STAFF REVIEW of Mr Shifty (Xbox One)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017.
by John Elliott

Mr Shifty Box art As a fan of Shadow Complex, which was a metroidvania style game, I was immediately drawn to Mr. Shifty. Why is this you ask? Well, it is because it somewhat reminded me of that title, but on a more simplier basis as it appeared to be a stealth game. Well, after playing it I can honestly say that I was 100% wrong in this deduction. As I entered into the world of Mr. Shifty, I quickly learned that the stealth element of the game is not as in-depth as I had hoped, and that it is more of a top down fighter. However, I quickly learned that Mr. Shifty didn't need to be like other titles as it made a valiant effort in its attempt to stand out on its own.

Mr. Shifty's top down action thrusts you into a story where you play the role of Mr. Shifty himself. You have to infiltrate an evil corporation that has a plutonium core secured away. Why do you have to steal it? Simply put, it's an evil corporation and they must be up to no good if they want all this plutonium to themselves.

The combat incorporates teleportation and traditional button mashing combat to solve the various puzzles set out before you. These puzzles are your typical variety that combine environmental and combat mechanics that you would find in many games. For example, you have to take down a bunch of enemies while teleporting back and forth between walls to avoid being hit, all while you progress to another section of the floor that is full of lasers that could either be stationary, rotating, or following you closely behind. After all that mayhem there is most definitely some more enemies, that will require you to use your attack & retreat tactics, that you quickly have to adapt to.

This example is also definitely the highlight of the game, as the combat is well implemented and could have carried the game if the level design was much better. That being said, the mechanics, although quite good, can get really repetitive quickly, as the levels are pretty much the same over and over again, which ultimately kills the gameplay.

Visually, Mr. Shifty is not all that special. It has what I would best describe as very simple character models, but you can easily tell the difference between tme. You'll notice the guards with guns are different looking than the heavier set enemies who pack a punch and can take some damage versus the simple 'one-shot-kill' enemies.

The environments look pretty much the same throughout the whole game, as you can't change up too much inside an ultra secure office building that one man can easily get through, but that's video game science for you. However, all the environments are crafted well for the purposes for solving puzzles. I'd feel safe in saying that they are on par with some of the mobile games I have downloaded to my phone to pass the time while waiting at a bus stop or at the doctor's office.

On top of the mobile quality graphics, the audio seems to fall into the same category as you are treated to some mobile game quality music and sound effects. The background music sounds like cheesy elevator instrumentals with very little variety except some increased tempo during intense sequences you'll come across in the game's levels. Intertwined with the music are sound effects that reminded me of the 60's era live action Batman show starring the great Adam West. However, the sound effects probably would have been a whole lot better if Adam West beat boxed them and the developers added them into the game. Suffice to say I wasn't a huge fan of the overall presentation of the game as I felt they could have put a lot more into this area of the game to take it to the next level, but it felt like they had just copied and pasted this portion of the game in and called it a day.

Mr. Shifty couldn't be held afloat with some great game play mechanics and an relatively cool combat concept. Unfortunately, the shoddy graphics, lackluster sound and music, combined with some boring and repetitive environments, turned what could have been a heck of a game into a complete downer. Unfortunately Mr. Shifty has become Mr. Lousy and is a definite pass.

Overall: 5.5 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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