Of course, making you all-powerful means the game sometimes has to take that away, and the introduction of anti-teleportation rooms means you're encouraged to camp on angles of a room, trying to punch the guys with guns and flamethrowers without being caught out yourself. These murderous puzzles are appreciated, but when the game slides entirely into being a puzzler, it often fails. Sometimes you'll be asked to dodge entire corridors full of lasers — like the scene in the first Resident Evil movie; you know the one
— or to solve other puzzles when what you really want to be doing is twatting guys upside the head.
One particular puzzle, embarrassingly having me stuck for 30 minutes, asked me to escape from a prison cell. Red-hot insta-kill lasers guarded the door, and an anti-teleportation field covered the whole cell, locking me in place. In the room there was just a bed, desk, and toilet. I tried punching all of these. I stood still for a while wondering if it was a plot beat. Then, I punched the wall 40 times, which, spectacularly, was the answer to the problem the whole time.
These puzzles often lead to dying cheaply or breaking up the flow of the combat, but if you can look past them, it's worth finishing the entirety of Mr Shifty. It only took me a few hours, and each level introduced a fun new mechanic, whether that was the aforementioned trident, or the level introducing you to proximity mines. This was my favourite part of the game, realising that you could trigger a proximity mine by picking it up, then teleporting through a wall and tossing the mine onto a wall or enemy as it ticked down to an explosion.
Mr Shifty is short and sweet, and you wouldn't want it any other way. The comparisons to Hotline Miami aren't going to go away any time soon, but Mr Shifty dares to be different and creates an exciting action game that's at its best when you're teleporting around a room bringing the hurt but suffers slightly when it asks you to engage your brain rather than your twitch-teleporting punch skills. Stick with it, though, because each level brings new and fun challenges to the table, which only occasionally outstay their welcome.
There are flaws, but Mr Shifty exemplifies what I enjoy most about indie games: a strong central idea that's being experimented with on the fly, over the course of the game. Give it a go; it's quite the treat.