‘Mr. Shifty’ Review: *BAMF* For Glory

The developers of Mr. Shifty, out now for the Nintendo Switch must have really enjoyed the opening scene to 2003’s X2: X-Men United. The scene where Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) infiltrates the White House by BAMFing around, taking out Secret Servicemen on his way to the Oval Office to confront the president. Mr. Shifty uses the same concept, but here, instead of a blue-skinned mutant circus acrobat, players take control of a operative known as, you guessed it, Mr. Shifty, who has to break into the world’s most secure building to steal some plutonium away from the bad guys, and then stumbles into something more.

Mr. Shifty, with his red cap and blue jacket, has the ability to flash transport (or *BAMF* for comic nerds) short distances, usually to places he can see or knows of — like an adjoining room. Mr. Shifty uses this power to get past armed guards and thugs as he climbs the building, one level at a time. At the top of the building is Mr. Sloan, the man in charge and the holder of the cards, and Mr. Shifty has to stop him from completing his nefarious deeds. Working with Mr. Shifty is the off-screen Nyx, who supports Mr. Shifty with mission information and guidance. There is also the occasional banter between the two, some of it pretty humorous. Well, I laughed at least.

Mr. Shifty Review

The bulk of the game is Mr. Shifty teleporting around, taking out guards either with fists, or the occasional found melee weapon, and then making it to the elevator to head up to the next floor. Developer Team Shifty uses the top-down approach that made Hotline Miami an indie hit in 2012, and while Mr. Shifty may not be graphically stunning, it serves its purpose and works well with the speed of the game, which is, as you may have guessed, fast. It kind of has a comic book feel to it, and that works here.

In later levels, when the guards are bigger, and heavily armed, and there are more of them, I did notice some screen slow down, but taking into consideration the sheer amount of action going on at that time, I gave it a pass. It didn’t break the game, by any stretch, and if anything, it gave me a glitchy pause to recollect myself and plan my next jump on the fly, as bullets were flying, debris was scattered, and more and more guards were pouring into the room.

Mr. Shifty Review

Mr. Shifty has a finite number of jumps, five, that he can take before a quick cool down occurs. Also, a meter will fill that when activated, slows down the game (this time intentionally) for some cool “bullet-time” action, allowing our hero to dodge bullets and pull off some amazingly intricate takedowns. As Mr. Shifty ascends higher and higher, the rooms/levels become tougher, as in hundreds of enemies have to be dealt with, mostly at the same time, which causes some chaotic fun, but after a few hours of BAMFing around, solving simple switch puzzles, dodging lasers and taking out guards, my hands began to hurt. To say Mr. Shifty is repetitive is an understatement, but all in all, when taken in smaller chunks and not in long play sessions, it all works out.

I particularly enjoyed the speed of the game and the ability to teleport around to take out enemies. I especially found joy in knocking bad guys out of windows as I climbed higher and higher. I found myself coming back to Mr. Shifty again and again, and while repetitive, it didn’t bother me as much as it could have. I guess I was also into the simplicity of the story (a thief and his off-site partner taking on a megalomaniac secured in an impenetrable building), and I too enjoyed X2: X-Men United, especially that opening scene, so I was into Mr. Shifty lock, stock, and teleporting barrel.

Mr. Shifty Review

Mr. Shifty will not change the gaming genre, nor will it resonate with players years after defeating that final stupid boss. But for a few hours on the Nintendo Switch, I had an amazing time playing an indie game, and I’d love to see more of the character Mr. Shifty in the future. In the end, that’s all a developer can really hope for.

Mr. Shifty is available now on the Nintendo Switch on the Nintendo eShop. This review is based off a code provided by the publisher.

Mr. Shifty Review
out of 5

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