. That’s impressive. I’m suitably humbled. With a score like that, you shouldn’t even need the chaps to drink for free.



My CEO went to PAX East and all I got was this video….

Zach went off to PAX East last month, and the nice guys at interviewed him for their iOS report!

Check out what he has to say through the crushing grip of his jetlag below:

You can check it out on their site and see some other great approaching games here:

First timer? The climb is worth it!

Shifts can look a little daunting when you load it up for the first time. The assignment screen doesn’t make immediate sense, and the help screen throws a whole bunch of text at you. It can all seem a little intimidating.

For that, I’d like to apologize.

Once you get going, you’ll assign some officers, move your ship around, explore some planets, and then most likely die in the cold vacuum of space.

For that, I won’t apologize at all.

We designed Shifts to be tough. When you play, you spend a lot of time trying to persevere in dire, hopeless situations. We didn’t want starting your first game to be dire and hopeless as well! Here are a few tips for new players to get started:

1) Play in casual mode. Shifts can be punishing, so familiarize yourself with the way things work in casual before you venture onto the higher difficulties. You must learn to walk before you can run. (or something like that… you must learn to die in deep space before you can die in deep space? hmmm, needs work…)

2) Tap on the crisis icons to familiarize yourself with the effects you’ll be suffering. Make sure to keep note of the damage bar in the lower left corner of your map, so you know what kind of horrible mutilation your ship will be taking at the end of the turn.

3) Try to get a feel for what each of your officers can do. There are only 5 of them, and knowing their abilities goes a long way.

4) Scan. I’ve heard tell of people saying that scanning is a waste of an action, but it’s the best way to plot a path across the galaxy. Knowing where to go is the key to planning effective and efficient turns.

5) Pay attention to your Reactor Power and Hull Integrity. If you know how far you can make it with the crises you have in your queue, you can set out the officers you need and have that engineer ready for the maintenance she needs to do!

6) Don’t forget your BRObots. Even if you don’t have an officer working to resolve a crisis, you can still toss some BRObots on it to push it towards completion. (note, that if your BRObots will resolve a crisis without an officer assigned, it’ll be resolved at the end of the turn, instead of during that officer’s shift.)

The learning curve is still a little steep, but hopefully that’ll help out some folks!

Now get out there and save humanity!

Shifts: Escape

“I am quite capable of strapping myself in.”

“Hold still.”

“Extra restraints are not necessary.”

“Just a precaution.”

“Why haven’t we made the jump through the gateway?” Executive Officer Aditi Chadhury was wondering the same thing, not that she’d let Herman CARP know it.

“Are you nervous, robot?”

“No, ma’am.”

“I don’t believe you,” Aditi said, then unlocked Herman’s seat from the wall. At the press of a button, wheels under the chair released and she began to roll Herman out of the command room.

“I have no reason to lie.”

“You have plenty. In all likelihood, the Singularity will find us before Isa can open the gateway. That makes you nervous. I never knew a robot to be so nervous.”

“I am not nervous.”

“You fear for your life, the same as we do.”

“I am programmed to seek survival.”

“Programmed? Who programs you?”

“As an artificial super intelligence, I am capable of self programming and reprogramming as I see fit. Survival has always been a priority.”

“But now you’re at the mercy of powers beyond you, and that frightens you. There is no scheming, no plotting, nothing to be done but to wait. We are sheep behind a door. What waits? Greener pastures or the slaughterhouse?”

“This path leads straight to the airlock. Stop this foolishness!”

“The survival of the human species is not your greatest priority. Therefore, you are a danger to the mission. We are leaving you behind,” Aditi said before shoving Herman into the airlock.

“You will die without me,” Herman said as the door into the airlock slid shut. Aditi’s hand hovered over the large airlock-release button when Herman’s voice came over the speaker system, broadcast to the entire ship, so that the others could hear it too. “Just as the I-S-A has made the lot of you symbiotic to itself, I too have made myself indispensible. Without me, the life support system crashes. If you don’t believe me, bring up the ship’s Oxygen levels on your wrist pad.”

Aditi checked. Sure enough, the oxygen levels rapidly dropped to critical levels. Her eyes burned as she glared into his through the view monitor. He’s won. There’s nothing to do but to set him free, she thought. And yet, she couldn’t do it.

“We are under attack,” Isa said, breaking the stalemate. The Singularity’s drones had found them. “Please brace for impact.”  The ship shook violently but withstood the first bombardment. Time began to slow. Herman’s face blurred, then the walls behind him, the monitor. Aditi believed that she was dying. “Jump in 10. 9. 8…”

The gate is open. The gate is open! Aditi realized. “4. 3. 2. 1.” The expanding blurs suddenly shrunk back and Aditi caught a final glance of Herman’s eyes. We have escaped the slaughterhouse, but we’ve brought a wolf with us.

Shifts 1.3: We’re busy polishing the rails on your Titanic

Odds are, your ship is doomed. Humanity will vanish completely from the universe, and it’s most likely your fault. Oops.

You’ll have to live with your failure, but wouldn’t it be nice to have someone tell you that even though you personally doomed your entire species, your latest command fiasco went a little better than that last horrible debacle?

Hey, don’t say we’re not here to help!

Later this week, Shifts 1.3 releases to the App Store, and with it, we’re delivering a bevy  of new features that were requested by the slavering legions of our loyal fans!

First and foremost, we’re going to give you a score. A measure of how miserably you let all of mankind down, or, in those most rare of circumstances, how well the clockwork efficiency of your crew flourished under your brilliant leadership and saved everyone.

Your score is based on a variety of things, but the key factors are colonies and ARKS remaining at the end of the game. You get some extra value out of solving crises, leveling officers, exploring planets, and having good ship stats at the end, but you won’t get a championship score unless you actually win.

Hand in hand with scoring, we implemented Game Center leaderboards, so that you can see how your Captaining stacks up to the rest of the world. Compete with your friends (as well as faceless strangers) to see who can be the best savior of humanity!

We also added 3 different difficulty levels to the game so you can choose your challenge.

Casual is a good place to get some experience in species saving. This easiest difficulty level gives you a little extra time to get your colonize on. You’ll start with more ARKS, and the map is a little less desolate and empty. Explore the galaxy, have some adventures, but don’t think that it’s too easy. Those crises are going to pile up, and while you have more time, it’s still not on your side.

Normal is the standard Shifts difficulty. If you’ve been playing before 1.3, this is the only difficulty level you know.

Expert is for you masochists out there. Think you can out-Kirk Kirk? Teach Picard what it means to be a real leader? Save mankind on expert difficulty, and you’ll earn the scores that show your badassery.

Hopefully you’ll all like the new features, and promptly figure out a way to make my top score of 39,573 look sad and pathetic, instead of something cool and awesome that I get to brag about on our blog.