[PlayStation 4] Cyber Shadow Review
Cyber Shadow from Yacht Club Games and Mechanical Head Studios is an excellent pixeltastic 2D action game on PS4. Check our Cyber Shadow review!
Yacht Club Games is a name we all know and love. The company got its start when former WayForward Director Sean Velasco set out to do his own thing, which is how we end up with a Kickstarter campaign for that game with the blue knight that carries around a particular utensil used for digging. Yes, that one. This time around, Yacht Club Games is acting as publisher for Cyber Shadow, a 2D action platformer – developed by Mechanical Head Studios – with an old-school feel that will bring you back to the era of the Nintendo Entertainment System, with the refinements one would expect from a game released in the 21st century.
The evil Dr. Progen has gone mad, and he’s sent his synthetic army to wreak havoc. A once-mighty ninja clan has been completely eradicated by them… well, almost. Shadow is still out there. He’s the last survivor of the clan and will be helped by robotic companion L-Gion. You’ll have to explore the ruins of Mekacity as you try to obtain a variety of skills that will bring you closer to finding out what the Shadow’s last mission is really all about.
Cyber Shadow is an old-school infused game with a pixeltastic art style and solid gameplay mechanics that pay homage to the classics of the NES era, such as Ninja Gaiden, Shadow of the Ninja, Strider, Mega Man, Castlevania, and any other NES 2D action platformer you can think of. While Cyber Shadow is certainly NES hard, the good news is that there is no lives system. On top of this, the game features a checkpoint system so that every time you die, you’ll quickly respawn at the last checkpoint, ready to carry on with your quest.
You’ll move your cyber ninja with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, jumping with the X button and attacking with the Square button. If you want to sprint, you can either double-tap left or right or press and hold down the R1 button. You can check your inventory with the Options button to see what powers you’ve obtained and how many health power-ups you’ve collected. Once you start to obtain new powers, you’ll be able to use the first one in classic NES-style by pressing up on the left analog stick or the D-Pad and the attack button. To balance things out, using powers will consume spirit points – SP for short.
The first one you’ll obtain is a fast and deadly shuriken, which you can use to attack enemies from a safe distance. After this, you’ll get one that is activated by pressing down on the left analog stick or the D-Pad and the attack button, making your cyber ninja attack on an upwards arc while also unleashing some deadly fireballs. If you run out of SP, you’ll still be able to use the upwards slash, sans fireballs. What comes after this? A downward slash! This one can also be used without SP and can even be used to bounce on top of enemies or lanterns to clear some gaps, but if you have some SP left, the downward attack will also release some extra energy to damage enemies.
You should always pay attention to any damaged walls you find so that you can use your sword to destroy them to reach new paths. These will usually contain challenging platforming segments or deadly enemies to defeat, but they will also reward you for your efforts with, say, an item that will boost your total SP so that you can use your unlocked abilities more often. Once you unlock the wall slide, which will allow you to slide down walls, you’ll also be able to wall jump, which will open up many new areas in the previous chapters.
As you defeat enemies and destroy chests, you’ll be able to collect essence. This can be used to activate service pods that will allow you to spend essence to recover your lost SP, to recover your lost health, or to, say, synthesize an item that will extend the reach of your blade as long as you’re not hit one too many times. These items that you can synthesize can also be found inside of lanterns, but being able to buy them at service pods – which also serve as checkpoints that recover all lost health – is a great way to, say, be properly equipped when you’re about to face a deadly boss.
There’s the option of revisiting previous chapters, which will sometimes prove to be useful for using some of the new powers you’ve unlocked to open up new paths that you previously could not explore. You’ll be able to see how much you’re missing in each of the game’s chapters by checking the percentage displayed on the bottom of the screen. Replaying previous chapters will also be a good way of completing some of the extra objectives that the game has to offer in order to boost its replay value.
The game features a Feats system with many extra objectives to complete. As expected, on PlayStation 4, that means that the list of Feats is tied to the trophies you can unlock. On top of this, Cyber Shadow features a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy to add to your collection! Given the old-school NES vibes for this game, the trophy list is not going to be an easy one to complete. Sure, there are trophies that will pop when you collect each of the extra abilities for your cyber ninja, but then there are trophies that ask that you defeat a boss without taking any damage, beat another boss without falling into the water – which is harder than it sounds -, or that you defeat a boss with nothing but parry attacks. Oh, and there’s a trophy that asks you to speedrun the game so that you can aim to complete it in less than three hours.
Cyber Shadow is exactly what I needed on PlayStation 4. It’s a love letter to the NES era, featuring a pixeltastic art style, an excellent soundtrack, and a challenge to match all of it. Death is going to be a big part of this adventure because everything you’ll run into is out to kill you. Trial and error can go a long way, as you learn each enemy’s movement and attack patterns so that you can act accordingly. The same goes for the bosses, which come in all shapes and sizes. Cyber Shadow is a must-play on PlayStation 4, and it’s out today for $19.99, and it’s worth every penny.
This Cyber Shadow is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Yacht Club Games.