Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review: Mr. Shifty

For my initial summarized thoughts on the game be sure to check out my Impressions. I have, however, added these additional thoughts on the game to summarize my concerns/issues with it that kept me from scoring it higher.


First, if you watch the video I captured the stutter isn’t that infrequent and it can both be odd and annoying. At first I thought it was a deliberate delay when you knocked people out to slow down the action, and sometimes I think it is on purpose for that reason. When it happened when there was no action at first I thought perhaps it was because someone was dying out of my immediate view since that does happen for a variety of reasons. Then I began noticing it for random and seemingly unexplainable reasons just when moving around or doing something. My hope is that this is a known issue and can at least get a patch to reduce it.




Second, for a game that I’d held out hope for some strong replay value with, arcade brawler-style, it really doesn’t deliver that at all. Once you complete the 18 levels your only extended play option is to revisit the levels in full, trying to improve your time and lower your death count. As Neal noted, the connective tissue between the very engaging and entertaining fights is a bit hit or miss and especially if my goal were to complete the level with 0 deaths that could be a tall order probably somewhat out of my control aside from pure grinding through it over and over. Since there’s no support for leaderboards or anything else I can see even this would seem to be without much of a point. With this really solid fight engine I’m sad to see there isn’t some sort of endurance mode that could have used a pretty stock arena set-up, pushing me to survive wave after wave of enemies for time and score. Throw a few scenarios like this and a leaderboard at me and I’d have gladly spent quite a few more hours taking in more of what is actually a pretty great fighting engine overall.


Third, there are absolutely a few spots in the game where I simply had no idea what to do and it was frustrating for seemingly no good reason. When you get to the point in the game you’ll likely know it, just know that when all else fails you just keep punching like the wall has the face of Crash Bandi-Poochy on it. You punch because it feels right, and eventually you should be OK. Puzzles are good, sequences where you can’t reasonably assume what you should do aren’t always so good.




Lastly, I won’t fully detail the sequence of events but I will say that after SO much build-up and challenge to get to the very end of the game the final fight wasn’t even remotely fair or interesting. While it would seemingly be invigorating to completely own the final boss I must say that as the credits rolled all I could think was “WTF just happened!” Just ending it all on a sad note knocked me down from the thrills that had gotten me there.


For what it sets out to be, and the price point, if you’re looking for an engaging brawler that will test both your reflexes and your wits Mr. Shifty delivers some pretty solid goods. While it has issues that keep it from being easy to recommend to anybody if the game looks like it has elements that appeal to you it should reasonably deliver the goods, even if it feels like it doesn’t quite live up to its potential.


Score: 7



Pros:
  • When it gets into its fighting groove Mr. Shifty is an absolute blast and can provide a nice challenge
  • Some of the more puzzle-like sequences do a great job of testing your wits while pushing you to apply some of the game mechanics to their fullest
  • For the price of admission the total experience is of a reasonable length


Cons:
  • For all of the great attributes of the fighting engine that has been created there just doesn’t feel like there’s enough of it being leveraged, the lack of a fighting-specific challenge or endurance mode is a shame
  • The prospect of replaying the levels isn’t generally appealing without more concentrated focus and an incentive like online leaderboards
  • In a few spots the lack of any direction on what you need to do can be frustrating

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