Teleportation has always been on my short list for super powers I would most like to have at my disposal. Taking the natural progression of this power and casting you as a teleporting thief, Mr. Shifty is the brawler I have been awaiting for quite a while. Combining breakneck overhead action similar to Hotline Miami and Nightcrawler-style teleportation, this game scratches multiple itches I didn't even know were there for me. Mr. Shifty empowers the player and makes you feel like a complete badass as you punch your way through rooms of gun-toting goons.
Nightcrawler has always been on of my absolute favorite X-Men characters. While Mr. Shifty has nothing official to do with the teleporting comic book character, I've always felt like he never got his proper video games dues. Mr. Shifty is a professional thief who can teleport short distances, even through walls, and has a mean right hook. The game tasks you with progressing through a skyscraper to steal a special item held by the corporation there. As you might guess, his journey does not end up being quite that simple, but I'll end my synopsis there so you can enjoy the story yourself.
If you've played the amazing Hotline Miami before, you'll be fairly familiar with how Mr. Shifty plays. The game has an isometric view as you run and teleport through the various rooms of the secure facility you're breaking into. The majority of Mr. Shifty has you punching out rooms full of enemies to unlock the next room until you finally reach the elevator that takes you to the next level. While super powerful, taking out most henchmen with only two punches, it only takes a single hit for Mr. Shifty to go down for the count, so you need to be careful. This leads to some tense moments, especially towards the end, as the rooms become more and more populated.
The difficulty curve in Mr. Shifty is excellently done. The first few levels are a breeze and let you simply play with your new powers. As you progress further though, it starts to ramp up slowly, challenging you with new enemy types and even some environmental hazards. In a game that could have so easily focused on combat, I was glad to see them shaking it up with these traps from time to time. This creates a flow in the gameplay that keeps it interesting throughout the game eventually culminating in an end section that truly tested what I had learned playing throughout the game. I even had to put the game down and sleep on it before I was able to finish the final level, which is one of my favorite gaming occurrences. The eighteen levels Mr. Shifty boasts do a great job of feeling satisfying without the game overstaying its welcome.
There is plenty to praise with Mr. Shifty, but it's not without a few hiccups as well. In some of the more hectic moments, the frame rate in the Nintendo Switch version of the game starts to chug. It didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the game, but it was very noticeable. Some of the throwing weapons also didn't seem to hit their target every time, even when I was pretty sure my aim was spot on. The dialogue can also be a little cheesy at times, but it's not the focus for the game anyway, so it's not as big a deal.
- Difficulty ramps up well, providing the right challenge at the right time
- The fast teleporting and punching action feels good and empowers the player
- Game lasts as long as it needs to and doesn't drag on
- Some frame rate issues with the Nintendo Switch version
- Throwing weapons feel a bit imprecise at times
- The purple shotgun guys are just the worst and I hate them
Both teleportation and punching dudes are fun on paper, but it's hard to find that perfect balance that makes it a satisfying experience. Mr. Shifty does an excellent job of nailing that premise with both the combat sections and environmental traps. It's got a few rough edges, but if you're looking for something fun to play on your Switch after finishing Breath of the Wild, this is definitely on worth your time. Mr. Shifty is available now for the PC and Nintendo Switch.
Promotional consideration provided by Tiny Build.