Played on Nintendo Switch, copy purchased.
Hotline Miami is one of my favourite indie games, the top down shooter has a great art style, addictively hard combat and just a touch of perverse humour. So when I learned that Mr. Shifty developed by Team Shifty and produced by tinyBuild Games, was a Hotline Miami style shooter with the addition of superpowers, I was intrigued.
Mr. Shifty is in a lot of ways a throwback to old school games, the plot starts with little introduction and the dialogue is minimal and to the point, with just a touch of sarcasm. You play as the titular Mr. Shifty who can teleport short distances and punch like a god damn champion. Kitted out in a Watchdogs style trench coat and baseball cap, you have to break into a sinister organisation’s base to steal some mega plutonium.
The plot doesn’t really tow the line between you being a thief or superhero very well, but the story isn’t what you came for. No, the top down brawling action is the selling point, and for the most part, it’s a fun ride.
Unlike with Hotline Miami you won’t be partaking in firearms, instead you phase in and out of existence to surprise enemies and punch them to death before they shoot you. You can use a range of melee weapons to help you out, most of which degrade and break, but will all one shot villains. Weirdly enough pillows and wads of cash are just as capable of taking down opponents as poles and swords but hey, why not when being thrown by a guy who can literally punch through concrete walls?
The best aspect of the game comes into play when you pick up shields and tridents, which are both indestructible weapons. The shield makes you feel straight up like Captain America, as you toss it into enemies and see it ricochet off walls, and the trident is pretty much a Aqua Man simulator, as you skewer enemies and pin their corpses to walls.
Enemy types are varied, with heavy hitters, speedy ninjas, turrets, lasers, and a variety of henchmen with different types of guns. Each are challenging enough to tackle, especially later in the game as there are more and more of them, and the fact any damage kills you outright makes progressing a slow process.
Admittedly I was unable to finish the game, having to turn my Switch off before I snapped it in half. Sadly the difficulty curve on the final level goes from challenging to stupid, with respawn points few and far between. Repeatedly replaying sections became too much for me and grated fast, so throwing in the towel was the sad finale for a game I was enjoying.
Performance wise Mr. Shifty runs fairly average on the Switch, with constant frame rate drops and sections with plenty of action slowing to a crawl. Considering Mario Kart 8 Deluxe runs like a dream, it seems like an optimisation issue dev end. Also the Joy-Cons seems to fucking implode every-time a chain of explosions is triggered, to the point where I turned off rumble as the sounds emanating from them was a tad concerning.
Overall its an enjoyable game, albeit one with a few hiccups. I don’t regret the $20 or so bucks I splashed on it, so that’s a thumbs up if anything.