Great, Beyond A Shadow Of Doubt
HIGH Great graphics, great controls, fantastic bosses.
LOW A few platforming sections require a little too much precision.
WTF Wait, how long have I been able to swing my sword upward!?
Cyber Shadow first caught my eye a couple years ago when I stumbled upon some screenshots posted by developer Aarne “MekaSkull” Hunziker. I’ve enjoyed following the game’s progress and eagerly awaiting its release since then, and happily, it was worth the wait.
After a catastrophic event, the world has been taken over by synthetic lifeforms. Cyber Shadow follows the exploits of an android ninja, Shadow, as it makes its way across a variety of post-apocalyptic landscapes in search of answers to what went wrong. There is plenty of story and lore told through various cutscenes and interactions with computer terminals scattered throughout the levels.
The world of Cyber Shadow is heavily influenced by 8-bit legends of gaming like Ninja Gaiden, Shadow of the Ninja, and Batman – it’s clearly evident in the presentation, and it would be right at home on the NES. Every nook and cranny is stuffed with retro goodness and simple color palettes arranged to create stunning landscapes and detailed characters.
The challenge is reminiscent of many NES games as well, as Cyber Shadow is anything but a walk in the park. Players will need to traverse screens filled with robotic foes, insta-kill spikes, acid pools, and numerous gigantic bosses. Defeating enemies is achieved by swiping a sword, throwing shuriken, or relying on a few special moves like an upward flame shot or electric ground pound. Thankfully, the controls are precise and fully customizable.
While Cyber Shadow can be tough as nails, it never feels impossible thanks to well-placed checkpoints that double as a lifebar recharging zones.
Players can also collect tokens from fallen enemies and breakable boxes to spend at each hub, allowing them to recharge their SP meter or get a temporary weapon upgrade. These tokens become scarce later in the game, but all tokens stack continuously. Even if the player dies, they’ll have accumulated enough currency to spend after a few attempts. It’s small, player-friendly details like this that help Cyber Shadow stand out.
I’m nitpicking to find complaints here but if I had to, it would be regarding a few platforming segments that require just a tad too much precision as things become more complicated with multiple enemies present. However, these small annoyances are overshadowed by everything else that goes well.
…And there is so much that goes well. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a retro-inspired title as much as I’ve enjoyed Cyber Shadow. It’s just that good, and players in the mood for this kind of content should consider it a must-buy.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Mechanical Head Studios and published by Yacht Club Games. It is currently available on XBO, PS4, Switch, and PC.This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch.Approximately 12 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E 10+ and contains Mild Blood, Fantasy Violence. Most in-game violence results in enemies falling over or bursting in a poof of 8-bit dust when defeated. The cutscenes are big and bold, which is where most of the mild blood will be found. Cutscene images are similar to what one might find in a superhero comic book.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles and the entire story is told solely through text. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized. There are no noticeable audio cues within the gameplay. This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.
When he does find time to play, Brian’s preferred games of choice are platformers, beat-‘em-ups, or a good adventure game.He still enjoys the retro gaming scene, could talk about the Nintendo 64 more than he might like to admit, and misses playing in actual arcades. Brian also gets to pass on his love of gaming, as his oldest son is just now starting to join the fun.
As for that GameBoy - it’s sitting in Brian’s nightstand, waiting patiently for four AA batteries.