Mr. Shifty Review

  • First Released Apr 13, 2017
  • PC
  • NS

Shifting up a gear.

Mr. Shifty's influences are easy to identify. In one sentence, it's "Hotline Miami meets that opening Nightcrawler sequence in X-Men sequel film X2." It's high-concept, but Mr. Shifty lives up to the expectations that description might instill.

You play as the eponymous Mr. Shifty, a gun-averse thief with the power of teleportation who spends the entire game storming a tower in the style of movies like The Raid or Dredd. There's a plot, but the script all but acknowledges that it doesn't matter--you're here to teleport a lot and beat up hundreds of bad guys. Mr. Shifty only has three abilities: He can teleport a short distance, he can punch hard, and he can pick up melee weapons which can then be used to strike an enemy directly or thrown from afar.

In a typical encounter, you might aggressively warp into a room, punch an enemy twice, and then immediately jump out. The foes in the room will give chase, and you'll stand by the doorway and take out another one by slamming them into the door as they exit, then warp to safety. From there, you can warp back into the room they just left and take out the last to leave, then run outside and warp between the stragglers, taking them down as fast as possible.

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This is one of the game's simpler scenarios--at any given point, there's a chance you also need to deal with proximity mines, rocket-launching enemies, turrets, moving laser grids, and zones that hinder shifting. The true beauty of Mr. Shifty is that you can only plan so far ahead, especially in later levels. You can have a perfect plan for how to deal with the first 10 foes in an area, but one of them might use a surprising new tactic or more enemies might flood in, and you suddenly need to adjust your strategy. As you warp around--being careful not to use five warps in quick succession and deplete your shift meter--carnage is likely to unfurl around you, and it's up to you to corral your enemies while also being aware of any nearby hazards. Mr. Shifty feels varied, even as you're performing the same actions repeatedly.

It's like a shot of adrenalin, offering an exciting, intense experience, and it's easy to forgive the game's performance flaws when it so consistently makes you feel like a badass.

Enemies are dumb enough to kill their fellow soldiers if they think they have a shot at you, a fact that becomes near-vital once they begin carrying rocket launchers. You can pick up grenades or timed mines, teleport into a room, drop one, and teleport back out. Tricking an enemy into taking out their support or provoking a group of foes before blowing them up with a well-placed mine feels fantastic, and surveying the ensuing carnage makes you feel amazing for having survived it. The key is confidence and fast action, and when you're taking out 20-plus bad guys in quick succession, it's easy to walk away feeling smug.

Mr. Shifty is a hectic, challenging game, but it's rarely frustrating or unfair--the checkpointing is generous, meaning you rarely lose more than a minute of progress at a time. However, a few puzzles and scenarios don't align with game's typical scenarios: a small handful of rooms across Mr. Shifty's 18 levels offer up light puzzles, and in a few instances, the solution requires prompting the somewhat flighty AI into performing very specific actions. These sequences are brief and too uncommon to become a huge issue, though. Realistically, all this means is that the game may hold you up for a few minutes until you figure out a solution.

What's more likely to turn players away from Mr. Shifty is its presentation--to be blunt, this is not a great-looking game. The developers have opted for a cel-shaded look, but everything is rendered very simplistically. The game also suffers from performance issues whenever the screen is full of enemies and effects, which happens a lot toward the end. Mr. Shifty can stutter heavily on both Switch and PC, visibly struggling to handle all the moving parts. However, this isn't a deal breaker, and one of these brief stutters can actually grant you an extra half second to plot your way out of a sticky situation.

Mr. Shifty isn't a huge game in terms of length, but the three- to four-hour campaign is ample. It's like a shot of adrenalin, offering an exciting, intense experience, and it's easy to forgive the game's performance flaws when it so consistently makes you feel like a badass.

