[PlayStation 5] Cyber Shadow Review

by the_nmac

Jump, slash, and shuriken your way through Mekacity as a one-man ninja army to save the city before it is completely destroyed. Check out our Cyber Shadow review!

The world has been taken over by synthetic lifeforms. A desperate plea for help sets Shadow on a journey to uncover what started the path to perpetual ruin. Slash through the techno hordes, leap past traps, and nimbly navigate the ruins of Mekacity. Only you can unlock the secrets to your clan’s ancient powers in Cyber Shadow, the quintessential Ninja Action game.


– Dash, slice, and leap through masterfully designed levels filled with sharply honed ninja platforming action.

– Authentic 8-bit presentation with hand-crafted sprites, a detailed pixel aesthetic, and perfect controls. Modern touches like fluid animation, multi-layered parallax backgrounds, and evolved game design.

– Take down more than a dozen apocalyptic bosses, from enormous war machines to your synthetic clan rivals.

– Relive the authenticity of classic 8-bit challenge or experience it for the first time.. with an added convenience or two.

– Rescue your clan to unlock permanent Ninjutsu skills and abilities, combining them seamlessly as only the warrior of legend could.

– Search for secrets as you explore the ruined world. Return to your old haunts to find supplies, items and upgrades.

– Experience the gripping story, told both in-game and through animated cinematic story scenes between the action. Who can be trusted? How far will Shadow go to protect his clan and the one he loves?

– Pulse-pounding soundtrack by Enrique Martin, produced by Jake Kaufman.

Cyber Shadow is being published by Yacht Club Games, the company we all know for Shovel Knight. This new game has been mostly created by one person: Aarne Hunziker, a.k.a. Mechanical Head Games. Anything Yacht Club Games are involved with, I will be instantly interested in thanks to how much I enjoy Shovel Knight and the goodwill the studio gets for the huge number of free expansions for it. Shovel Knight wore the influences of Mega Man, Ducktales, and Super Mario Bros. on its sleeve. Cyber Shadow definitely invokes more of a feeling from the original Ninja Gaiden series with some modern sensibilities.

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Cyber Shadow has you awaken from a deep sleep as a lone ninja who survives an attack on his clan and city. You’re brought back by a robot who fills you in on what is going on and why you have to set things right. From there, your journey through Mekacity begins. You start underpowered, only being able to do single jumps and slash your sword at enemies. This helps you get a feel for the flow of the combat, and since you won’t have much health at the start, so mastering how to avoid enemy attacks will prove to be a must.

I did miss playing the original Ninja Gaiden series on the NES since my parents got me games that were more in the nature of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, but I am familiar with its legendary difficulty. While I don’t think Cyber Shadow is as difficult as that, thanks to some modern quality of life improvements that have been added, it still is quite hard. You will have checkpoint stations in each level you explore,m and they will refill your health and save your progress. Depending on the type of station you find, you can pay to fill your health and SP or add a secondary attack for a short period of time – as long as you’re not damaged three times. That does not mean you’re not going to end up dying a lot during your time with Cyber Shadow as you repeat the same section over and over again for several minutes as you try to get a feel for what you need to do.

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Also, Cyber Shadow remembers when you collect or activate something because even if you die after you’ve collected a permanent power-up when you respawn at a checkpoint, you won’t have to collect it again. This also applies to mini-bosses or bosses you defeat, so you won’t have to fight them again if you die before reaching the next checkpoint. Early in the game, after defeating a mini-boss, a huge laser activates, destroying some barriers I couldn’t get through before. Unfortunately, I was standing at the wrong place at the wrong time, and the laser killed me. The good news is that I didn’t have to repeat the whole sequence since the game remembered what I had accomplished, so I was able to continue with my quest.

As you continue through exploring Mekacity, you will get some access to new abilities, including shurikens, flames you can launch upwards, a downward strike, wall jumping, parrying, dashing, and charging. These will open up Mekacity to you since these moves are needed to get to all of the nooks and crannies around the city. Instead of using the rest of the buttons on the DualSense controller on PlayStation 5, all actions are tied to the one attack button and the one jump button, giving it that old-school feel. These extra abilities are tied to your SP, so you won’t be able to activate them non-stop.

Cyber Shadow Review - 3

The game has some really great and really difficult bosses. I definitely was not able to beat them the first time I faced them, and while the challenge does increase during boss fights, none of them feel unfair. There were still some very difficult fights – looking at you, MekaDragon – that could have used some design changes or a different layout to the boss stage, but it’s not a deal-breaker. No two boss fights will ever feel the same, which is something that one must applaud of this indie release.

MekaCity is a spiraling behemoth of a town, but the good news is there are some terminals built throughout it that allow you to quick travel between stages as you set out to search for more HP and SP upgrades once you have unlocked more of your abilities. You will spot some of these upgrades during your first time through a stage, knowing there’s nothing you can do until you find the right upgrade to get the job done. You should trust your instincts and slash at any wall that looks a bit out of place since these will usually explode under your blade’s might, opening the way to some extra upgrades that could save the day.

Cyber Shadow makes use of its old-school pixel art style, brilliantly creating a world that could have existed on the NES, with some extra bells and whistles thrown in for good measure that we now know the console could not have pulled off. It’s a gorgeous game with some awesome cutscenes that use a bright color palette with great animations. The game manages to tell a really neat story about your ninja clan and how the city is overtaken, all while sticking as close as possible to what the Nintendo Entertainment System did back in the day.

Cyber Shadow Review - 4

Cyber Shadow is a great 2D action platformer with a ninja twist that pay homage to the classics of the NES era while adding a bunch of things that make for a great 21st-century experience. I liked this one a lot, with my only complaint being that there is no DualSense implementation and that the other buttons on the controller have not been used for the different abilities you’ll unlock as you progress to the game. It’s a game that is definitely worth your time and money, so be sure to jump in on PlayStation 5 when the game is out tomorrow for $19.99.

This Cyber Shadow review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Yacht Club Games.

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