Every review of Mr. Shifty is going to compare it to Hotline Miami, and this one is no different, as Mr. Shifty takes everything that game did and does it worse. The graphics are ugly with muted colours, the soundtrack is decent can’t match up to Hotline’s beautiful beats, and the only real differences are a few puzzle elements and the ability to shift through objects, walls, and enemies, which ends up feeling like a glorified dodge roll.
If you’re not familiar with Hotline Miami, it’s a brutally difficult game where you walk through buildings, punching down doors, and beating up guys packing guns. Oh, and you die in one hit. In Mr. Shifty, you can dodge behind enemies to avoid their gunfire, which makes you feel like a superhero at first, before the game just becomes tedious and repetitive while overstaying its welcome.
The first few levels are shifting around near identical hallways, punching out the same few enemies over and over and… you get the drift. I was already ready for the game to end by the time it got to its first twist, at which point it made it clear I wasn’t even close to being finished. It’s a bad sign when a game presents you with more gameplay and you instantly feel a sense of dread wash over yourself.
After a bit the ability to shift is heavily restricted, enemy encounters become extremely difficult yet somehow mind-numbingly dull. One would think it would make the game more exciting, but it just made me wish for brighter days with better games. Mr. Shifty was so disheartening it has me writing like an edgy teen on a Xanga blog.
If I haven’t persuaded you yet, and you’re desperate for a game on your fancy Nintendo handheld, let me tell you the Switch version of the game looks the worst and has frequent hitching, bad enough that it sometimes leads to deaths. Also, as I’ve said in pretty much every Switch review I’ve written thus far, HD Rumble seems like ‘normal plain old rumble’ here and like a buzz word meant to encourage sales of the Switch version; nothing more, nothing less. Lastly, between every room, there is a black screen with the word “Loading” in the corner that lasts usually around 5 seconds or more. It isn’t the ’90s anymore, there is no excuse for such a dull loading screen in 2017.
If it isn’t obvious, I kind of hate Mr. Shifty. The initial fun factor quickly dries up due to being so repetitive, and when the game finally tries to mix things up it ends up only making things worse somehow. I’d encourage even the thirstiest Nintendo Switch owners to give this one a pass, more refreshing games will soon be released to quench your thirst. Trust me on that.