Superheroes are a big money maker at the moment and it’s no surprise with some of the amazing concepts being produced. But have you noticed that there are not very many superhero games out on the market? It’s very odd isn’t it? Considering the technical aspects we’ve achieved in gaming, developers could create some awesome spectacles in gameplay and allow gamers to be superheroes.
Well enter Mr Shifty, a dude who’s on a mission to save the world from total devastation while wearing his lucky baseball cap and speaking only in dotted lines. Oh yeah, he also has the power to shift short distances and punches really hard. Awesome! Mr Shifty is a master thief, who's been asked by the Global Council to break into a Skyscraper owned by a Master Criminal called Mr Stone or otherwise referred to as Mr A**hole but Kye your trusty operator. It’s up to Mr Shifty to steal a vital plutonium core before it’s sold to international terrorists. That’s pretty much it. Mr Shifty doesn’t expel endless expositions, our villains don’t have tragic backstories or complex motivates for being evil. This is pretty much good old, high paced action!
Mr Shifty is able to teleport a short distance allowing him to pass through walls, avoid enemy fire and gain a tactical advantage over his enemies so he can punch them in the back of the head. He’s also able to slow down time for a very short period in order to deal more damage and escape excessive bursts of fire and attacks. However this is only triggered when he's attacked enough NPCs in a short space of time. The core of the game is allowing Mr Shifty to project himself over short distances and through solid surfaces while escaping various dangers. The execution of mechanics is kept simple with the level of creativity in the action and various set pieces making this top down beat em- up highly engaging.
Mr Shifty keeps a perfect pace flowing with highly intense action while introducing new elements gradually as the game progresses. Many set pieces will take advantage of Mr Shifty’s power whether it’s for a more lateral engagement or a test of speed and reflexes. You’ll see a variation of events ranging from Mr Shifty taking on dozens of armed men to frantically outrunning a wall of lasers, closing in on you with plenty of explosive materials along the path to the exit. Mr Shifty does it's best to keep players invested and for the most part avoids tedious segments repetition. Most levels have their own variation of dangers, from areas being littered with proximity mines to confined office spaces where Mr Shifty will have to avoid the fire of rocket launcher turrets. There's even a neat segment where Mr Shifty has to break out of a prison cell without using his shift power.
All styles of gameplay from action, lateral and even stealth work well with wonderfully structured pacing to give player’s a refreshing experience each and every level. Yet the main issue Mr Shifty suffers from is a rather bloated and tedious third act as the creativity and elegant pacing is replaced with a repetitive and dim-witted design. There’s a point the game could end but decides to venture further for another 6 stages and it felt the welcome was overstayed.
This is mostly due to the padding in later stages were the segments with the Shift blocker were over used, the overbearing sense of enemy placements and with the enemies gaining more advancements throughout with Mr Shifty never evolving or upgrading his powers meant you’re greatest power is to use a broom effectively. This sucked the fun out of the game and without any progression for Mr Shifty to evolve his powers or the mechanics, meant the game did become monotonous. It doesn’t help that there’s often a limited amount of checkpoints within each level and encountering a long fight segment with dozens of armed enemies on screen is purely infuriating considering you can only take one hit. You’ll learn to hate shotgun enemies just like in any other game as their range is ridiculous.
Overall, I felt the biggest disappointment when the game finished after with a gruelling gauntlet of infuriatingly long set pieces and ended with an unexciting finale that doesn’t match up to many of the earlier encounters. It’s a sad trend often seen when developers make such great beginning acts and then fall short on the third by adding in ridiculous enemy counts and mind numbing set pieces in the hopes of extending the game’s life without real thought or creativity.
The lack of new content outside the campaign means there’s little replay value, as some challenge maps or new game modes would’ve been awesome. The main campaign for the most part is very good and I feel this concept could’ve been expanded upon. The campaign does introduce plenty of neat ideas while keeping players invested with refreshing gameplay elements, yet lacks any impact in the third act. Overall Mr Shifty is pretty entertaining and will bring you many hours of joy but sadly lacks any additional content outside the campaign which means it’s won’t hold your interest after those credits roll.
++ Interesting concept and fun game mechanics
+ Some great set pieces and highly intense action
+ Visually beautiful destruction
- Segments in the third act become tedious and repetitive
- Lack of checkpoints can prolong tedious fighting segments
- Lack of addition modes lessens replay value
A Steam code of Mr Shifty was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review