Cyber Shadow: Is It Good? A Blast From The Ninja Past
Cyber Shadow: Is It Good? A Blast From The Ninja Past

Cyber ​​Shadow is a trip back in time, in which we go back to the late 80s when ninjas starred in challenging 2D action and platform games.

Few genres have as much '80s flavour as ninja games. The list of action arcades starring these shadow warriors is endless, led by Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden trilogy, and followed by other legends such as Shinobi or Ninja Spirit. The ninja genre was so exploited that they even had futuristic versions, like Blue Shadow or Cyber ​​Shinobi. And it is precisely in this subgenre that Cyber ​​Shadow, a game developed by Mechanical Head and Yacht Club Games, the creators of Shovel Knight, embarks. And as in that one, it is a tribute to 8-bit games.

Why Is Cyber Shadow A Flash To The Past?

I want to emphasize how much of Cyber ​​Shadow is a tribute because at first glance some images could give the impression that they have come directly from an NES cartridge, but do not be fooled.

As soon as I went a little further, it became clear that the game is far superior to what those machines gave of themselves, due to the fluidity, the colour palette, the size and detail of the sprites... even the soundtrack. Cyber ​​Shadow is an anachronism; it's the 8-bit game that could have been made on a much more powerful machine ... and I love it.

A Perfect Tribute to Classic Ninja Games

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In any case, many elements are preserved from those legendary games. Perhaps the first thing that strikes you is his argument. Shadow must traverse Mekacity, a massive steel metropolis guarded by killing machines. These robots are the result of an experiment by Doctor Progen, which has gone wrong.

Progen hunts down members of our ninja clan, who are custodians of an ancient secret, the Ethos (a temple found on the spiritual plane). In fact, it has wiped out all of our "brothers".

And it is time for revenge. How did a ninja get revenge in the 80s?

Well, through a 2D development that alternates platforms and combat. It is a linear advancement game (don't expect anything as complex as The Messenger in its final section), but its scenarios hide a good handful of secrets. Shadow, go through the scenarios crushing minions and facing a lot of bosses (two per level). But the most interesting thing is to see how he is learning new skills along with the bodies of other fallen ninjas. In the beginning, our range of movements is limited to the jump and the katana strike.

However, we do not show our full power until we have mastered the shuriken throw, the aerial slash, sliding down the wall ... techniques that will make things a little (very little) easier for us. Because Cyber ​​Shadow, like the classics, has enormous difficulty.

Classic Difficulty

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The game subjects us to constant trial and error as we reach the successive checkpoints, which are placed at the right point to be challenging without getting desperate. And at some points, it incorporates resources, such as the Souls shortcuts, which also give us a break.

It is a difficult game for different reasons; the precision it requires in the jump, the fact that some impacts move us and also change the direction we are looking in, the amount of area attacks that the enemies have compared to the range of our sword... but it is also true that allows us to "learn". Each time you come back, our gained skills allow us to get a little further. However, the best aids are the secondary weapons that you can buy at the control points that allows us to carry out attacks charged at a distance. They offer us a shield, a distance blade, or a katana with greater range, and at some points, they become essential to advance.

If the visual section, the development and the difficulty seem to have travelled in time directly since 1988, the design of the scenarios does not lag behind, as you go through levels that sound like other games, such as sewers, flooded caves, races around the city, landfills. Players with good memories are sure to come across locations and enemies that remind them of Metroid or Probotector (the "robotized" version of Contra). And it is also the case with some of the final enemies, who will make us shed a tear, but more for its difficulty than for nostalgia.

As a novelty, you can also visit some cybernetic locations, in which the colour palette changes, with a futuristic style, which seems to come out of Tron.

The Essence Of The Genre

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The game can be finished in less than 5 hours (actually one of the achievements is to do it in less than 3 hours if you can) but it proposes a series of feats that will force us to replay the game. Cyber ​​Shadow offers exactly what you imagine. Coming from Mechanical Head and Yacht Club Games, the latter already has shown us that we should trust them when they resurrect the classic genres) and with it being a ninja game, like the classics we mentioned before, Cyber Shadow has shown me that a perfect heir to the Ninja Gaiden.

It's just as difficult, just as fun, just as "eighties", and one of the "indies" that I liked the most at the start of 2021!

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