Review – Mr. Shifty Teleports You through High-Octane Fun

Review – Mr. Shifty Teleports You through High-Octane Fun
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Platforms:

Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Steam

Game Name:

Mr. Shifty

Publisher(s):

tinyBuild

Developer(s):

Team Shifty

Genre(s):

Action, Adventure

Release Date:

April 13th, 2017

Mr. Shifty by Team Shifty

It’s safe to say that games are inspired by those that came before. The key to this is whether the resultant game has its own identity and novelty. Mr. Shifty by Team Shifty is a game inspired by another that definitely carries its own identity.

You play as Mr. Shifty, a secret agent sent to foil Chairman Stone’s evil plans, which involve weaponizing dangerous plutonium. With the help of another agent known as Nyx, with whom who you interact via an earpiece, you are guided through Chairman Stone’s complex. The narrative is bare-boned, which is a shame because it could have taken advantage of a ridiculous narrative to match the game’s overall lighthearted tone. And although the narrative doesn’t evolve much further than those key points, you’ll soon quickly forget about it once you’re submerged in the game’s frenetic gamplay.

Dial M For Miami

It’s hard not to compare this game to Hotline Miami since it’s whence the game obviously takes its inspiration. Like Hotline Miami, the game is a bird’s eye view of the action.

Another similarity is the idea that you die in one hit but can quickly restart each small area. Most areas are set up in similar ways, as well, with small rooms and melee weapons scattered around. But besides those similarities, the game does some other things to make it feel like its own thing. For example, you can’t wield firearms and must instead use melee combat. This sounds like it would be harder since enemies have firearms and you don’t, but it doesn’t, thanks to another important and differentiating mechanic…

The game allows you to teleport a set distance to help you maneuver through levels and around enemies. The teleportation mechanic is the game’s main hook – its key mechanic – and is used constantly. You’ll not only utilize it for defensive purposes, but also to travel through areas quickly. The game has a number of areas with automated turrets or moving lasers that make mastery of the teleportation mechanic essential. Teleporting during combat can make for some exciting sequences. There is definitely a rhythm to the combat, as enemies will fire guns in certain spurts, while other enemies will have their specified combat pattern. If I were to rate the game’s overall difficulty, I’d say the teleportation mechanic makes the game a lot more enjoyable and less frustrating.

Fork These Guys

The enjoyability of the game’s combat is at the forefront, guiding the overall experience. The game has many scenarios that seem clearly focused on offering a fun time; you’ll encounter environmental hazards or traps that you can use on enemies. There was one area that had a bunch of statues holding tridents. If you destroy a statue, you can pick up the trident and throw it. When you throw it, it stabs enemies and pins them to walls. Then you find out that you can pin multiple enemies with one trident throw, and it becomes a fun combat sequence as you try to pin as many enemies as you can at once. Areas like this make it seem like the game is about fun, not about creating a punishing experience.

The Shift Hits The Fan

Just because the game favors fun doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a stroll in the park. There are moments where the game will challenge you and require that you use your head. Knowing the rhythm in which shotgun-toting enemies fire and how many bullets are expelled when an enemy fires a machine gun is important. It’s imperative to keep track of timing and enemy awareness if you want to get far. Your teleportation mechanic is also limited, as you are able to use it only a certain amount of times before it recharges. All these elements combined give you a framework for how to approach each area of the game. It’s fun but challenging, making for a nicely balanced journey.

As I mentioned earlier, the game has a lighthearted tone, which is aided by some of the developer’s artistic choices. Colors pop and characters stand out from the environment nicely. You can recognize the difference between all the various suit-wearing enemies in a heartbeat. This is thanks in part to a fairly sparse environment, which admittedly can be bland to look at at times. The game also features subtle, ’80s action movie-inspired electronic music to make everything fit stylistically. Overall, its artistic choices help the game drive home its tone and aid in the overall experience.

Shift into Overdrive

Mr. Shifty is loads of fun to play, if you enjoy fast-paced, timing-focused experiences. Its smart use of a teleportation mechanic and a variety of enemies alongside environmental traps makes for an exciting romp. Its combat may feel repetitive to some, and the lack of environmental variety is noticeable, but its enjoyable gameplay should be enough to keep you entertained throughout.

Mr. Shifty is available via Steam.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Watch the official trailer for Mr. Shifty below:

FictiveTruism

Has been playing video games since he was five-years-old and is a fan of a variety of genres. The medium has become such a huge part of his life that he enjoys writing about them in his spare time.

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