“Getting Shifty with it!”
The way Mr. Shifty was pitched to me, playing as the X-men character, Nightcrawler and beating the crap out of people. And honestly, that’s perhaps the best way to sum up this game, because that’s exactly what you do. Armed with just your power of teleportation, your fists, and your wit, you attempt to steal A mega-plutonium core from a supposedly impenetrable location. I guess the guy running the place, Chairman Stone, never heard about you. Oh well, tough break for him.
Game Name: Mr. Shifty
Platform(s): PC (reviewed), Nintendo Switch
Publisher(s): tinyBuild Games
Developer(s): Team Swifty
Release Date: April 13, 2017
The controls were perfect, regardless if I used a keyboard and mouse, or a gamepad. I had zero issues getting around, and this game needs you to be in total control. Especially when you’re in and out of the enemy’s line of fire where even the slightest hesitation will lead to your death. Speaking of deaths, you get one life. Get shot, punched, zapped burnt or worse, and it’s game over. That said, there is a chance for redemption if you’re able to max out a meter that fills up during combat. Once that meter is full and you happen to take certain types of damage, you’ll trigger a “slow-mo” ability. You aren’t able to control this and it goes into effect as soon as you get hit, but it will grant you few A precious seconds to take out the person who damaged you or to get the heck out of the way.
One would think that a teleporting thief would have little to no issues, especially when it stealing stuff. Right? Well, not exactly and thankfully so. That would be kind of boring. In Mr. Shifty, your teleportation powers seem super fancy and make you feel nearly unstoppable. All of which is the creation of some brilliant game design. However, the more I played the game, the more I realized that power was actually a crutch.
Sure, teleporting through a wall, and getting the drop on an unsuspected guard and smashing them out of a window is fun. Damn, it really is! However, as you progress further in the game you start to see that if you rely on just that ability, you’re doomed to fail. So the first few stages are more like training modes, easing you into the game. Once you get the concept, the game switches it up and starts to force you to play without depending on them and at several sections, stops you from using those powers completely. This is where you’re going to have to think about how to get out of a situation without those powers.
It’s a nice change of pace, giving you the power to do just about anything, then ripping them away from you, forcing you to evolve your gameplay. Because if you don’t, you won’t be able to progress. Every level, a new enemy type is added, which introduces a different method of killing you. The game starts out small, but soon enough you’re dodging submachine guns, shotguns, muscle bound freaks, convicts and even rocket launchers. Yes, I said rocket launchers.
Another nice touch is that once you’re either beaten a floor, you have the ability to back and try to beat your previous completion time or the number of lives lost. That adds a ton of replay value, especially if you’re a perfectionist. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve run through several floors in attempt one-up myself. Since there is no online leaderboards or ranking, so you’ll be going up against yourself.
On the PC front, the only options you have to play around with are selecting your resolution, window or full-screen mode and mapping the keyboard/gamepad buttons. Very minimum when it comes to PC titles, but for a game like Mr. Shifty, that’s not such a bad thing.
Visually the game looks good, and sort of reminds me of cell shading. The sound is a bit on the disappointing side, as some sounds are muffled. The music is equally disappointing as the same background music runs throughout the game, over and over. As you can imagine, it gets repetitive and really fast.
Since my gameplay was done on the PC and for the most part, Mr. Shifty ran without a hitch. Mostly at 1080p@60fps, however, during parts of the game, the frame rate would just drop for a few brief moments and then go right back to normal. Normally I wouldn’t concern myself with this, but the machine I was playing on was pretty beefy, and I didn’t expect that sort of performance drop. Thankfully it didn’t ruin the gameplay and honestly, you really won’t notice it unless you have a frame rate counter setup.
One part top-down shooter without the guns, one part thinking man’s or woman’s game, and 100% time sink. A good game to waste the day away with or challenging yourself to do better.
*Mr. Shifty review code was provided to us by Tiny Build for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
All in all, Mr. Shifty is easily one of the better games I’ve played in a while. And that’s nice to see in a gaming industry that includes AAA, billion dollar to make games. It’s simply, it’s fast, tight controls and more importantly, it’s fun. The very first time I played this game, I clocked in 3 hours, without even knowing it.
That speaks volumes to me and the team behind this gem should be proud.