Cyber Shadow Review (PS4)
Updated: Mar 20
Developer: Mechanic Head Games
Published: Yacht Club Games
Release Date: Jan 26th, 2021
*Key provided by publisher
''You're that ninja...''
Cyber Shadow is an action platforming ninja adventure that is developed by Mechanic Head Games and published by Yacht Club Games. In an age where retro style games are making their big comeback, Cyber Shadow comes in to capitalize on the fast paced ninja action that was prevalent back in the N.E.S. days with titles like Ninja Gaiden, Shinobi and Shadow Of The Ninja. But is this game as skilled and masterful as brother Gobei? or does it come up a little bit short and end up like a Haru, clumsy and means well, but just can't get the job done. Only one way to find out, so.. Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!
In a world that is in ruin and taken over by the evil doctor Progen and his army, it is now up to you, Shadow, the last surviving member of your clan, to put a stop to his evil plans and deter him from carrying out his plot to destroy and eliminate all living life forms. You're humanities last hope for survival. Can you succeed where your clan failed?
Right from the start people are going to immediately compare this game to titles such as Ninja Gaiden, but while yes those comparisons can be considered valid and do make sense, I however feel the title leans more so in the direction of games such as Shinobi and Shadow Of The Ninja on N.E.S. in the game play department. At the start of your journey you learn about Dr Progen's plan for world domination and find out the fate of your entire clan, they've all been eliminated and now you're the only one left standing as the last hope of humanity.
Pretty cliche story in the grand scheme of things, but really this genre doesn't need a big and expansive storyline to actually be entertaining because the full bread and butter lies within its game play. Playing as the character Shadow, you're joined by a robot companion named L-Gion who acts as your guide through your journey and helps you trudge your way through the ruins and destruction of Mekacity. I'm usually not a fan of guide characters in video games because the majority of the time they're either really annoying or overall pretty useless, but here in Cyber Shadow it's actually fairly tolerable, unlike some characters from games like Legend Of Zelda OOT and Skyward Sword. You guys know who I'm talking about.
I've seen people tend to categorize this title in the metroidvania category, but I don't know if I'll quite agree with that opinion because I feel it leans more towards the level design that you see with titles like Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers on NES. The same level structure that has you go left to right and up and down to complete your objective rather than multiple expanding areas that go on for hours. As you journey through multiple environments, such as skyscrapers, ruined cities, factories, coastlines, you'll notice each individual level is distinct from one another and every stage has its own life breathed into it. No area feels half assed and everything in each environment serves an overall purpose to your objective.
But of course, with this being a action platformer, as well as a ninja game, you're going to get several skills and abilities to use at your disposal in order to save the world, that's a no brainer. These skills and abilities include weapons such as Shuriken, which allows you to get a strategic advantage by being able to throw them at a distance, should an enemy be giving you too much trouble up close and personal. You also come equipped with cross slashing, being able to wield fire and double jumping. However, not all abilities are going to be readily available to you right at the get go, that would be way too easy of a game if that happened. Instead, you're given items scattered throughout each level and are rewarded for advancing in the game or exploring to find secrets you missed. Upon discovering a secret or advancing in the game, you will get a new ability or attack to use, such as fire or wall jumping and many more. Not all abilities are winners, some feel less useful than others, so its imperative you take the ''trial and error'' approach to see just which attacks work against specific enemy types or what works best in certain environments.
I'm sure you're wondering the overall difficulty level though, I mean people ARE comparing this to Ninja Gaiden after all and those games are notoriously hard. Welp take off those diapers because you won't be soiling yourself playing this game because it's difficulty is no where near the level of Ninja Gaiden, let alone like Shinobi. That's not to say its exactly easy either, that's not true, but it actually can become quite challenging during boss battles that require specific weapons to be used or by memorizing enemy attack patterns and move sets that happen to repeat. The main reason and culprit of why this game isn't as hard as the previous titles I mentioned before is due to the inclusion of the check point system, that's right, you get check points so dying becomes just another thing, no real consequence. By having no real consequence for death, it allows players to die and immediately hop back into the action, continue playing and learning a level they may be stuck on.
I consider this both a positive and negative. I grew up on getting my ass kicked left and right in older games and came to the conclusion developers hated me and in turn I hated them too, so as I sat at my gaming set up, staring the games themselves and the devs directly in the eye, and I proclaimed ''Good ! Now we can fight as warriors! Hand to hand! It is the basis of all combat! Only a fool trusts his life to a weapon!'' ,or in my case a controller. But really, by getting completely wrecked, I was able to find satisfaction due to having to overcome something I thought was impossible for me based off my own skill level, but the more I played, the more honed I became with my play style. But with check point systems, that feeling gets taken away to an extent, however, on the flip side, it allows your game, as a developer, to be more accessible to new and older players so the action stays fast paced and feels more like an adventure, rather than a chore. This is where it can be seen as a total win and positive.
Beating this game can take you a good 6 -7 hours depending on how many times you die versus the dozens of bosses you encounter or the plethora of level hazards that you come across that will surely give you trouble. If you choose the completionist route, then this is where you'll take advantage of the check point system we just mentioned and terminal system. Using the check point system and terminal system, you'll be able to go back to specific areas of the game and find secrets and abilities that you previously missed the last time you played through this game. The more you search and play, the stronger your character will become and the easier bosses will be to defeat that you may be struggling with. This game is actually one of the more satisfying and rewarding experiences in this department because you always feel like every action you take, has a purpose and has an end game.
When its all said and done, Cyber Shadow offers fans of the ninja platforming genre one hell of a good time. From its fast and frantic platforming around dangerous and hazardous areas, the strategic boss battles that make you think before acting, to its emphasis on exploring in order to get the most of your experience and straight down its amazing soundtrack, Cyber Shadow is one of those must have games if you're a fan of platformers or good ol ninja fun. So what are you waiting for? Ninja vanish that money from your wallet, because GameNChick says BUY NOW.