After traversing endless deserts, climbing the highest mountains and facing endless perils, you finally find it. The treasure of legends, an ancient magic weapon of myth: The Sword of Ages. What you didn’t expect is that the sword was also a time-traveling device that will take you ages in the future. This is what expects you in Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior, the new adventure game developed by the British studio Ritual Games and published by Ratalaika Games & GrabTheGames.
Venture through extraordinary places while wielding your sword to protect you against the dangers of these strange times and find your way back to your own age. So, ready your weapon, barbarian, ‘cause we’re about to travel in time for this review!
- Straight forward gameplay: Like the old adventures it reminds you of, Cybarian is a very objective game: just go right and kill whatever and whoever crosses your way! It may look shallow when you read it but trust me: this is the kind of challenge we used to love back in the day of the 8-bit and 16-bit era. And boy… how we love it!
- Game mechanics: The initial combat mechanics of your barbarian are pretty basic: he can jump and swing his sword. An that’s all. By timing your swings correctly, you can unleash a useful 3-hits combo that’s enough to eliminate most of your enemies. Later in the game, you will unlock a dodge roll, extremely necessary to avoid enemy attacks, and a sword-throw in Captain America’s style that works like a boomerang. If you need to replenish your health during stages, use the money you collect to buy hearts in one of the vending machines found in stages.
- Challenging without being unfair: Yes, this game is challenging. But challenging in a good way. Your enemies and the scenarios have a few surprises for you, but you won’t see an “enemy-that-hits-you-after-the-platform-throwing-you-to-death-in-the-pit” that causes a cheap death. No sir. Here when you die, it’s mostly because you miscalculated a jump or rushed into a trap. Even bosses have attack patterns that you can learn and master. There are some stages though that are very tough (flame pipes, I’m talking to you, guys!) and will require a lot of restarts. Yeah, restarts, because when you die, you go back to the start of the level. Except when you die while facing one of the bosses: even it happens, only the battle against it restarts. Phew!
- Your enemies: Although there is little variation between the foes you’re going to face, they will require caution while trying to get in reach to unleash your fury. Their visuals (well, at least some of them) is something really nice to see. My favorite one ended up being the (no jokes here) fat guy from stage 2. He constantly caught me out of guard and I had some trouble avoiding his attacks. The bosses, on the other hand, felt a little generic and uninspired. Even the boss from the third stage, the most challenging of the game, don’t really impress.
- Visuals: The retro visuals of the game have some charm, but they feel… odd. Enemies and scenarios are more detailed and have more definition than our character. His animations are over simplistic too (except the sword throwing movement that is very cool!), while enemies’ animations look smoother and way more interesting. Maybe some more time invested in those visuals and animations would have done some good to the game.
- Sound: The music and audio effects try to emulate that old-school feeling of the 8-bit era. While it manages to achieve it, most of the times sound feels flat and emotionless. Instead of being something to carry you on, the sounds here add little to your journey. Except for the song from the start menu that is really great and capture that epic adventure feeling I’m talking about.
- Duration: With only four stages the game is rather short. What grants it some longevity is its difficulty level. And, if you’re good enough, it’s hard+ level, unlocked after you finish the game for the first time. In this one, you start your adventure with all the skills already unlocked, but you have only one try to end the game, from start to finish. Except for saying ‘YES, I DID IT!’, there’s no sense of accomplishment in completing this extra mode. This isn’t even needed for your 1000G Gamerscore, which may attract the attention of completionists.
Ratalaika’s brought us another challenging yet fast to accomplish 1000G game. It’s a funny experience that will eventually fall flat once you finishes it. In a time when we have tons of new games available each day, it’s almost a sin releasing a game that doesn’t stand out of the crowd. And Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior, although its interesting premises, is one of these games. It is not a disappointing game, but a game that doesn’t innovate or shine.
Developer: Ritual Games Publisher: Ratalaika Games S.L. & GrabTheGames
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on: PC, PS4, Switch
Time to beat: Two hours… dying a lot, as I did
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: Not impossible, trust me. I got my 1000G while reviewing the game.
Perfect for: Those who want a quick 1000G in their Gamerscore
Xbox Game Store link: Click here
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.