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The Good
A thrilling test of your reflexes and your ability to think fast
Difficult without ever feeling impossible
Shift ability is a lot of fun
Varied mission designs keep you engaged
The Bad
Lackluster presentation and performance issues on Switch and PC
Some missions with cumbersome puzzles halt your momentum
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

James finished Mr. Shifty on Switch in about 4 hours (needing to stop for breaks--because, wow, is this game intense) and tested out the first three levels of the PC version. He now longs for Switch ports of Hotline Miami 1 and 2. GameSpot was provided with complimentary download codes for the purposes of this review.
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Avatar image for LethalBurst

Every time I see this game title listed, for a very brief moment, I think it says "Mr. Shitty".

Avatar image for Ovirew

So first impression after playing Mr. Shifty a bit last night... I think the 8 rating might be a bit high. The game is... well, it's alright, but coming at this as someone who enjoys Hotline Miami I am finding it to be nowhere near as polished as those games. I will play through it and see what I think of it, and just enjoy it for what it is. But Mr. Shifty is not really the game I was expecting it to be I guess.

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide

This is what third party support on the Switch looks like. A smart idea appealing to Indies.

Avatar image for andfx8

Mr. Schwifty*

Avatar image for deactivated-5c9cbf62c19be

Seem fun, I'll try it

Avatar image for johno357

If its an indy game of this style you know gamespot will give an 8.

Avatar image for MrWhalo

@johno357: Poop and pee.

Avatar image for PETERAKO

What a Shifty game

Avatar image for scottyp360

As a Hotline Miami fan I'm hoping this game finds its way to ps4 or xboxone. Looks like a blast

Avatar image for gamestar73

Like games like this will help Switch agains't Scorpio..Keep dreaming..

Avatar image for Keaze_

@gamestar73: Why do people like you keep assuming that just because a console is powerful, it kills the competition?

It doesn't.

I bought a Switch day one, and have ZERO plans on getting the Scorpio.

The only chance they would have was if Death Stranding was a Microsoft exclusive.

Avatar image for braghez

@gamestar73: And the point of this comment is ?
I can take my Switch wherever I want and with time it ll get more titles.
On the other hand Scorpio is a glorified dumbed down PC which makes you pay a lot for already dated technology.
Considering that all the exclusives coming to Scorpio will come to PC too, lol. It's just a useless inferior machine.

Avatar image for gamestar73

@braghez: Mini-pc or not. Scorpio will smash anything currently on the market. I already have the unbelievable fine complete console in the Pro. Well made also. But Scorpio will be be even better than Pro. Don't sleep on it bro..

Avatar image for braghez

@gamestar73: Ahahahah, yes. Will smash the market just like XOne.

Get real. It will be another Microsoft flop. Why choose scorpio when all exclusives are coming to PC anyway ? Plus...what exclusives ? Even Xone is getting nothing. The only decent title that was coming up got cancelled by microsoft.

Wanna know what will Smash the market this round ? PC, PS4 and Switch. Why ? Well, PC because it's PC. Serious gaming is there and with xbox games coming to PC too, gg. PS4Pro albeit being much less powerful got more exclusives and cost much less. On the other side Switch gives a quite powerful portable console that with some time will grow in library and appeal.

As I said...Scorpio will be the less "budget" version of a PC for people that do not have the knowledge or will to manage a PC.

Microsoft lost too much momentum at launch. With all the crap they promoted at the E3 like "internet only", "need kinect" etc etc... they lost the trust of many potential customers. Ending up with less sales. Customers and devs then fled to ther other only choice...PS4. That's why it's going so strong right now. The Wii U flop helped them even more, moving more market share on their side.

Avatar image for Jaykray

@braghez: Console fanboys like you are petty. Enough said.

Avatar image for braghez

@Jaykray: Console fanboys like me ? :D lol. You're so "cute", know. The kind of pathetically cute.

I currently have a gaming PC, a PS4 and a Switch...while on the third gen I owned a 360. I pretty much consider consoles trash that lives on exclusive titles, but still get them to play those few "gems" that get out. So I just move from one to another based on which one is getting more support. The only consoles that I tend to always buy are Nintendo ones, but mainly because I love the "gimmicky" gameplay which varies a bit the gaming experience from the norm. So at most you could call me a PC ***.

