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Shiftlings will have you literally juggling farts

If you couldn't tell from the title of this preview, this puzzle platformer likes to lean on the cheeky, slapstick end of the comedy spectrum. In Shiftlings, you play as intergalactic janitors who are secretly the stars on a reality TV show, The Truman Show-style. The objective of the show? Watch as two brainless idiots (controlled simultaneously by you, the player) attempt to navigate complex levels, repair malfunctioning mechanical devices, and hopefully watch them die an entertaining death. Morbid, right?

Each level has you move from point A to ending point B. You control both characters - who are tethered together by a long hose - at the same time. The thing is, one of them let loose a giant fart that inflated his airtight space suit, making him a massive, bouncy sphere. Luckily, that fart can be swapped between the two characters' suits at any time. Using this mechanic, you'll have to find ways to navigate the tricky terrain of each level, constantly swapping the noxious air to blow up and shrink their space suits to fit into small spaces, clog up passages, or bounce up to new heights.

The game is challenging enough when there's one player giving it a go, but there's also local play and online co-op, giving two players the ability to swap control (and the fart) between their respective space-janitors. With the second person involved, the challenge becomes a question of how well you can communicate with your partner. It'll take strong coordination to complete even the easiest levels, which could do well to strengthen your personal relationships, or destroy them with putrid smelling, gastrointestinal evacuations.

Check out the following slides for more information and images.

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Distance may be the first horror racing game you ever play

As surprising as it sounds, Distance is a high-speed, neon-flavored racing game that, quite frankly, scares me. Beneath the game's cyberpunk aesthetic lurks a callous, alien presence that is constantly toying with you, the player. I encountered its baleful influence near the end of my demo, manifesting as several seemingly random visual glitches. Around the same time I started being jarringly teleported back and forth between the familiar neon city race track and a ruined, desolate version of that same track.

This sudden change in style and tone suggests that there's something not quite right going on, and left me questioning which of the two realities was the 'real' one. Am I saying this is some bowels-voiding, P.T. demo-level of terror? No, but even so it still felt unsettling, and to see a developer attempt to mix these extremely disparate genres makes Distance worthy of your attention.

It doesn't hurt that the game also handles oh-so-smoothly. The sections I played were all single-player races (though there will be multiplayer too) that focused on survival. By utilizing my car's special abilities - we're talking flight mode, flaming booster engines, and Speed Racer-esque bounce pads - I had to avoid all manner of whirling saw blades and deadly laser grids. Of course, these powers couldn't save me against what came for me at the end, a glimpse of which you can catch at the end of the trailer below (it's that crazy orb-like entity).

Distance is available now through Steam Early Access, and you can click ahead through this gallery for more tidbits on the game.

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