A copy of Cyber Shadow was provided for review by Yacht Club Games.
I remember when I first saw Cyber Shadow. It was the day of my flight to Boston for PAX East 2019, which was my first major game convention. Yacht Club Games has announced they were publishing Aarne “MekaSkull” Hunziker’s cybernetic ninja action game. I was writing for DualShockers at the time and was the writer assigned to meet with and cover Yacht Club Games’ final pair of Shovel Knight games and on March 27, 2019, Cyber Shadow was thrown into that mix as well. I am a die-hard fan of Yacht Club Games and was completely thrilled.
I was immediately hooked and became laser-focused on any and all Cyber Shadow announcements and updates. What attracted me toward Cyber Shadow the most wasn’t its retro-aesthetic, ninjas, or even Yacht Club Games themselves. It was the fact it was completely developed completely by Hunziker. There is something inspiring and fascinating about one-person development. You just have to look at the trailer and then you’ll think “one person did all of this?!” Granted, the music was done by Enrique Martin; Yacht Club Games came onboard as the publisher; there were QA testers and translators, but on the whole Cyber Shadow is Hunziker’s game. And after roughly seven years in development, Cyber Shadow is finally here.
Cyber Shadow is without a doubt the next big indie game. It is an expertly crafted action-platformer that stands with the best. The world of Mekacity and Shadow’s journey through it are woven together wonderfully where each element of the game comes together to elevate each other. Cyber Shadow is more than the sum of its parts and all of those parts alone add up to be quite a bit.
I used photos of myself as a reference for drawings and animations, but I couldn’t (allegedly) run like a real ninja, so the animation ended up looking pretty stiff. My training project wasn’t just for training anymore. It was shaping into a game with slashing in addition to jumping.
This brief origin story for Cyber Shadow totally reminds me of The Making of Prince of Persia Journals 1985-1993 by Jordan Mechner. Early on in the book (and the game’s development) Mechner bought a camera to record his brother and other actors on film that he could then breakdown frame-by-frame and hand animate characters in Prince of Persia.
October 15, 1986
Bought a camera at Whole Earth. It was more expensive than I’d anticipated — $250 with the lens —but it’s a good camera, and I imagine I’ll find some use for it even after the game’s done.
I shot my first roll of film (David turning around) and had it developed at the local one-hour photo shop; I think this will work. The real problem, obviosuly, will be going from a sheaf og snapshots to the 280 x 192 Apple screen, and the loss of accuracy entailed therein. It almost makes me want to do it in double hi-res. – Page 40
October 25, 1986
Yesterday I implemented the running animation. Next I’ll do the jumping…then the stopping…then the “jumping from a stopped position”…oh boy, this is great! – Page 44
My other favorite tidbit from this blog post was that the game will run at 120fps on PS5 (and presumably on Xbox Series consoles). How cool is it that a game inspired by the 8-bit consoles of yore can run at 120fps?! Merging the new with the old can really be quite exciting.
If you had told me a month ago that the first game I’d play at Yacht Club Games’ booth wouldn’t be Shovel Knight: King of Cards, I’d probably would have been very confused. Yacht Club Games is one of my favorite developers in the business. I’ve bought Shovel Knight five times for myself, plus as a gift for friends. I’ve beaten it countless times, earned the Platinum on Vita, and snagged each vinyl of the killer soundtrack. But Yacht Club Games threw me a curve ball the day before PAX East 2019 and announced the next game they are publishing—Cyber Shadow.
I showed up at my appointment with my favorite developer at the show and booted up Cyber Shadow right off the bat. It did not disappoint. If there were more levels available in the demo, I easily would have played this for the entirety of my appointment, forgetting to check out Shovel Knight: King of Cards altogether, because Cyber Shadow is so good.
The new trailer is oh-so-slick and I cannot wait to play in just a little over a month’s time.