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A.K.A. Mr. Crashy - Mr. Shifty Review

Home > A.K.A. Mr. Crashy - Mr. Shifty Review

Mr. Shifty Review

Mr. Shifty is a top-down brawler that is largley inspired by 2012's Hotline Miami. Its Switch launch has received quite a bit of media attention, largely due to some overwhelming performance issues. Although these issues are very prevalent and will be detailed in this review, Mr. Shifty shouldn't be written off completely. With publisher tinyBuild promising a performance patch for the Switch version in the near future, it's worth examining this game and it's potential on the Switch.

Platforms: Switch [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Team Shifty
Release: April 13, 2017 (Switch)
MSRP: $14.99
Press copy provided by tinyBuild Games

Mr. Shifty is your classic secret agent beat-em-up. You play as the mysterious Mr. Shifty whose endgame is defeating the equally mysterious villian Mr. Stone. You'll need to climb through the levels of Mr. Stone's tower and defeat or evade any baddies that he might throw your way. You're also convientently equipped with the power to "teleport" a few feet ahead of you so long as your stamina bar isn't depleted. Hence your name, Mr. Shifty.

Mr. Shifty Screenshot

Mr. Shifty can use this teleport ability to move through walls and physical barriers. You'll also need to use it to juke out enemies. Without this shifting ability, even the weakest of enemies would be more powerful than you: you can only take one hit before dying. Upon dying, Mr. Shifty will need to restart the current room. This style of respawn seems to work out very well. Because Mr. Shifty is so vulnerable, you'll likely need a few different attempts for each room in later levels. This rewspawn system makes the game challenging but forgivable.

Although there isn't a huge variety in the types of enemies you'll be facing, more challenging baddies will spawn as you progress towards later levels. Although Mr. Shifty will never gain any extra abilities, which could have been a cool addition, stronger melee weapons will be available as the enemies get tougher. Every melee weapon will take out any enemy with one hit, but some will last longer than others. My favorite is easily a broom: it's incredibly satisfying to take out a bunch of bazooka bearing baddies with a single sweep. Weapons can also be thrown, adding some options for ranged combat. As a whole, combat options are great and defeating enemies is quite fun.

Mr. Shifty Screenshot

Although I was left feeling very satisfied with Mr. Shifty's gameplay, the story left something to be desired. It's not particularly awful, but it is entirely forgettable and reminescent of a cheesy and cliché 80s thriller. The plot doesn't distract from what makes the game enjoyable, but it adds very little to it. A few different fake final boss encounters also seem to stretch the game out a little longer than is needed. The final boss is also laughably easy: Mr. Stone is easier to defeat than nearly every one of his minions.

In terms of variety of gameplay and level design, the game does well for a while and then seems to hit a plateau. A few cool new level design mechanics are shown off in the final few stages, but not very many. You're mostly left to defeat a huge number of baddies in succession. The environments don't vary much from the corporate office setting, but the entire game taking place in the same tower might be to blame for that. None of these things are detrimental to the enjoyability of the game, but they do add up to be somewhat mediocre. The level design is sometimes clever and overall satisfactory, but doesn't leave much room for exploration or replability.

Mr. Shifty Screenshot

Aesthetically, I'm very pleased with Mr. Shifty's style. The visuals work well with the comic book style combat and story, and the 1080p resolution is nice. The graphics are simple and by no means life-like, but they do everything they need to do and look good. The music gets old fast when it is simply repeated for the duration of the game, but it's at least a decent rock theme. In terms of presentation, Mr. Shifty does fairly well.

In terms of performance, the game does not do well at all. The game has serious frame rate issues that are escalated later in the game as more enemies appear on screen at once. Gameplay slows to a crawl during action-packed sequences and on more than one occasion this directly resulted in death. Earlier levels run fairly smooth, and the framerate drops don't make the game unplayable, but the lack of optimization at this point seriously distracts from the expirience.

Even though the framerate got pretty bad later in the game, it is far from my biggest complaint with Mr. Shifty. Starting around level 13, the game would simply crash at any moment. It crashed a total of 5 or 6 times before I was finally able to finish the game. The game only saves after each level, so this meant that I would nearly finish a challenging level only to have the game crash and need to restart the entire level. My frustration with this actually caused this review to be delayed. I tried switching to undocked mode after the first five crashes, and that seemed to help significantly. However, the game still crashed during the final level while undocked, so it doesn't fix the problem altogether. I've heard reports of crashing from several other players, so my frustration is not isolated.

Mr. Shifty Screenshot

Mr. Shifty is honestly a pretty fun game, never at any point in my playthrough did I feel like I wasn't enjoying the gameplay. The plot and music were nothing to write home about, but they worked alright for this game. The visuals and control options were simple and worked very well, no complaint there. However, the framerate issues make the game significantly less enjoyable and the crashing issues make the game broken. If these are quickly patched, then I feel comfortable recommending Mr. Shifty on the Switch. Until then, you should probably pick it up for PC instead.


  • Gameplay is intense and a lot of fun
  • Difficulty is spot-on: challenging but forgiveable
  • Controls and visuals work great


  • Plot and music are only mediocre
  • Serious issues with framerate and crashing




Good games are simply that: good. They are generally fun to play but might be lacking in longevity, replay value, or presentation. These games might be good buying decisions for some people, but not for others. Some otherwise great games may fall into this category if they are priced unreasonably high. The devil is in the details.


Want to know what this score means? Check out our Scoring Guidelines page.

About the Author: Rial Johnson

Rial Johnson founded Nintendo Castle in 2011 with hopes to build the largest collection of Nintendo walkthroughs, guides, and content on the web. He is an avid gamer with a special place in his heart for Nintendo, but often finds himself writing about games more than actually playing them. You'll likely see him around Nintendo Castle and on social media, mostly managing the front-end content of the site.

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