It seems like I’ve gotten back into the world of platform games lately. This also means that my demands for good platform games seem to be getting higher and higher. I think it is very important that games in this genre are a good challenge. How lucky I am that this week I got to work with Cyber Shadow, a game made by only one person: Aarne Hunziker. This dear man has put his heart and soul into it for years, but has it all been worth it?
The good old days
Cyber Shadow is a game that can bring you back to simpler times with its good 8-bit presentation. It’s an action platformer that takes some good ideas here and there from other great games of the time. Think of Ninja Gaiden, Megaman, and Castlevania. The combination of these three games, mixed with a good own style and extremely difficult levels, make Cyber Shadow quite a chore.
A world full of doom and destruction
In Cyber Shadow you play Shadow. He wakes up from a cryo station and must rescue his fallen clan. The world has been taken over by synthetic life forms that are stealing the life force of people and sweetly wiping it out from all of society. It appears that you are one of the few survivors of the clan and the fate of the world rests in your hands.
The story is told through animated cutscenes and in-game images, as we used to be used to. Cyber Shadow knows how to convey the story in a very good way: the films are often short-lived and ensure that you never lose sight of the action. Still, I have to admit that the story fascinated me the least about the game. It was made up fine but not something I have never heard before.
Very challenging platform action.
Fortunately, the story is not what Cyber Shadow is supposed to have. The game offers perfect controls and great platform levels where survival is number one. The levels are drenched with enemies who are all trying to take you down. Combine this with abysses and spines and your vocabulary with swear words will automatically grow bigger than you thought. Because Cyber Shadow becomes so difficult. In the beginning, it offers about the same challenge as, for example, Shovel Knight or the somewhat more difficult levels of a 2D Mario game, but towards the end, you can really compare it with Ninja Gaiden. One wrong move and you can start again at the checkpoint.
Let me be very honest about this: the game offers an enormous challenge. However, there comes a point when the game is a lot more difficult in one fell swoop. This is something the real die-hard enthusiast could enjoy, other gamers will tend to put down their controller at this point. I too have had moments when I was immensely annoyed when I was hit by a bullet or enemy for the thirtieth time and fell into the spines, only to start all over again.
Checkpoints and super powers
Fortunately, in Cyber Shadow, you have the option to buy some temporary upgrades at checkpoints. These upgrades are quite expensive and only available at this point. This way you can have an extra rifle fly around you or have your special points supplemented with every visit. You have to ask yourself at every checkpoint: Can I do this without upgrades, or not? You can also unlock several new powers in Cyber Shadow, such as throwing stars and bouncing bullets. When you unlock these powers, it often comes with even more challenge. For example, there are enemies who shoot so many bullets that you have to master the bounce of bullets. These forces ensure that the game has something extra to offer every time and that is why they are a big plus.
Cyber Shadow’s 8-bit style is great. The handmade sprites combined with modern additions and fluid graphics ensure that the game always feels perfect. The music of Cyber Shadow is also really great, the up-beat chiptune tunes sound perfect to your ears and before you know it you will be humming along. I enjoyed the great soundtrack from start to finish; it has been a while since I enjoyed the music from these style games so much.
All in all, I can say that Cyber Shadow has been well worth it. The game has been challenging from the start and this is only getting worse. I can imagine that if you were looking for a platform game of medium challenge, you would pass it by. However, if you are looking for a difficult platform game with a cool old-fashioned graphic style, Cyber Shadow is the game to get!
- + Very challenging
- + The game continues to surprise you with new powers
- + Great chiptune music
- – Story wasn’t special
- – Steep increase in difficulty