Cybarian: The Time Travelling Warrior – Xbox One Review
Our Xbox One Review of Cybarian
Cybarian: the time traveling warrior is a Platformer and Beat em-up by GrabTheGames. With the aesthetic of the 1980’s/90’s arcade game. Can this live up to today’s modern standings or is this something that should have been sent Back to the Past?
On first glance Cybarian: the time traveling warrior would have you believe that this is just a simple retro inspired platformer, the sort of game that we have come to see being churned out from these Indie studios all hoping to be the new Shovel Knight. What Cybarian: the time travelling warrior brings to the table to separate itself from the competition is difficulty; I do not mean just your average hard retro game I am talking about the Dark Souls of difficulty from the moment you start up this game to the moment you complete it (if you can) you will be dragged through the ringer.
The story for Cybarian: the time travelling warrior is very simple and bare boned you are a barbarian who is thrust to the future where he must defeat an array of enemies to achieve the next level and that is it unfortunately. Now I know old Nes games that have more meat than this. In my opinion this game would do perfectly for a Limited Run Games physical release with a nice manual that could hold the story because at the minute we really have no context and that is a shame as I feel they could really have done more here.
As you progress through the levels in very much a Beat em-up style; where every level is split into multiple screens, each screen must have the enemies defeated to move on. This is Akin to Super Nintendo games like Final Fight or Captain Commando. At the start your sword and the ability to jump is all you have in your arsenal and this is where the difficulty begins with only two moves at your disposal you have to navigate each level with the utmost care you can not afford to lose what little health your character has. Whilst you attack with one button you are able to time your hits to create a combo move which will kill the enemies quicker the negative to this is your stuck closer to the enemy for longer which inturn gives them a greater chance of hitting you and killing you. Once dead you are sent back to the start of the level. Whilst on the subject of being sent back to the start of the level this is also a game that must be completed in one sitting as there are no save states. As you can imagine this will be a big negative for any gamers who have limited time to sit and play games.
To help you along the way you gain a small amount of abilities one is a reverse dodge and the second is the ability to through you weapon. Whilst I like the grind to get upgrades I feel that these abilities especially the dodge should be given to the player either from the start or at least before the first boss battle. Unlike the enemies that are very predictable with their movements which can cause some boredom as you hack and slash you way through the myriad of screens. Boss battles give the player at least some respite and actual challenge to the movement patterns.
Unfortunately for those of you who are not used to retro gaming will need to be prepared for cheap deaths and hits. This is really where the main level of difficulty comes from, the amount of times you fall into spikes or get whacked by a cheeky enemy will really get to you.
The controls are very simple and you can easily get used to them which does help you keep immersed in the game. The jumping works well and you do feel that missing a jump is down to player mistakes rather than being from bad controls.
The overall presentation of the game is ok nothing special. The enemies do get recycled which is disappointing and whilst I understand they want to add a retro inspired filter to the game I have to say not having the ability to turn this off really is a shame as what could be nice pixel art is ruined by a filter which in my opinion really blurs the picture.
The audio is the same nothing special and the music is looped throughout each stage which can get annoying if you get stuck on the same level for a period of time. Though I will say the music does fit the style of game and the levels are appropriate. The sound effects could be better and more diverse but it really does not take much away from the presentation and game.
Whilst this game is hard and a first playthrough could take you a while I do not believe that this has much to bring you back in. This does play into the overall price which at £4.99 is a good price for anyone who wants a hit from the past.
With thanks from Ratalaika Games for the review code.