Mr. Shifty does a fantastic job of making you feel like a superhero. Blinking through walls, between enemies, and laying low wave after wave of goons with only your fists, a random broom you found and the head of a statue is exhilarating, but be warned: You might feel like a superhero, but you’re far from invulnerable. Mr. Shifty is brutal, and while it’s easy to get used to the mechanics, mastering them to really excel will take some time.
Title: Mr Shifty
Developer: Team Shifty
Platform: PC / Mac / Linux / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / Nintendo Switch
Game Version: Final
Review Copy: Provided by Publisher
Available on Steam and Nintendo Switch
A speed-stealth, kung-fu brawler about a teleporting thief, Mr. Shifty combines fast top-down gameplay with the ferocity of ’90s Hong Kong action cinema, coming to PC (Win/Mac), PS4, and Xbox One in 2017.
Pummel your way through 75 levels of heists, rescue missions, boss battles, and down-‘n’-dirty brawls. Outsmart your opponents by luring them into traps and tricking them into shooting each other. Activate slow-motion to dodge when the gunfire gets too thick, and watch your back, because it only takes one bullet to bring you down.
Mr Shifty wastes no times on origin stories or background, and instead drops you right into the action at the start of a heist. Your goal is to steal some deadly mega-uranium from Mr. Stone, a villainous criminal billionaire. There’s a lot of goons between you and your prize, but luckily, you’ve got just the skill set for this job.
In Mr. Shifty, you’re able to blink short distances, leaving behind a brief puff of blue smoke a la Night Crawler. Unfortunately, whatever convenient plot point gave you this skill didn’t grace your with invulnerability or super toughness: One bullet, one laser beam or one particularly brutal punch is all it takes to stop you permanently.So, as Mr. Shifty, you’ll need to rely on hit and run tactics, using the environment and your enemies slower reactions against themselves and a dash of slow mo, activated after you get a high enough combo and a bullet gets close enough to you.
The combination of fast paced melee combat, hordes of enemies, and the ability to dart around the environment, through walls and doors, is an incredibly potent combination, and Mr Shifty will have you feeling like a superhero in no time. Of course, this will all end pretty darn quickly when you accidentally blink a hair to far away from a thug holding a shotgun to land the punch you intended for his face, and instead get a load of lead in your own.
You will die… a lot… in Mr. Shifty, particularly while figuring mechanics and what you can get away with out. It takes a few levels to get a good handle on how far you can blink, and your characters hit box, but once that clicks, the gameplay feels absolutely amazing. While there are more than a few moments where death is all but certain, there are plenty of checkpoints throughout the game, so it never feels like you loose all that much progress.
Another thing that Mr. Shifty does incredibly well is nailing the comic book aesthetic. Unlike the overly-gritty Hotline Miami Mr. Shifty has been compared to so often, the characters and environments are depicted with clear lines and bold colors. The main character has a particularly striking outline, which makes him clearly stand out from the many enemies you’ll be laying the smack down on.
My only complaint is that Mr. Shifty‘s narrative feels incredibly lack luster. Narrative clearly isn’t the focus of Mr. Shifty, but what’s there feels rather rushed, under-developed, and an excuse to include and explain game mechanics, rather than develop characters. This didn’t stop me from enjoying Mr. Shifty, but it did stick out to me.
It should also be noted that Mr. Shifty is clearly set up to be a speedrunner’s dream. Every level times you, and it’s very obviouslt that there are some very tricky manuevers that could be pulled to shave second off your time. The speedruns that are already out there of the game’s first/tutorial level (which has been available in beta) make we feel like I’m a sloth on a slow day.
Mr. Shifty is a fast paced, action game that will make you feel like a comic book hero. Speedrunners will absolutely adore the game, and even if you’re not looking to break the record for fastest completion, Mr. Shifty is an incredibly fun, with engaging combat and mechanics.