We had a lot of fun with Mr. Shifty, the newly released action game from tinyBuild and Team Shifty. It’s like Hotline Miami with less gore and a whole lot more teleporting, punching and trident stabbings.
Comparisons to Hotline Miami are inevitable. Both titles give you a top-down view of your protagonist and task you with surviving increasingly complex combat scenarios where death comes quickly and often. They also each give you the benefit of instantly restarting the bite-sized encounters. They even share moments of quiet reflection as you backtrack through a level to admire the carnage you’ve caused.
It looks derivative at first glance, but Mr. Shifty advances the Hotline formula in several meaningful ways. First and foremost, your ability to teleport gives you a unique edge as you blink through walls and past bullets. The game’s protagonist also seems to have an aversion to guns. You’ll instead battle enemies with your fists, sticks, boat oars and coffee mugs, and their bodies sail comically through obstacles and out plate glass windows. Compared to Hotline, Mr. Shifty’s tone is less violent and oppressive. The game revels in its wacky violence, and it never asks you to feel bad about it.
Mr. Shifty is out now on Nintendo Switch and Steam.