Remember that scene from X-Men 2 (Pre-Macavoy) where Nightcrawler infiltrates the White House, attacks secret service agents and nearly assassinates the president all while doing cool martial arts and teleporting from one room to another in wisps of blue smoke? Ever think that would be a cool video game idea? Well, apparently, so did the folks over at tinyBuild! If that name sounds familiar, that’s because they are also the people that are currently bringing you Hello Neighbor.
Meet Mr. Shifty; a teleporting, rip-roaring, butt-kicking…human, I think? Featured in a colorful top down, Hotline Miami gameplay style, Mr. Shifty brings you non stop action as you strive to take down rooms full of bad guys before being brought down with a shot from the nearest loaded gun or clenched fist.
The beta I played didn’t offer much by way of story unfortunately, so whatever Mr. Shifty’s end goal is, your guess is currently as good as mine. What I can say is that no matter what this game may end up lacking in its narrative capabilities it is going to more than makeup for in the game’s mechanics.
Now, while having teleportation doesn’t make you all powerful when confronted with shotguns, pistols and flame throwers, it certainly does give you a leg up most of the time. Combat is fast paced and tactical, requiring a working knowledge of just how your environments could be made to work to your advantage along with your inherent abilities. Enemies are, as one might expect, unforgiving and varied, but fortunately so are the tools at your disposal just when things start to seem insurmountable.
Clean up enemy hordes with brooms (Not sorry), projectiles, and even tridents provided to you courtesy of overly flamboyant interior decor choices. Destroying things like tables, desks, and even bookshelves provides you with wooden beams perfect for batting away those pesky shotgunners with some time to spare. Unfortunately, no weapon offers any semblance of permanence, and if you get in over your head too quickly there may be no assortment of improvised weapons that can save you once your first pick disintegrates. Except for that trident. That thing was awesome!
Tactics play a pretty vital role in gameplay as well, which shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s played Hotline Miami. Running in and dying, or even “poofing” in, is more than likely going to get you killed no matter how fast your twitch reactions are. In fact, there are instances in which the game takes these abilities away from you entirely in specialized rooms that neutralize your abilities, leaving you fighting the oncoming hordes as nothing more than just an average Joe. With that being said, you are going to die a handful of times regardless, simply because that’s how these games play out (badum-tss…still not sorry). Take each death as a lesson and try new things every time you start a new level. Mr. Shifty isn’t gruelling, but it is often trying on the patience. Just remember to use what’s given to you and you’ll get through the levels with ease and even a few laughs tacked on for good measure.
As of right now there is sadly no concrete release date for Mr. Shifty, only Summer 2017 as stated on the website through tinyBuild games, and the available platforms are yet to be revealed. For what it’s worth though, the game seems pretty polished. I’m confident that the final project will be equal parts fun and crazy with levels chock full of inventive solutions to the plentiful issues that will arise.
Check out the Mr. Shifty teaser trailer below!