Developer: Team Shifty
Publisher: tinyBuild Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action & Adventure
Release Date: 13th of April, 2017
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Get ready to play a game about a guy who is too much of a badass to ever join the Mr Men, because Mr. Shifty has arrived and he is ready to punch some random bad-guys out of any window he sees!
Developed by Team Shifty and published by tinyBuild Games, Mr. Shifty is one indie title on Nintendo Switch (and Steam) that you don’t want to miss out on, especially if you were a huge fan of Hotline Miami, as not only does Mr. Shifty take inspiration from it and celebrates the fact, but it’s just as good, if not better! But don’t just take my word for it, here’s a quick bit of footage of Mr. Shifty in action.
Being the Hotline Miami inspired title it is, Mr. Shifty is of course a top down game that sees the protagonist, a teleporting thief undergoing a heist in the “World’s most secure” building to steal some Mega Plutonium, whilst having to face and fight a huge horde of enemies, to the tune of some engaging music that definitely adds to the scene. Now going by that you would think the game is easy right? If your answer was “yes” you would be wrong, because there is nothing easy about Mr. Shifty.
Just because he can run round teleporting at the press of a button, it turns out he is very vulnerable to bullets. So vulnerable in fact that just one bullet is enough to put him down and end his teleporting ways for good and that’s not good. Sure you can respawn at the last checkpoint and carry on from there, but dying is most certainly not good and it doesn’t matter where you get shot, death will come for Mr. Shifty. What makes matters worse is even a mere punch is enough to send the teleporting thief to an early grave (I guess no one told him to toughen up when he was a kid.)
Given just how susceptible Mr. Shifty is to death, the only thing players can do is master his ways of teleportation in battle and make sure that when the proverbial crap hits the fan that the only one left standing when the bodies have hit the floor, is Mr. Shifty amid a sea of bad guys he’s knocked out and that is where the real fun can be had. There really is nothing quite like peeking across the map, seeing a room full of bad guys with their guns aimed at the only door and then teleporting behind them and taking them out by force before they take you out.
I just realised, there is something better than that, and that something better is finding a room full of bad guys, which has a laser in so, so when Mr. Shifty turns it on, all bad guys meet their end and Mr. Shifty didn’t even need to lift a single fist. But if you do have an allergy to punching those who deserve it (especially the ones who carry a shotgun,) there is plenty in the way of weapons that can be used to assist you, such as a broom, a mug, a keyboard, the head of a statue, a sword, a shield and even a kickass trident that will impale multiple enemies when hurled in their direction! But that’s not the only thing that makes it awesome, the fact it doesn’t break is another good reason as to why it is such a great item.
Plus, you don’t just have to beat up the bad guys if you don’t want to, you can trash offices if you desire the notion to do so, but the action is not perfect. Sometimes, when in the midst of mayhem and fighting a huge horde of villains, the frame rate can drop and the game slows down and I’m not just talking about Slow-Mo. (Slow-Mo is a special mode that is auto-activated when a bullet whizzes by in close proximity, but does require a certain bar visible on screen to be filled up first and to fill it up, you need to attack a lot of bad guys in quick succession.)
What makes matters worse, is when surrounded you can’t spam the teleport button in the hopes of making some foes shoot another as you do only have a limited number of times you can teleport before a cooldown ensures and you will need to wait for all five to recharge, in which time enemies can easily strike you down as Mr. Shifty is actually rather slow on his feet when “running.” But should you survive the cooldown and the bar becomes refilled, it’s time to teleport once again and kill all those around you.
Now if you like the sound of everything you’ve heard so far, good, because you can expect to do a lot of it, thanks to just how much content this game has (18 Stages and over 140 Levels, which you can also replay at your own convenience), you can expect a lot of repetition and comments from your hacker partner Nyx as she walks you through what you’ve got to do, whilst the villainous Chairman Stone attempts to have you join him, only to then order you killed. (When first playing, it is tempting to not want to pay much attention to what the two have to say, but as the game goes on, you soon value the “pause” as it expands on the game’s story and gives you a moment to get your breath back before mayhem, chaos and destruction ensues once more.) And what’s more, Mr. Shifty features HD Rumble as well and if you wish to play without it, you can as the function can be disabled, but you are missing out if you do. Just like you will be missing out if you don’t try out Mr. Shifty for yourself.
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If you are looking for a game that is slightly different, has frame rate drop issues that you can live with and a protagonist who can jump through thin walls, across buildings and knock on doors by punching them across a room, into a bad guy, than Mr. Shifty is the game for you? So what if it can get a bit tedious and repetitive, at least it is an addictive game that has a ton of content to ensure you keep playing for more hours you would normally put into an indie game and that is value for money right there! So with all of that in mind, and a desire to end this review so I can go play it once again, I score Mr. Shifty an 8/10 because it really is an enjoyable game, a true pleasure to play on the Nintendo Switch and is most certainly a game to be added to your collection and played once done with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*Review key provided by tinyBuild Games