Scientists from the near future have begun work on creating a viable time machine. The project results in the creation of two devices, the Alpha Suit, a prototype jump suit, and the Beta Suit, a more advanced, military grade model with features the Alpha
The key feature of TimeShift is the player's ability to control time: slowing, stopping or even rewinding time more or less at will. This allows a player to stop time to dodge an incoming projectile or steal an enemy's weapon. Specific time-related puzzles also require these abilities. The player's abilities also affect the color of their environment in such that slowing time produces a blueshift, rewinding it produces a yellow haze, and stopping time creates a white filter "haze". The player must use them wisely to make its way through the game. In some parts of the game the time powers are lengthened.