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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jenks

Game Review #369: Cybarian: The Time Travelling Warrior (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: Ritual Games

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

Category: Action, Adventure, Arcade, Platformer

Release Date: 6.21.2019

Price (at time of review): $4.99

Buy Cybarian: The Time Travelling Warrior from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Day 1: YouTube has suggested a new video to me: Cybarian: The Time Travelling Warrior, and this game looks like a pretty sweet platformer. I think I would enjoy this one. The graphics look pretty sweet, and the hack n’ slash fighting looks pretty fun. I think I’ll give this one a try!

Day 2: So, I got the review code for Cybarian. I opened the game in my Switch, and upon starting the first level, I got treated to a brief tutorial by way of a pop-up animation showing the Y-button being mashed three times, producing a sword-slash combo. It seemed pretty straightforward. It was not. Apparently, you have to hit the Y-button with precisely the correct timing in order to trigger the combo, otherwise you basically just stand there in front of the enemy with your sword stretched out, and you get clobbered.

Could it possibly be that maybe my controller is broken? I’ll try later when I get home and can use my Pro Controller.

Update: It was not my controller. I’ve played the game a total of 20 minutes now and I have barely made it halfway through the first stage. These controls are bad.

Update: I am nowhere near halfway through the first stage. This stage is long. I am done for today. I do not wish to actually break my controller. I did get to a point in the stage where there is a sort of health bar vending machine though. I was able to cash in some of the coins I’ve been collecting from dead enemies and smashed crates in exchange for hearts to refill my health bar, so that was nice. I will try again fresh tomorrow.

Day 3: So, I decided to try out “Easy” instead of “Normal” for the difficulty setting, and apparently, the difficulty setting does not make the stage or the enemies easier—as far as I can tell—it only seems to make the timing of the 3-hit combo slightly easier to hit. WHO DOES THAT WITH DIFFICULTY LEVELS??? Honestly, I’ll take what I can get at this point, but this game feels like it wants to be a hack n’ slash beat ‘em up, but it’s like when you try to punch someone in your dream, and your fist just won’t connect with their face. This is truly frustrating. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Update: I found out that the difficulty level actually changes the abilities you start with at the beginning of the game. The “Hard” difficulty setting starts you out with all of the abilities, whereas the “Easy” and “Normal” settings make you gradually learn them. This is still a very odd way of setting up difficulty levels, but at least the enemies are actually a bit easier—but not much—with the easier settings, and you have more health as well.

Day 4: Okay, so I figured out the timing of the combo a little better, and I have actually started to make progress, but I noticed that, even when you hit the combo spot-on, it still only works about 50% of the time. Either I am just really bad with rhythm—and I’m not—or the controls are some of the worst controls I have ever experienced. In spite of this, I have managed to beat the first boss, and with my victory, I have gained my first new ability: by pressing A, I can roll-dodge to the other side of the enemies! This should definitely make it easier to fight these enemies! I will try stage 2 tomorrow and test this theory.

Day 5: I was wrong. I certainly was able to dodge the enemies’ attacks with the roll-dodge… until I stopped rolling, stood up, and was attacked by that same enemy who had already turned around and swung at me before my roll was completed. So that’s a useless skill. On the plus side though, at least the game lets you start at stage 2 when you boot up the game after beating stage 1! There are no checkpoints anywhere in the levels except for the boss’ room, and these stages are freaking long—or maybe they just feel really long due to the frustration?

Day 6: I still can’t beat stage 2. I’m kinda bummed too, because when I go into the options screen, it shows additional controls for sword-throwing, which sounds like something that might improve the overall playability of the game, but alas, I have not unlocked the skill yet, and I don't think I can handle the "hard" difficulty just to be able to use this ability from the start. I fear I will never be able to get far enough in the game to possess this ability, and that makes me sad—not as sad as the game is making me in general, but still sad.

The soundtrack has such a great upbeat, old-school, chiptunes sound too. It’s a shame the tempo makes me want to hit the buttons faster… it’s making me miss the combo rhythm. I still can’t believe how bad these controls actually are. I feel like I’m missing something, but I fear that I am not.

Day 7: I have resigned to the fact that I cannot beat this game. At least not at this time. There may come a day where I will be able to calmly hit the buttons at the exact speed needed to traverse the stages without premature death, but I have not mastered that sort of Zen-like control at this point in time. Perhaps one day I will either hit this point or the developers will release a patch to improve the controls. Until that day, however, I simply can’t bring myself to keep playing this game. I wanted to love it. It looks and sounds amazing, but it’s just too difficult to control, and for no good reason! Maybe there are people out there who would like to fight with the controls for power, but unless that is the type of challenge they are looking for, I could not recommend this game to them.

Score: 4/10

Buy Cybarian: The Time Travelling Warrior from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Ratalaika Games

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