Mr Shifty – Review

1.0.3 Update June 7th 2017

This patch was released to address the game’s jerky frame rate. It’s come several weeks post-release, but after some stress-testing we can definitely confirm there are marked improvements. The movement is much more fluid in areas we previously experienced problems and as far as we can see, the game runs without a hitch. Just what we wanted and the game needed!

Now the patch is live and available for everyone, we have updated our score to reflect the improvements made. Great job, TinyBuild!

(If the patch doesn’t download automatically, on the Home Screen press the + button on the Mr Shifty icon, scroll down to Software Update and tap Via the Internet.)


Original Review April 17th 2017

The indie influx is already alive and well on Nintendo’s latest platform.

Where Wii U previously struggled to fill out weeks with content, Switch is attracting games – new and old – to join its ranks. The latest comes courtesy of TinyBuild – they of the phenomenal Punch Club – and is primarily about, well, shifting!

And punching. Which should come as no surprise to anybody!

As a Shifty master thief, your goal is to warp between rooms, evading all manner of ferocious bad guys as you try to reach the exit with a plethora of riches.

And it’s in these tense moments of evading capture that the game really shines, whether you’re timing your warps to avoid laser fire, or blasting through rooms with a satisfying one-two melee strike that floors a group of unsuspecting thugs.

Much like good old Captain America, Shifty will not make use of the guns that litter the floor, a concept that will seem alien at first. Particularly for those who’ve been likening the style of play to a Hotline Miami. That said, he can make use of some melee weapons like wooden planks and even shields which can deflect the bullets back at your attackers. In fact, if you manage to deflect bullets against certain surfaces, it can cause even more damage by taking out groups at a time.

With its simplistic controls, Shifty is easy enough to get into and play, tapping the right bumper to teleport and the left to attack, you can flit and float around areas care-free. But there’s a tactical layer too, as you can use the environment to great effect by hiding behind statues and walls, keeping out of enemy eye-line. That said, you do need to watch Shifty’s energy. Teleport five times in a row and you’re going to need to recharge. And if your last teleport has left you in a room full of attackers, you could be in some trouble.

That said, you do need to watch Shifty’s energy. Teleport five times in a row and you’re going to need to recharge. And if your last teleport has left you in a room full of attackers, suddenly that incredible super power has left you extremely vulnerable.

There’s a real sense of satisfaction about shifting around your enemies, catching them unawares, dropping them with big weapons and then darting back out of sight. You can create these moments organically as there’s not always one set path you can take to reach your destination. Sometimes it’s possible to stay out of sight altogether in true Sam Fisher fashion, but the flow of play also opens the door to plenty of action if that’s what your heart desires.

It’s even possible to set mines and other traps, catching enemies completely off-guard as they go about their patrol, or play cat and mouse with your pursuers to isolate them individually. You can even cause guards to kill each other if you’re fast enough

Mr Shifty does a lot of things right and offers enough weapon versatility, level variety, and puzzle solving to keep you on your toes throughout. Eventually you’ll have to start contending against rocket launchers and turrets in addition to the standard footsoldiers, who, by the way, can also throw in a few unexpected surprises so you’re not getting complacent.

But as you get deeper into the game, some of the charm and novelty that initially wowed you gets lost.

And unfortunately, there are some serious issues with the frame rate on Switch as devs still come to understand what the hardware is capable of. It hiccups and stutters noticeably when the action gets fast and furious, but a patch is being worked on and should release in the near future. We’ll look to overview the game again once this hits. For now, though, it really does disrupt the flow of play, and in a game like this a few seconds delay can prove costly.

That, and once the game is over you’re unlikely to revisit. It’s an entertaining romp from start to finish, but once it’s done, you’ll probably remove it from your SD Card never to revisit. Don’t worry though, because you certainly won’t breeze through this in one sitting. Some of the later levels are especially brutal, despite the well-organised checkpointing system in place.

It’s possible Mr Shifty has exploited some weaknesses and concerns about Nintendo’s latest hardware, particularly with frame rate on new releases, but this is still a satisfying, entertaining experience that definitely deserves a chance.


Pros
+ Shifting is so much fun
+ Real weapon and level variety
+ Fairly paced progression system

Cons
– Serious frame rate issues disturb the action
– Limited to no replayability.


Mr Shifty

7.5 out of 10 (based on 1.0.3)

 

(Original Score) 6.5 out of 10 (based on 1.01)

Tested on Nintendo Switch

About the author

Ray Willmott

Ray is the founder and editor of Expansive. He is also a former Community Manager for Steel Media, and has written for a variety of gaming websites over the years. His work can be seen on Pocket Gamer, PG.biz, Gfinity, and the Red Bull Gaming Column. He has also written for VG247, Videogamer, GamesTM, PLAY, and MyM Magazine,

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