Cyber Shadow is a title that will have the retro game enthusiasts excited. The 2D platformer from Mechanical Head Studios is a unique take on the retro style platformers that have proven to be so popular over the years, with Cyber Shadow allowing players to assume control of a side-scrolling Ninja that’s clearly been created by a team of developers with Ninja Gaiden in mind.
Just as you would expect from the Ninja Gaiden series, Cyber Shadow is an incredibly fun game to play. It does a great job of enticing players with its upgrading style of play, making each experience different from the last. The diversity, level, and boss fight design is definitely commendable.
The game roughly lasts for around 7-8 hours until completion, but from start to finish, it becomes more action-packed and compelling as the game goes on. It may only be a short game, but it packs one hell of a retro-style punch.
The story places you in control of a Ninja (Shadow) who wakes up after a long period of time in an incubation pod, only to find the city you once inhabited has been overrun and largely destroyed by killer robots. Retro-style cutscenes and in-game dialogue boxes help to build the story, also helping to maintain its inspired 8-bit feel.
The story itself isn’t really anything compelling – it does manage to keep its retro feel throughout, but I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters. If you’re looking to play something nostalgic, without actually ever having played Cyber Shadow, this is the experience you’re looking for.
While the story of Cyber Shadow doesn’t really progress, or build on any kind of character-player connection, the gameplay does improve with time, and more than makes up for what the plot is lacking.
Shadow can only jump and use his sword to slash in horizontal movements at the start of the game. Although the movement is initially restricted, enemies look to take you on from all sides, which makes it slightly harder as you can only strike the enemies that are directly in front of you.
Despite the limiting gameplay initially, as you progress further into the game you unlock new power-ups, such as swag blade, which allows you to take out enemies from a distance or those just out of reach.
To match the games’ challenging gameplay, there are also welcomed respawn points. These checkpoints can also be upgraded when you spend an in-game currency called essence. These checkpoints can be quite far apart, however, so they don’t take anything from the challenging aspect of the game. Upgrades include returning your character to full health, or giving your player certain power-ups after respawning.
If you’re into the 8-bit sidescrollers and the catchy retro style of music that usually comes as part of the package, Cyber Shadow is definitely a game you should play if you get the chance.