Monday, April 10

Impressions: Mr. Shifty

If you've seen the videos and screen shots of Mr. Shifty to this point you probably have a reasonably good idea of what to expect, and that's both a good and a bad thing. It is, for the most part, a top-down one-shot-kill brawler with you controlling the title character, Mr. Shifty. He is a man of few words but also of, often, intense fighting skills mixed with a handy teleportation ability.

It is the action-packed brawling sequences where Mr. Shifty can flex these powers of rapid engagement that can be both aggravating and exiting, having to plot out a rough plan to then execute to get yourself out of whatever jam you're in. As the game goes on you'll need to show even better tactics, often requiring to do far less work if you're making proper use of weapons, for example.

To slow and calm down the action elements of the game there are variety of puzzles you'll need to solve as well, often involving the manipulation of certain elements in the environment around you. While many of the puzzles have straight-forward solutions it is here where you learn the eclectic set of tactics and properties of things that you may get the opportunity to abuse later when you're in a tough fight.

It is at the point that the puzzle properties of the game mix with the brawling where Mr. Shifty's mechanics really come alive. I've had a few situations of "Hrrm... I wonder what would happen if..." and in general the fact that I've been rewarded when trying something out is quite satisfying. I look forward to the game continuing this pattern, asking me to exhibit even more creativity in seeing the potentials in the grand plan.

As I continue deeper into the building I find myself wondering what the extended game plan is for the title. Does it have long-term plans or is continuous revisiting of previous levels going to be the only method available, with people just trying to reduce both their number of deaths and their overall clear times? I think this is one of the major questions that will drive home either the value of the purchase or one of its greatest weaknesses. I'll let you know once I find out which it is.