A downloadable Playdate game

Buy Now$4.99 USD or more

Shift for Playdate

Shift is a deceptively simple match-four game for Playdate that requires a little strategy, a small amount of luck and occasionally a deep breath and a fingers-crossed gamble.

Your task is to shift tiles around the 4x4 grid to get an entire row or column of tiles to be the same color. Tiles will move until they are no longer able, be that by hitting the edge of the grid, or another tile.

Tiles can be shifted left, right, up and down. When a match is made, the tiles in the match are removed from the grid and the entire grid shifts in the direction you moved to make the match. New tiles are then added to the grid.

The game screen.
The main game screen.
"Really addictive. One of the best games on Playdate."


"This game is a lot of fun. I mean a lot of fun. If you like puzzle games definitely get this because you'll enjoy it. Plenty of strategy here, works great, looks good, sounds good, highly recommend it."


"Incredibly polished, well priced, and elegant game. I was impressed from the first 30 seconds and am looking forward to setting new high scores."


"Shift has been elevated to the S-tier of Playdate games released thus far. Simple to play and understand, but hard to master and with addictive score chasing, Shift is the perfect pocket game. Great sound design too!"


"Man, Shift is exactly what I want on my Playdate. Really enjoying this game."


"This is a fun Playdate game and a must-have for anyone who enjoyed bit Generations on GBA."



You start the game with a maximum five segments of Energy. Each time you make a Move that results in a Match, you'll gain half of a segment of Energy. You'll lose half a segment of Energy if your Move does not result in a Match.

When you run out of Energy, the game will end!

The game over screen.
The screen you'll see when the game has ended.

Each successive Match increases your Streak count by one. Each tile is worth one point, multiplied by your Streak. The higher your Streak, the more points you'll get! If you make a Move that doesn't result in a Match, your Streak will be reset to one - but you'll collect bonus points worth the Streak multiplied by ten when it does!

Making a match.
Making a match.

Auto-matches  occur when the grid adds new tiles, or after they Auto-shift.  Try to make matches in a direction that will result in an Auto-match to maximize your points!

An auto-match.
Creating an auto-match.

Making a Match of more than four tiles - for example, two Rows or two Columns, or intersecting Rows and Columns - will refill your Energy bar.

A double match.
A double match.

To maintain a Streak, you can use the Crank to shift tile colors through a Row or Column. Colors will wrap around in both directions. This costs an entire segment of Energy and Matches made this way do not give Energy back, so be careful! You may not use the Crank if you have one segment or less of Energy remaining.

New in v1.1.0: You can long press the A and B buttons as a substitute for the crank.

Using the crank to shift tile colors.
Using the crank to move colors to make a match.

When you're down to half a segment of Energy, you have the option of giving your Playdate a hearty Shake if no matches are within reach. The grid will clear, and when the new tiles appear and any of them Auto-match, your Energy will be refilled. If nothing matches, the game ends.

Shaking the device to get lucky.
Shaking your Playdate to stay alive.


The D-Pad Moves the Row and Column selector. Up and Down select rows, and Left and Right selects columns.

New in v1.1.0: If you're long pressing the A or B buttons to shift tile colors, pressing the Down button will cancel.

The A Button Shifts a Column down and a Row right. 

New in v1.1.0: As an alternative to the Crank, a long press will shift tile colors in a Row to the Right and Column tile colors Down.

The B Button Shifts a Column up and a Row left.

New in v1.1.0: As an alternative to the Crank, a long press will shift tile colors in a Row to the Left and Column tile colors Up.

The Crank A clockwise 90˚ turn will shift tile colors in a Row to the Right and Column tile colors Down. A counter-clockwise 90˚ turn will shift tile colors in a Row to the Left and Column tile colors Up.


You can restart a game from the System Menu.

You can also enable Dark Mode from the System Menu

The top five local High Scores are displayed on the Main Game Menu, Game Over Screen and when the game is paused.

If you have a game already in progress, you can continue by pressing the A button on the Main Game Menu, or start a new game with the B button.

The main menu.
The main menu screen.

The pause menu.
The pause menu.

The game in dark mode.
The game in dark mode.

How to Install the Game

Not sure how to sideload games onto your Playdate? Panic has you covered with easy to follow instructions.

Questions? Comments?

Leave a comment here, or contact us at scenicroutegames@gmail.com

Updated 1 day ago
Published 13 days ago
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
AuthorScenic Route Software
TagsCasual, Playdate, Singleplayer
Average sessionA few minutes


Buy Now$4.99 USD or more

In order to download this Playdate game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $4.99 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Shift-v1.1.0.pdx.zip 540 kB

Development log


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(1 edit)

This is cool! Really polished. Nice work!

My only gripe is with the interaction required for the colour change mechanic. Given it is not animated I find it very difficult to do, often do it the wrong way, and find that it often happens by accident as my old developer unit has a very loose crank that doesn’t stay still. Would be great if there was a button combo to do that interaction?

(1 edit)


I'm considering a  change to the crank mechanic where the first crank tick is a direction "hint". The background grid (or maybe the row/column, haven't decided) will animate in the direction it will eventually move the color to, and the second crank tick will commit the change.

This will allow you to see if you're going in an unintended direction and allow you to back out if needed.

For your particular wobbly crank issue, I was thinking a long press on the A/B buttons to do the same thing as the crank.

I would also appreciate a bigger distance between crank ticks; I once lost a high-scoring game because I accidentally ticked it twice. A "crank sensitivity" option might be nice and could also solve gingerbeardman's issue. 

Gotcha - will add that to the list for the next release, too.

v1.1.0 allows you to long press the A and B buttons as a substitute for the crank, and the crank itself is less accident prone. Give it a try and let me know what you all think.

What does the little dancing Playdate device mean?  I thought it meant I couldn't use the crank, but the flashing energy segment seems to already indicate that.  Thanks

When you’re down to your last half segment of energy, with no match in reach, you can try a Hail Mary by physically shaking the device. This will repopulate the board and if you get an auto match your energy bar will be refilled and you’ll live to fight another day. 

The bar flashes just to let you know you’re about to run out  

You can use the crank anytime, so long as you have more than one segment of energy remaining. That will move colors around inside a row or column. 

The play through video that gogamego posted shows this off well, and there are additional instructions on how to play on the main page for the game and here: http://scenicroutesoftware.com/shift-playdate/

Thanks!  I didn't put 2+2 together with the Shake instruction at first.  I shook the playdate when I saw it, but nothing happened. I wasn't shaking long enough or hard enough maybe.  Watching the video was a big help too!

Oh, the shake is a Hail Mary play to reset the board...


Here is my review...


What a great game!


Thanks! Loved the video!