Hot​​​​       line   Mi      ami: Mr Shifty out today

“Top-down puncher Hotline Miami had brutality and baseball bats, but you know what it didn’t have? Teleportation.”

↑ That is how I imagine most videogames are created. Just one man in a tie who is approached by developers like an oracle and who says: “do X but with Y.” Mr Shifty [official site] is about smashing through crowds of people while using a blink-like teleporting skill to dodge bullets and blows. It’s out today and, like its masked mate from the 80s, it’s all viewed from above. It looks hectic, but you can see that for yourself in the trailer below.

As the cap-wearing hero you’re setting off to break into “the world’s most secure facility”. As you can see, you’ll mostly be punching people in the head, but on top of your ability to warp around there’s also a slow motion effect when you dodge bullets with precision. Meanwhile your foes will have the advantage of guns, numbers and explosive do-hickeys. I think this GIF of Shifty blinking through walls multiple times best demonstrates the idea.

I never made it through all of Hotline Miami or any of the second. It was too hard and made me feel weak and lonely. It’s possible the developers at Team Shifty have made something slightly more forgiving than Dennaton’s murderfest. I imagine superpowers come in handy when you’re about to be machine-gunned.

It’s out today and is £10.99/$14.99 on Steam.


  1. stringerdell says:

    Reading this article down to that gif is the quickest Ive gone from ‘never heard of it’ to opening steam and buying something.

  2. rgk says:

    Definitely not more forgiving, especially in the later levels. Teleportation yes, firearms no.

  3. Beefsurgeon says:

    It’s kinda gross to have your trailer open with a proclamation of superiority over the game you’ve ripped off, right?

    • Seafoam says:

      Reeks of late 90’s Sega vs Nintendo vs Crash bandicoot commercials.
      But hey, who cares about creative integrity as long as it’s a new vidja gaym right?

    • GeoX says:

      Does “more empowering” necessarily mean “better?” Besides, it’s just a pullquote.

      • stringerdell says:

        it doesn’t at all, and ‘vidja gaym’ is the most obnoxious thing Ive read in a while

    • Scandalon says:

      If it were 1: Actually saying that and 2: Saying it in an obnoxious, “we’re awesome, they suck” way, then perhaps yes.

      However, neither of those are true, and I’m baffled how you read it as such. Cultural connotation/baggage of the word “empowered” aside, it (looks to be) an accurate description, possibly on two levels. It’s like Hotline Miami, and you have more powers.

      That’s (quoting someone else describing the game) saying “Hey, did you like H.M.? You’ll probably like this, they’ve tweaked the formula.” Besides, H.M “ripped off” Alien Breed Gauntlet.

    • April March says:

      I don’t think it is gross for them to say that a major publication considers them better than the most well-known game in their genre (Hotline Miami didn’t invent top-down view punching, you know).

      I do think it was gross of Gamespot to say that in the first place. It’s like praising a movie by saying it’s like Schindler’s List without the tragedy.

  4. qeloqoo says:

    I’d rather wait for Ruiner..

  5. Kinsky says:

    The Hotline Miami games were really a lot more than just top-down punchers. This game isn’t. It’s kind of sad to see them compared so directly.

  6. Hypocee says:

    I’d seen a couple of preview LPs of this, and unmentioned here is its sense of humour, which really clicks with me. While Hotline Miami certainly had some slapstick mixed in its sinister, this is embedded in plot and banter exchanges between Mr. Shifty and a voice-in-the-ear handler. That plot in turn is a high-energy callback to the ridiculousness of stuff like Bad Dudes or Final Fight. The bits I saw had you chasing the obvious MacGuffin of, IIRC, some AIDS Plutonium that the bad guy had stolen. It’s presented as quite possible that that’s simply a lie by the handler, and Shifty himself is an obvious monster.

    The second layer is in one-off contextual actions and HUD notations. The major early example is a mook standing on the other side of a door. Walk up to the door and you’re prompted ‘press X to knock’. Press X and Shifty instead kicks the door off its hinges, blasting the dude out a skyscraper window. The game’s forced you to be a badasshole. A simple joke, but a joke. A paced structure with a setup and a punchline (involving, more or less, punching).

    Both those aspects are admittedly oh-so-Meta, oh-so-Ironic. All I can say is that I’m not generally drawn to that kind of stuff but I laughed at it here. I think it’s a question of execution and this game’s devs appear to have put in the graft on tuning their stuff rather than using their tone as an escape clause.

    • rgk says:

      Mr. Shifty does not talk.

      • Hypocee says:

        Haha, d’oh, yeah that’s sort of a whole thing isn’t it. I watched/listened to a couple videos weeks ago, marked the game as one to watch, and promptly discarded a lot of details. I remembered in writing that all the good lines seemed to come from voice-in-the-ear lady, but I didn’t recall that one of the jokes is the reason for that.