Studio Desura Online Games has devoted many years to Shovel Knight and all sorts of add-ons for its masterpiece platformer, and at some point decided to try himself in publishing. First she helped the creators of Azure Striker Revolt side-scrollers distribute physical copies, and then turned her attention to Cyber Shadow , the creation of a lone developer, whom he had been doing for more than three years. I wanted to believe that the team had a good taste, and Yacht Club really made the right choice - the year began with a bright release that I would like to recommend to everyone.
From the side of Cyber Shadow, it seems very similar to The Messenger : eight-bit graphics, the main role is also a ninja, you need to run from side to side, swinging a katana, and so on. The creator of the novelty assures that he has not yet played The Messenger , and in any case he has been developing for a long time. It's just that a love for Ninja Gaiden began to flare up among independent creators . Ultimately, we only benefit from this.
Unlike The Messenger, Cyber Shadow emulates NES games a little more diligently, including Shadow of the Ninja , Batmanand other classics. It resembles a game lost a long time ago for an ancient console, which was ported to more current platforms, and this is the best characteristic for a project in the spirit of retro. Something like the NES, of course, would hardly be able to launch: both the number of effects is sometimes great, and the animations are smoother. But on the whole, the style is excellently designed - in the settings they even suggest turning on the CRT filter.
The novelty is also played great: the controls are convenient, the gameplay is varied, and even the plot is intriguing. In the role of a half-cyborg, half-human named Shadow, we wake up in an incubation chamber and gradually learn the details of what happened and details about this universe. Robot L-Gion reports an explosion in the city of Meka City, the head of the region has disappeared and needs help, a certain doctor Progen has captured the clan members and feeds on their essence, and the hero himself has almost no vitality left.
With each dialogue, it becomes more and more interesting what will happen next, and you try not to miss the notes left on the corpses, as well as terminals with bits of information. There are both regular conversations of characters and "videos" with static pictures in the spirit of games from the NES, and all this is so successfully intertwined with the gameplay thatCyber Shadow wants to pass excitedly. There are unexpected twists and turns, and traditional science fiction topics like the safety of androids inhabiting humans.
The author did not come up with new ideas and mix genres - Cyber Shadow is a platformer divided into ten continuous levels. The character explores locations, fights, sometimes meets with bosses and gets improvements for defeating them - first, these are shurikens and techniques using a katana, and then bounces off walls and dashes. If at first you just jump back and forth and cut helpless enemies with a sword, then by the middle you have to run away from dangers, throw shurikens on the fly and press the gamepad buttons much more actively.
The difficulty does not decrease - on the contrary, the further you go, the more often you will die. These are far from classic Ninja Gaiden, but also not an easy walk - in some situations the game forces you to use all the learned skills, otherwise it will become much more difficult to pass it. Opponents shooting from different sides, shooting down drones from tiny platforms, instantly killing spikes when they fall on them - the main character will have to face this and many others (fortunately, not in every episode).
At the same time, questions about the design of locations rarely arise. Yes, there are a couple of stupid things that should be cut or changed, but the checkpoints and instant respawns everywhere make Cyber Shadow noticeably easier than playing NES games. By the way, if necessary, in the settings, you can completely change the control even on consoles - running by double-clicking is not as convenient as with a clamped LT or RT. It's a pity that I thought of getting into this menu only after defeating the final boss.
Checkpoints, which not only save progress, but can also offer bonuses like health and energy regeneration, and special items, simplify the gameplay a bit. At first I was squeamish about unnecessary help, but in the second half of the game I gave up several times - too attractive temporary improvements are offered. A drone that shoots along with your blows; energy-replenishing robot; a shield protecting from projectiles - even several achievements are given for activating these items, so the developer is clearly not against their use. Sometimes such things can be found in chests or destructible walls, but it should be remembered that when receiving damage, they lose health and after a couple of missed projectiles disappear.
Apart from a couple of not very successful episodes, I only want to praise the game. Fights with bosses are fascinating, although you kill them most often the first or second time (except for the final one - get ready to suffer there). Opponents are diverse enough that you have to often change tactics: throw some shurikens, while others parry shells. The locations have secret rooms where health and energy improvements are hidden, and sometimes funny Easter eggs just come across.
The soundtrack is especially impressive - we have heard so much of this kind of music in retro games, but it is still capable of surprising. Composer Enrique Martin(Enrique Martin) was so imbued with the universe of the game that he did not just compose tracks for specific levels, but wrote music suitable for the project as a whole - and already based on these compositions, the developer created some episodes. It turned out to be a wonderful symbiosis of soundtrack and gameplay - at every level you think that it won't be better, but Martin's aces are not over.
Above all, in addition to the soundtrack alone worked Aarne Hunziker (Aarne Hunziker) - Finnish developer, had a hand in several projects the studio Frozenbyte. Although it is not uncommon for independent creators to create something without outside help (just recently, Pumpkin Jack , made by one person), the amount of work done in such projects is still amazing. In Cyber Shadow, you almost never have to visit old locations, there are many perfectly implemented ideas, and the passage takes about six hours.
After the ending, new modes or additional entertainment are not unlocked, but what is there is enough. Those who want to improve the "achievements" can try to complete the game in three hours, and also ignore all the improvements - it will be difficult, but doable. However, even if you are not a fan of such restrictions, the usual passage of Cyber Shadow will give so many positive emotions that you will not have to regret buying. This is a game for the NES "at maximum speed" - with a long duration, an intriguing story, great music and sometimes difficult, but addicting gameplay.
Pros: great retro styling, which the game adheres to until the very end; intriguing plot; varied gameplay, regularly throwing up new challenges and surprises; not low, but also not prohibitively high complexity; great soundtrack.
Cons: A couple of bad moments will make you swear (but will not spoil the overall impression).
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