First Impressions: Cyber Shadow
It’s finally here. The game I’ve been waiting for all of 2021 so far; yes I know it’s only been a month. No, I do not care. Because As of Monday night last night (thanks for the early release, Game Pass), I finally got to get my hands on CyberShadow, a game I’ve been waiting for for a while now. It was developed by solo developer Aarne Hunziker and published by Yacht Club Games (The very same ones that gave us the equally rad Shovel Knight a few years ago). It very much reminds me of the Messenger from 2018 in that both are old-school-style homages to the NES era Ninja Gaiden games. It’s just that the difference is that the answers they both come to are radically different. While the former goes more for a more distinct recreation in the first half before changing genres completely, the latter pulls a Shovel Knight and goes with a “Nostalgia as you remember” approach to its homage.
The game’s story is that you wake up in a lab and discover that your clan has been hunted by the evil scientist Dr. Progen and his army of synthetic humanoids and it’s your job to get revenge and stop the good (or bad) doctor from eventually wiping out the world. The narrative, while not completely superfluous, serves mainly as a means of contextualizing the levels and actions that you go on over the course of the game. It’s played completely straight, but there’s an endearing sincerity to it that I can’t help but respect.
The main gameplay consists of running through each chapter, jumping, and slashing your way through various hazards and enemies. I’m only three chapters in at the time of writing because I fucking suck at this game. And I love it. So much. I haven’t played a game that makes me feel like this in a while and liked it since…I think Mega Man X? And if I’m mentioning a game in the same breath as my favorite game of all time, it has to be doing something right. The levels seem to be taking the iterative approach to them because they are incorporating the new abilities you get as you go through the game for both backtracking and presenting new challenges and I love that shit so fucking much. It makes me want to go back and play more, which I will, to see what new shit I can discover.
I will admit that if there’s at least one gripe that I have with the game so far is that there aren’t enough options for adjusting the game’s photosensitivity. It’s not an issue for me personally, it’s just that a major accessibility feature like that being missing from a game in 2021 just seems a bit odd. But yeah, that’s Cyber Shadow as a first impression so far. This has a lot of promise to be one of my favorite games that comes out this year. If you got a Game Pass, give it a look.