Review: Mr. Shifty
Mr. Shifty is the debut title of Team Shifty, a company consisting of 4 people who have previously worked on other games in the industry. The game plays from a top-down perspective and seems similar in style to Hotline Miami.
The main character is very fast, since he is able to teleport some distance ahead of him for a few times in rapid succession. While his enemies will shoot at him mercilessly, he is unable to use a gun himself and relies solely on his fists and anything he can find in the environment to fulfill his goals. These are the limitations, which set the tone of the gameplay in this game.
Story and Atmosphere
You, Mr Shifty, are to infiltrate a skyscraper to steal some Mega Plutonium from the bad guys. The first half of the game has a well executed story, which is amplified by the funny and entertaining text-based dialogue by your assistant Nyx and your antagonist Chairman Stone.
In the second half of the game, the story and its objective become pretty much established, which you are then driven by to complete the game. It is clear that the game’s focus lies within its gameplay, but unless you are someone who plays solely for the narrative, the story is enough to keep you engaged.
When it comes to the atmosphere, the game features a cell-shaded artstyle and a pretty cool soundtrack. The correct application of the music is very important to the atmosphere and this game does it very well by adapting the pace and tone of the music according to the situation. What also stands out is the highly destructible environment. When walls and objects are destroyed, you have less cover available to hide yourself. This kind of combination of map elements with the gameplay adds to the atmosphere, which overall stands fairly strong in this game.
The meat of the game is in its gameplay. It is so satisfying to teleport to multiple enemies in rapid succession and knocking them out each time. Both the movement and the combat feel very tight using simple button inputs. The protagonist Mr. Shifty will die in one hit though, so you need to execute each checkpoint perfectly to advance to the next. You respawn instantly after you die and can enter right back into the action. This makes death feel less punishing and allows you to learn on what you need to do progress the game.
Once you have learned the basics, more mechanics are introduced to you at a steady pace and you eventually learn to completely use the environment to your advantage. Using cover to block enemy bullets and using all items you can find on the map to help you kill your foes adds to the satisfaction of the gameplay. All in all the game nails its pacing very well and is extremely engaging, especially in the first two thirds of it. Here comes one critique point of the game though, the pacing and difficulty in the last third of the game could be better structured.
While all difficult sections earlier have a checkpoint each, the difficulty of the game is ramped up later how it should be. However, you are also given a lot of tricky sections in a row without a checkpoint inbetween. This can be a bit frustrating and we would have preferred this to be implemented somewhat fairer.
There are some more good parts about the game though. These are the sections where you must rely on your wits rather than on your teleportation. There, your “shift” is disabled and you must use your brain in order to solve the puzzle and therefore to progress. These will oftentimes require a couple of trials and errors, but finishing these feels very rewarding. In addition to that, every single level and section you play feels unique and every challenge requires an ever so slightly different approach. This is great and gives the game a good variety.
The game took us about three hours to complete and unfortunately there is little in terms of replayability. The developers have stated though that most people will take around five hours to finish the game. Please keep in mind that the game also seems to have some performance issues on the Nintendo Switch. Adding all these factors up makes it hard to justify the game’s value to be more than 10 dollars for a gamer on a budget.
The game is quite fun though and we had a great time playing through it. The game kept us engaged enough to finish it in a single sitting, which shows that it is able to sustain the adrenaline rush you get from it. We therefore give the game a score of 79, since it was a very enjoyable and solid experience for the most part. While we will probably remember other games released around this time more, we can recommend people to play through it once, possibly during summer when you have a good couple of hours to kill and the game has gone on sale.
(out of 100)
While we will probably remember other games released around this time more, we can recommend people to play through it once, possibly during summer when you have a good couple of hours to kill and the game has gone on sale.
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