Alterium Shift

Preview: Alterium Shift

Alterium Shift is an engaging 2.5D JRPG as developer Drattzy Games and brings its debut title to fruition under the watchful eye of Gravity Game Arise. Its foray into Early Access began on July 6, 2023, through Steam. Within its digital embrace, players have access to a tapestry woven with three distinct narrative pathways, turn-based combat mechanics that require a bit of finesse, some decent side quests, and a charming addition of fishing – because who can resist the allure of a well-crafted fishing mini-game?

Despite its Early Access status, Alterium Shift doesn’t shy away from offering an emphatic dose of content. It takes pride in introducing players to a trio of main characters, each a repository of a unique narrative that harks back to the nostalgic era of 90s JRPG classics, such as the revered Chrono Trigger or Terranigma.

Meet the Heroes Of Alterium Shift

Enveloped within the unbelievable expanse of Alteria, Alterium Shift unspools its intricate tale against a world convalescing from a protracted and gruelling conflict with the enigmatic Dark Elves. Within the heart of this realm, the residents of Alteria unearthed a trove of extraordinary amulets, their mystical properties enabling a seamless traversal between distinct dimensions. This discovery ignites a glimmer of hope amongst the populace, a hope that these amulets might serve as conduits to restore equilibrium and avert cataclysmic ruination across all realms. The narrative takes an enthralling twist as you clasp one of these enchanted amulets. It beckons you to commence your odyssey within the quaint confines of Summiton, a modest hamlet where a pivotal decision awaits –between three compelling protagonists: Atlas, Pyra, and Sage.


Pyra takes the lead, wielding a mighty spear and emanating an icy aura with her no-nonsense attitude. Then there’s Atlas, the quiet and skilled archer who lets his arrows do the talking. Lastly, Sage the ego-laden master of Alterium Essence manipulation.

A Visual Tribute

The visual design of Alterium Shift is like a time capsule back to the days of the original PlayStation. You’ll find yourself immersed in a world where 2D sprites dance gracefully across polygonal backgrounds, creating a delightful juxtaposition that immediately invokes that sense of gaming magic. And who could miss the subtle nod to Chrono Trigger in those character animations? It’s like catching up with an old friend after all these years.


Gameplay Déjà Vu

Regarding gameplay, Alterium Shift doesn’t stray far from the tried-and-true formula of classic JRPGs. Turn-based combat reigns supreme, with standard attacks and those beloved special moves that always make you feel like an all-powerful hero. But don’t let the familiarity fool you – there are a few indie RPG twists here, too, like the staggered turn order and those oh-so-satisfying limit breaks. It’s like slipping into a comfortable pair of gaming shoes you forgot you had.


Now, here’s where Alterium Shift starts to shine like a phoenix summon. The heart of innovation lies in the character selection system. You can choose from three distinct warriors, each offering a separate campaign. These campaigns sport minor branches and a unique out-of-combat ability, perfect for navigating the world and solving puzzles.

The Ripple Effect

As you dive into Alterium Shift’s pixelated universe, you’ll quickly notice the ripples of your choices. Your chosen protagonist remains silent, but the world around them responds – the rest of the cast interacts and reacts based on your decision. And hold on tight because you have a lifeline to shape relationships and steer the course of the narrative with conversation choices. It’s a tightrope walk between the established facets of characters and your desire to see them evolve.


So, fellow gamers, if you’re ready for a pixelated journey that pays homage to the JRPG classics while sprinkling in a dash of modern indie flair, Alterium Shift beckons. Dust off your nostalgia goggles, flex your turn-based muscles and get ready to embark on a narrative adventure where your choices genuinely matter.


I’m looking forward to seeing more progress on Alterium Shift, and as it stands, there’s a pretty good game here, but it still seems to face the same issues the genre struggles with – meaningful side content and padding playtime. Some aspects shine, like the graphics, but I’m feeling a bit underwhelmed at the same time.

There’s a lot to love even this early in the development process, and I’m excited to see what a polished iteration of Alterium Shift might look like. There are some great moments, including an exciting world waiting to be created, and the battle system is like comfort food for me. It’s a callback to simpler times, which I’m finding is lacking in video games, simple and palatable adventures.

Alterium Shift is available now in Steam Early Access.

[This impression article is based on a preview-build offered by the publisher.]

Previewed on PC