Written by Caleb Taylor, April 13, 2017, at 3 p.m.
Mr Shifty First Impressions
From Team Shifty, ex-Halfbrick developers come an action-packed, fast paced top down game featuring a teleporting thief. It’s as crazy as it sounds. You play as a teleporting thief with formidable fighting skills and are tasked with stealing high profile items from a skyscraper full of armed guards. Almost everything in the game can be interacted with. You can rip item’s off the walls to use in a fight, you can throw guards out of a window, turn off lazers to walk through them, then turn them back on to kill the guards following you and more. Each time you play you find new ways to smash your way through the levels. It’s comic book art style is the cherry on top, tying Mr Shifty’s feel and aesthetics together.
Mr Shifty Mechanics
The mechanics in Mr Shifty are clean, polished and consistent. You can teleport to anywhere within a certain range, even into “soft” objects like tables (not walls). You can teleport around the room, confusing the guards and causing chaos. Teleporting, along with breaking objects and knocking stuff over makes noise which alerts the guards about your position. You have to be careful, one wrong move and the entire floor knows your whereabouts. I found myself using this to my advantage, grouping up a large collection of guards exactly where I want them and finishing them off with a quick blast from a laser. This mechanic does lead to some interesting decisions, occasionally I had to choose between breaking up a table for a weapon or going in stealthily.
If you pull off a number of successful hits, you receive a slow-mo power up which automatically activates if you get shot at. Again, this turns something seemingly negative (being shot at) into an advantage. I would save the power up until I found a large room of guards, got shot at intentionally and ran in wreaking havoc.
As mentioned before, you can interact with almost everything. You can break bookshelf ladders and swing the broken pieces around, throw coffee mugs you find on a conference desk or use the trident from a statue to impale a line of guards to the wall. This is by far what sets Mr Shifty apart from games in it’s genre, you can pick up debris in the heat of battle and continue fighting in a truly “action movie” fashion. I found myself getting lost in this trance of smashing paddles over the guards’ heads, launching them into desks and other furniture and continuing to find and use random broken pieces as weapons.
Mr Shift features a comical narrator who provides exposition in between game play. It’s refreshing to see a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously with the story, but still provides digestible and quirky humour that lets you collect yourself between fights. Mr Shifty doesn’t talk, making the narration a truly hilarious one-sided conversation.
Mr Shifty Graphics and Sound
Mr Shifty’s graphics are quick, pleasant, readable and polished. There’s nothing flashy or innovative in terms of graphics, but Mr Shifty looks perfect for the kind of game it is. The “comic book” shadders used drives home that “action hero” feeling while playing. One thing to note about the graphics are the particle effects and explosions. Both appear immersive, really tying the whole game together. Without the particle effects and other graphics, the game would appear dull and repetitive.
Same with the sound. There’s nothing groundbreaking about the sound design either, but it works in harmony with the graphics to provide an unparalleled playing experience.
Mr Shifty Gameplay
Mr Shifty faces the player with a number of unique puzzles each episode. Sometimes the puzzles involve timing. Others involve speed or skill. Some require out of the box thinking, and some require brute force. The puzzles vary each level, so you rarely find yourself using a solution to a problem you’ve encountered before. Because of this, I look up from what I thought was a quick 5 minutes and realise I’ve been playing for close to an hour. This, combined with the game’s aesthetics and mechanics makes for a truly replayable classic. Mr Shifty has a certain rhythm to each level, and once you find it you can beat the level with grace, elegance, and carnage.
Mr Shifty is so much like other games, which makes it like no other. It pulls the flowing, combo based combat system from Arkham Asylum, the teleportation and elaborate kills from Dishonored, the fast paced “1-life” style of gameplay from Hotline Miami and the art style from Borderlands or certain Telltale game’s titles. I can see myself playing this game to completion a few times and I’ve already recommended it to a few friends. Try it out here, and let us know what you think about the game in the comment section below!