Cyber Shadow Review

Joey Crossney

Cyber Shadow is a game that, despite its name, shouldn’t be in the shadows, as it is far more in-depth than one may expect. It will test your patience and skill, but in the end, it is a journey worth taking. 

Created by developer Mechanical Head Studios, published by Yacht Club Games, and released on January 26 2021, Cyber Shadow follows the story of a cyborg ninja named Shadow who is trying to free his fellow clan members who are being harvested by synthetic lifeforms. The main villain, Dr. Progen, is the leader of the synthetic lifeforms. Players travel across Meka City, a city that looks post-apocalyptic, due to Dr. Progen’s attacks. 

The game is a 2D eight-bit side-scrolling action platformer, which is similar to games such as Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man, Castlevania, Metroid, etc. Players control Shadow by running, jumping, and using various weapons like swords, and other special weapons to defeat the synthetic lifeforms. 

In each level/chapter, the player tries to reach the end and defeat the enemies and bosses in their way. The enemies in the players’ way come in many types: ones that attack from up close and others from afar. It gives lots of variety to the combat. While traveling through the levels, there are also platforming challenges, such as jumping over deep pits and avoiding natural hazards, and hidden collectibles, such as ones that increase player’s maximum health or HP and ones that increase the SP meter. The players unlock special weapons as they clear levels. Players can also replay levels later on to find collectibles they missed or couldn’t reach before.

The levels scale in difficulty well. Each one is more difficult than the last, and each new one takes advantage of all of the user’s weapons and upgrades. You can see Shadow’s improvement over time as he gets more powerful to eventually face Dr. Progen. For example, one upgrade the user gets is the ability to climb walls. This allows the player to scale walls previously inaccessible. This is one of many ways Cyber Shadow empowers the player.

Assisting players on their journey is L-Gion. He is a small robot who is part of Shadow’s clan. He gives the player tips and advice about where to go next. 

The game also has engaging music. The music is eight-bit style and encapsulates the dire situation players are in. It is emotional at times but also has head-bopping tracks. Each level has one or two additional remixes of the level’s music which gives variety, and each remix fits that part of the level.

Cyber Shadow’s visuals are very impressive as well. Despite the eight-bit visuals, it looks far better than most games from the time that inspired it (the mid-’80s to early ’90s). The visuals do an excellent job visualizing and contextualizing the post-apocalyptic Meka City as players explore it.

The game pushes players to their limits. While it is challenging, it rewards curiosity and effort and makes every triumph that much more impactful. There are checkpoints spread out throughout the levels as well. The catch, however, is that players have to spend a currency acquired from defeating enemies called essence to unlock these checkpoints. It makes the user pick and choose where to save if they don’t have enough essence.  They refill players’ HP and SP meters and they allow players to save their progress. Players can also purchase special items from certain checkpoints using essence. These are power-ups that help combat synthetic lifeforms. The game can be frustrating at times, but with practice and patience, it can be overcome.

The bosses in the levels are well designed but can cause anger as well. They all have patterns that can be learned through memorization and careful attention. They usually have much more health than the player does; however, your HP and SP are usually refilled by a checkpoint beforehand. Their attacks can be very aggressive, but players usually can find a good opportunity to score many hits on them, too. They also test players’ reflexes with their fast movements and attacks. Mastering the game’s movement is essential to victory.  

Cyber Shadow is a fun, but challenging, platformer. I recommend it to anyone seeking a challenge and a good time.  It will test your patience and skill, but it is worth it when you overcome those obstacles. It is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be looked over! 


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