Cyber Shadow is the first game being published by Shovel Knight maker Yacht Club Games. It’s being developed entirely by one person, with some advice offered by Yacht Club Games, which makes the game all the more impressive. Just like Undertale or Stardew Valley, I think Cyber Shadow is going to be one of those labors of love that payoff big time. I had the chance to check out Aarne “MekaSkull” Hunziker’s passion project at PAX West.
Have you ever wanted to play the original Ninja Gaiden but did not want to cry in frustration? Cyber Shadow has you covered. There is certainly some difficulty there, but you have more interesting tools on-hand to handle what the game is throwing at you. In the best possible way, Cyber Shadow is as if Ninja Gaiden were made today, with perfect control and movement, awesome art design, and a couple decades worth of design to study and learn from.
I died quite a few times in my demo playing Cyber Shadow, but those were all my fault. Treating it more like a platformer, racing through the level was my initial approach to the game. Of course, there were those pesky enemies that got in my way. After I had settled down, learning enemy movements, attack patterns, and anticipating their next move, I was much more successful. Some enemies are definitely placed to punish the speed through, and that certainly is by design. Cyber Shadow is not meant to be sped through; it’s all about deliberate action and progression.
Through the two different levels I played, the enemy variety was great. Between the two, which took place in two very different areas, I don’t think there was any overlap. They were all aesthetically designed for where they were meant to be and offered unique challenges. The great thing about Cyber Shadow is that no single enemy is that much of a threat, but they were all placed in specific points to work together against you, creating the challenge. Each new approach of enemies was like a different puzzle to figure out with the same pieces you’re already familiar with.
If you’re one who enjoys boss fights, then Cyber Shadow will have a lot to offer there as well. I played only two stages, each of which had a bass at the end. I was told that “pretty much all” of the stages have some sort of boss fight at the end, and in the menu to choose stages, I saw a lot of stages.
Toss in some metroidvania influence and you’ll also be heading back to stages you’ve already completed to find out their secrets. The amount of content looking to be on offer in Cyber Shadow is huge, and with how crisp the controls are and how satisfying the combat is, every minute should be both fun and engaging.
If Cyber Shadow wasn’t on your radar before, you should put it on there now. While I did only have a limited time to play, it was faultless. I’ve struggled to think of something I didn’t like with my short time, and I can’t think of anything. I can’t wait to play the whole thing.
Cyber Shadow does not have a release date yet. It is releasing on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This preview was conducted on a Switch.