We’ve already reviewed Mr. Shifty for PC a while back, and the Xbox One version is, frankly, not much different. If you played the PC version with an Xbox 360 gamepad, or just any gamepad, your experience is going to be exactly the same. Let’s briefly go over the game, though, assuming that you never played it when it came out on PC.
Mr. Shifty is a top-down action-brawler where you control the titular hero shifting and punching through eighteen levels. The one other thing that you can do is pick up certain items to use as weapons, and either swing them or throw them. The gameplay is simple but fast-paced and effective. The visuals are passable, and the story is pretty basic old-school action movie stuff. It’s akin to a really good B action movie, and I enjoy that. It’s nice to enjoy a game and not have to be totally invested once in a while. The music and sounds effects are of similar caliber, too. They’re snappy and fast and lend themselves well to the gameplay.
Most of the areas look pretty similar, except for the below-ground levels—they look a bit more high-tech, and the rest of the game looks like a fancy hotel. It’s not a bad thing, though. Most levels are done pretty quickly. Depending on how many times you die, the game goes by in just a few hours. Speaking of dying, you’ll probably be doing that a lot in the last quarter of this game because it goes from fun and creative to stupid and frustrating.
The first three-quarters of the levels in the game are creative in that most of them are some sort of puzzle that can be solved to make it much easier. You can always just punch the fuck out of everything, but you die in one hit, so that’s inadvisable. Sometimes you can lure enemies into a room with a laser grid, then teleport away, activate the grid, and laugh maniacally as they all sizzle. It’s creative, and most of the levels are like this in some way, employing your shifting abilities in clever ways.
The last five or so levels are just…dumb, though. They aren’t fun or clever or anything; I have no idea what happened. The game just sends TONS of enemies after you and you just have to get lucky and kill the proper guys first, since there’s a solid handful of enemies by the end of the game. It just goes from clever to dull (and aggravating) at the end of the game. It sours the experience.
Considering the name of the game is Mr. Shifty, I also think that the rooms that take away your shifting ability are dumb, too. I wouldn’t have minded a room where you can’t punch and you have to survive for a minute or something until a door opens—that would be cool. It would create a new kind of challenge without taking out the one aspect of the game that’s unique.
The game is still pretty fun, though, and offers a mostly-clever arcade beat-em-up experience.
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