Mr. Shifty (PC) Review

By Kevin Tsai 17.02.2018

Review for Mr. Shifty on PC

Developed by the newly formed Team Shifty, Mr. Shifty is a fast-paced action game with a top-down perspective and a nifty teleportation mechanic. Playing as the eponymous Mr. Shifty himself, this game offers exciting brawls with split-second timing and decision-making. Many tactical and strategic opportunities are available on the fly due to the snappiness of the controls and level design. However, its short length and lack of gameplay variety prevent Mr. Shifty from being a must play title. After checking out the Nintendo Switch release, now Cubed3 goes back to see how the PC edition fares.

Mr. Shifty's story throws players right into the game, without any introductory cut-scene or setup, which would normally be jarring. However, the story is so shallow that this isn't a problem at all. As the silent protagonist, Mr. Shifty, a thief-superhero hybrid, it is your job to punch your way through the hundreds of faceless goons through many floors of a gigantic skyscraper of sorts, supported by a partner named Nyx. The goal is to obtain something for some reason or another; it's honestly not very important in the light of the cartoonish villains and over the top setting.

Do not expect a mind-bending story or an intrigue-filled adventure. The art style is very pleasing to the eye, a sort of cel-shaded comic book style that suits the setting well, especially how Mr. Shifty teleports around the level, leaving small puffs of smoke in his wake. The vibrant aesthetic is complemented by an upbeat, exciting soundtrack, which is a fantastic background to brutally punch people in the face to.

Screenshot for Mr. Shifty on PC

Any seasoned gamer will fully understand the mechanics within just a couple seconds of play, since they are relatively simple to understand and execute. The player controls Mr. Shifty from a top-down perspective, and can teleport short distances five times before a cool down, which then imacts the rest of the mechanics. Enemies are usually armed with firearms, and similarly to Hotline Miami's system, Mr. Shifty dies in just a single hit. However, with his teleportation abilities, he can easily poof out of the way, either behind an enemy to deliver a punch, or into different rooms and hiding spaces. This leads to some incredibly tense and exciting action sequences, akin to Nightcrawler's attack on the White House in the second X-Men film. Enemies go down in just a couple of punches, but their ranged weapons mean that clever positioning and movement are required for success, especially against the ridiculously large groups of enemies you are sometimes faced with.

Screenshot for Mr. Shifty on PC

Mr. Shifty refuses to use guns for some reason, but this isn't out of a superhero's non-lethal code like Batman, as he consistently punches enemies so hard they fly out of the buildings' windows, plummeting hundreds of feet to their death on the pavement below. There are a few powerful weapons to pick up such as pipes, or keyboards to chuck in an enemy's direction, but most of the time you will be punching with your fists. The enemies react appropriately slowly and also severely lack trigger discipline, as they will consistently shoot each other in the back, or get blown up by a missile that was chasing a teleporting thief who suddenly wasn't there.

It's an admittedly thrilling power fantasy to vanish out of sight, but the most powerful ability is a gameplay contrivance. From a top-down gameplay perspective, Mr. Shifty lets the player see into different rooms, which is arguably much more power than any teleportation ability can provide. It feels cheap to have a perfectly omniscient view of the entire screen, and granted the ability to know what rooms are safe at a glance to vanish in and out of, but without this gameplay allowance, it would be nearly impossible. In addition to this, multiple successful punches in quick succession will grant a brief slow motion effect, which is triggered if Mr. Shifty is nearly hit by an enemy bullet. This isn't something that the player can plan to trigger, which leads to the mechanic feeling a bit random and less helpful as a result.

Screenshot for Mr. Shifty on PC

Unfortunately, there isn't much variety to the gameplay other than the basic teleportation and punching mechanics. As fun as this is, even through the short 3-4 hour length, it starts to feel old by the end. The storyline is as predictable as anything that's in media right now, and the game doesn't introduce any new concepts or abilities. The absurd number of enemies it starts to throw at you becomes tedious and less interesting to fight, strangely enough.

The friendly fire mechanic is a great idea, in theory, as goons will often fire even if Mr. Shifty is no longer there, but near the end of the game, the heavily armed enemies are more easily dispatched by dodging around them and letting their friends shoot them, instead of engaging them yourselves. Due to the lack of multiple gameplay options, and the short length, Mr. Shifty fails to offer much replay value after the credits roll, and only manages to be a short, sometimes mindless experience.

Screenshot for Mr. Shifty on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Mr. Shifty is an undeniably fun game, with a neat gimmick to add to the top-down action genre. It is a perfect title to make those in control feel like they are Nightcrawler, and it a great experience that can be enjoyed in short spurts. Some gameplay issues and short length keep it from being a full, must-have type of recommendation, but there is definitely still plenty of intense enjoyment to be had in this release.


Team Shifty







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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