Taking all those details into account, you may catch the drift that the story is rather, well, generic. You would not be wrong. The game has many been here, done that tropes, but it is all about the gameplay here. Mr. Shifty phases in, fists blazing in this fast paced beat-em-up. Like Hotline Miami before it, Mr. Shifty is very much an on-your toes style of gameplay, with enemies being able to end your run with only a single shot. Unlike Hotline Miami though, you only fight with your fists and a variety of melee weapons, with not a gun in site for the exceptionally skilled thief. Mr. Shifty has no need though, as his unique set of skills gives him a clear advantage early on. His “shifting” ability allows him to phase through walls, dodge bullets, and traverse quickly with ease. This adds to the intensity behind the combat system, one that grows from balanced to challenging then straight up chaotic over the course of the game.
By far the gameplay is the shining force behind the title. I had a great time playing and the game screams fun, but that does not mean it was lacking elsewhere. Like I mentioned earlier, the story is lackluster, save for some mildly funny dialog from both Stone and Nyx. The dialog cannot excuse some of the other problems though. My main gripe is that Mr.Shifty offers no apparent reason to go back for more post-credits. Each stage keeps track of both your time and deaths, yet offer no ranks or leaderboards to make them worthwhile. If you get zero deaths, you will net a perfect classification, but this perfection alludes to no unlockable or anything of that nature to make it worthwhile. Even light customizations or collectables would have added something more robust to its lacking replayability. Aside from that, there are some light performance issues. The game crashed on me several times during my review process, forcing me to restart my stages from the start, as the game only tracks checkpoints on a per level basis, not indefinitely. There were also some performance slow-downs towards the end when things get a little out of hand. Nothing too deterring thankfully, but it did result in some untimely deaths.
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 7.5/10
+Extremely Fun Combat
+Keeps Your Attention
-Offers Little Reason to Play Post Credits
-Minor Performance Issues