Hell, I personally LOVE the manouver that Microsoft is doing by moving all the Xbox exclusives to PC too, but even if i like it so much in all objectivity I can't just tell that it's a genius move. Because for the market of the console it's a really shit one.
As I said microsoft is probably trying to shift their market share towards PC, leaving Xbox there as a budget and free-of-maintainance/work choice for those that do not want to manage a PC or simply have no knowledge to do so.
If PS would do something similar it would be heaven :D
But at the same time you see the effect. No good exclusives are coming out for Xbox unless the developer is bound in some way with Microsoft. One example is Undead Labs with State of decay. Why ? Because the console have a much weaker market power...and they prefer to publish their exclusives on the stronger console.

Avatar image for nacholeprechaun

@braghez: Was gonna reply to his shit comment, but you literally destroyed his stance and Microsoft for me haha. I'm a PC and Switch owner, and I think it's the best of both worlds.

Avatar image for rodoxthedark

It's a good take to the toilet game.

Avatar image for MrWhalo

@rodoxthedark: Poop and pee.

Avatar image for stevo302

Needed a bit more meat on the bones for me. Too short to get excited about

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo

How many people read the title as Mr. Shi$#y haha

Avatar image for bentleyj10

@dudebropartyyo: just you...dude.

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo

@bentleyj10: You dont know that, its a mystery ;)

Avatar image for darthrevenx

@dudebropartyyo: there is no mystery, there is only Zuul.....

Avatar image for ballashotcaller

Beat it on switch. Glad it was short. Super fun. The final moments were a little over the top but all in all worth the price for me.

Avatar image for Byshop

Aw yeah!

You gotta get shifty!

You gotta get shifty in here!

It's time to get shifty!

Avatar image for darthrevenx

@Byshop: Shifty Switchblade is not amused......

Avatar image for Byshop

@darthrevenx: He needs to watch more Rick and Morty.

Avatar image for darthrevenx

@Byshop: and you need more Crazytown in your life......LOLZ

Avatar image for R3FURBISHED

But can you take your pants off and shit on the floor... or are you not Mr. Bulldog?

Avatar image for darthrevenx

@R3FURBISHED: isn't the line supposed to go, F**k with me and we'll see who sh**t's on the sidewalk??? best line from a movie in 2008.....

Avatar image for MrWhalo

@R3FURBISHED: Poop and pee.

Avatar image for whatsazerg

meh.... it seems good... but i dont like throwing down cash for games that I'll be done with in 4 hours.

Avatar image for zerohournow

@whatsazerg: ya, but its 12 bucks cheapo...

Avatar image for deathbyderping

@zerohournow: You can get a game that plays better than this for $1.99, my dude. $12 ain't cheapo for this game-o.

Avatar image for savagerodent

@computernoises: So I take it you're not a fan of Hotline Miami then.

Avatar image for ArabrockermanX

@computernoises: I agree, but let others enjoy what they like as well... No need to bash games just because they fill a niche market.

Avatar image for darthrevenx

@ArabrockermanX: Aaaawwww, and I had my spiked club ready to go tooo......

Avatar image for yukushi

Is this a facebook game.

Avatar image for louixiii


Avatar image for Ovirew

Sounds good, might be an eventual download for me.

Avatar image for snugglebear


Avatar image for darthrevenx

@snugglebear: SCHLIFTY F5VE!!!!!

Mr. Shifty More Info

  • First Released Apr 13, 2017
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
    • + 4 more
    • Nintendo Switch
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Do you like non-stop action? People have called Mr. Shifty "Hotline Miami meets X-Men". You play as Mr. Shifty, a thief with the ability to shift around like Nightcrawler. One bullet kills you as you're put against overwhelming odd
    Average Rating14 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Mr. Shifty
    Developed by:
    Team Shifty, tinyBuild
    Published by:
    Action, Adventure
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.