Anyone who experienced the golden times of the 8 and 16-bit generations, between the 1980s and 1990s, knows what to expect from Cyber Shadow. Today, at a time when games have difficulty selectors to ease challenges, the new platform game from the Finnish studio Mechanical Head Studios goes against the grain of modernity to pay homage to the era of sadistic and ruthless games.
Published by Yacht Club Games (producer responsible for the Shovel Knight franchise) and designed by a single developer, Cyber Shadow reminds us of childhood, the generation in which the act of finishing a game was a matter of persistence. I well remember never being able to close Super Ghouls’ n Ghosts, Hagane: The Final Conflict and Contra III: The Alien Wars (all borrowed from an extinct rental store), although I invested dozens of hours in them, perhaps hundreds. Even without having zeroed them, they are still among the best SNES titles I’ve experienced.
For better or for worse, Cyber Shadow provides an old-fashioned, costly experience, one that requires patience and agility. It aroused the same feeling I knew in the aforementioned nineties games: a mixture of frustration and personal fulfillment. After more than 300 deaths registered in the accountant (and counting), I can finally report with propriety how much I suffered. Let’s go to the impressions.
Nineties fun and visual crispness
I was enchanted by Cyber Shadow from the beginning. It is a side-scrolling platform game with a pixelated aesthetic, made by hand sprites, that lives up to the main titles of the genre to which it belongs. Before delving into the details of this analysis, I would like to clarify a point: Cyber Shadow is a great old-school game, but likes the idea of refraining from modern elements. In practice, this may not be quite what you are looking for, as it does not add anything new to the formula we know.