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The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mr. Shifty is a downloadable action-arcade game. Players take on the role of a thief with the power of teleportation, fighting their way through floors filled with armed guards. Violence in the game is nonstop, with players beating guards with barehanded attacks and improvised melee weapons. While there's no blood or gore, there are plenty of explosions and bullets flying around the screen at any given time. The game is relatively simple to pick up and play, reminiscent of old-school arcade action games. While there's not much in the way of a deep story, on-screen text dialogue does occasionally include light profanity.
What's it about?
In MR. SHIFTY, players step into the ball cap and trench coat of a mysterious thief gifted with the power of teleportation. Using his unique skills, Mr. Shifty is sent out to steal a cache of "mega plutonium" from the heavily secured tower fortress of a notorious crime lord. Players will have to dodge through bullets, rockets, and more, taking down a skyscraper full of heavily armed guards and devious booby traps to make their way to the highly valued and dangerous prize. With some fast-paced fisticuffs, massive destruction, and just the right amount of cunning, Mr. Shifty might just live long enough to pull off the greatest heist in history … and maybe save the world in the process.
Is it any good?
This nonstop action heist caper is lots of fun, so long as you're not bothered by repetitive action and challenging gameplay. Your job is to sneak into a highly secured building filled with armed guards and lethal traps, and you don't use guns but you're expected to get out alive. At least you can teleport, right? Try not to overthink the plot here, because the writers certainly didn't. You're sort of just tossed right into the chaos, working your way through a few basic tutorials. Eventually, you pick up bits and pieces of how you got there and what you're doing, but honestly, if you're expecting any sort of character-driven plot or deep narrative, you won't find it here. Instead, you just have to accept that your goal is to beat things up and not get shot. Once you can accept that, what you're left with is an arcade beat-'em-up that's insanely addictive, at least in small chunks. In longer doses, though, the game's repetition can start to wear.
What Mr. Shifty lacks in substance, it more than makes up for in style. Bouncing around rooms and through walls is a fun twist on an old formula and a necessity for staying alive. It's not just about dodging bullets. There's some real strategy involved, especially later in the game, when your best option is to bait the guards into shooting into each other by teleporting at the last minute. But with so much happening on the screen, it can be a little difficult to get time to think. It doesn't help that Mr. Shifty is a literal one-hit wonder, meaning if he takes one hit, he's dead. While you can restart immediately after getting killed, sometimes it can get a little frustrating to fight through a horde of enemies, only to get killed at the last minute and have to go through the whole floor again. And being forced to replay certain moments is tiresome. Still, Mr. Shifty is the video game equivalent of a popcorn movie. It's light on drama, heavy on destruction, and at its best when you don't overthink it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. How does the stylized look of a game like Mr. Shifty, with its animation and lack of blood, affect the impact of the on-screen violence on kids?
Talk about what traits define a hero in media. In what ways do games, movies, and so on portray certain characters with traits we might normally consider "bad" as actually being heroic in nature? Is there a quality of redemption, and what is the appeal of the idea of an antihero?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.