Cyber Shadow will kick your butt. Make no bones about it, this retro-inspired action title will chew you up and spit you out, similar to the traditional Ninja Gaiden series that influenced it. As in the NES staple, the enjoyable is available in attempting to get rid of that high difficulty. Unfortunately, Cyber Shadow doesn’t support its difficulty with gameplay and development that feels regularly enjoyable or satisfying. 

For much better or even worse, Cyber Shadow nails the period it attempts to stimulate thanks to a devoted 8-bit discussion, elegant animated cutscenes, and requiring problem. Armed with a dependable katana, you check your reflexes by slicing through a robotic armageddon in order to release your ninja brethren and rescue your master. Stages are devilishly developed, with apparently mean-spirited risks put precisely where you require to go (or where you land when you mistake), and might also be huge, pixelated middle-fingers. Making that vital leap just to be struck by a roaming laser and knocked back into the pit you simply prevented is absolutely nothing except frustrating, and Cyber Shadow is stuffed with such minutes. It doesn’t assist that checkpoints are sporadic, indicating you should replay long, difficult stretches to reach a brand-new area to breathe out. 

Players can reduce their journey by buying irreversible benefits for specific checkpoints. These benefits consist of fundamental health/mana regrowth, however you can likewise get among lots of tools, like a guard, turret, or my favorite: the yo-yo-like boodle blade. A couple of tools, like the slow-firing turret, feel impotent and unworthy the cash, however others can indicate the distinction in between failure and success. While these upgrades are technically optional, some areas feel nigh difficult without them, and it’s simple to discover yourself with an empty wallet and no other way to acquire aid. In some cases, you might need to grind to continue, however that’s neither enjoyable nor totally possible, because some locations don’t have sufficient opponents or breakable things to quickly gather the necessary funds. 

Cyber Shadow starts simple with only a jump and attack to players’ names. That limited arsenal falls flat once the nostalgia wears off (assuming you have fond memories of games of this ilk). Your repertoire eventually expands, but the game takes too long doling out abilities that make basic traversal more exciting, such as a wall-climb or sprint. Hitting a running jump and air-dashing through a foe feels great once you learn to do so, but Cyber Shadow demands players stick it out for seven of the game’s ten chapters to get there. Requiring players to endure two-thirds of a punishing game just to obtain skills that belong in every ninja’s starter kit does not feel satisfying. 

The default control scheme also makes executing certain actions tough. Most abilities are mapped to a cardinal direction on the d-pad/analog stick plus the attack button. This setup works decently sufficient, but during the frantic platforming segments, it’s easy to trigger the wrong ability, like transitioning from an air-dash to a shuriken throw. Given how often you need to change course in a split second, having the d-pad carry so many functions ultimately feels cumbersome. Basic actions and sprinting can be remapped (I highly recommend moving sprint to the right shoulder triggers) however actual capabilities can’t. That’s disappointing, since hitting two buttons to launch shurikens feels clunky compared to what a single face button would have accomplished. 

When things do click, Cyber Shadow can provide solid entertainment. The action becomes more fluid and engaging once you obtain all the abilities. The boss fights are my favorite encounters; they bring the pain but are interesting and feel mostly fair (save for a tedious water battle against a mechanical dragon). There’s also decent gameplay variety, including a motorcycle chase sequence and digitized battles inside of computer terminals.   

Even with such diversions, Cyber Shadow doesn’t do much that’s surprising, and can sometimes be too tough for its own good. However, those with plenty of patience and an appetite for pain will find fun in this modern throwback. Just be aware that the price of admission may be your sanity, and that’s a high price to pay for this competent-however-flawed war of attrition.