Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 14.10.2019

Review for Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior on PlayStation 4

A genre that will always be timeless and satisfying will be the 2D action-platformer. There is an elegant simplicity to it that is universally understood. It is not hard to make them engaging, and all a designer needs are some interesting aesthetics, responsive controls, and strong level design. Good 2D action does not even need to be fast paced, as even deliberately slow or methodical gameplay can be enjoyable if all the elements are in the right places. Sometimes a little experimentation is welcomed, and that's where Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior shows that a little timing can go a long way.

Cybarian: The Time Travelling Warrior is not what it may seem upon first glance. The initial impression most would assume is that this is going to be something like Tiny Barbarian DX, or Rastan-style 2D action, but with some kind of ironic, retro '80s flair. Looks can be deceiving because Cybarian is in actuality a rhythm game... sort of. The boisterous buff protagonist must attack successively, which can only be done in very specific timed button inputs. This is a basic three-hit combo, and knowing when to go for all three hits, and when not to, is a huge aspect of making progress. Failing to time the inputs correctly will leave the big guy wide open to get hit by whatever. Since this aims to be as old school as possible, expect to get to the end in a single evening.

After a brief into of the Cybarian acquiring the sword of ages, he is transported to modern day. Beyond that there is not much else to go off of, as the guy goes around swording boys in the face. Bosses are large and in charge, and is where player's timing is put to the test. Since everything about Cybarian is tied to rhythm, there is nothing randomized. Everything is scripted very tightly and becoming good at the game becomes a matter of memorization of tempo. Getting into the groove will require some adjusting, since old habits that come from playing these kinds of titles die hard, but after a while things do click. All this applies even to the platforming, which is much more forgiving, since there is no punishment for jumping around at will. Just so long as leaps are cleared when they should be, nobody will get hurt.

Screenshot for Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior on PlayStation 4

Visually, Cybarian goes for the chunky retro pixel art that has almost become cliché among most indie developers. The default settings have a very aggressive and overdone scanline filter that thankfully can be switched off. No matter what, this is a very gaudy and garish looking platformer. The aesthetics won't win any awards for artistic achievements, or quality animation. Characters are made up of such a scant amount of pixels, and have a very limited range of expression. Even the music is the most generic sounding wannabe '80s synth imaginable that sounds a bit like a workout playlist. Expect a very forgettable and standard looking experience.

For those hankering for a 2D barbaric action game, better look to Tiny Barbarian DX. Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior relies so heavily on its gimmick, and it wears thin. This sort of gameplay would have been better suited as a single level mechanic, and not for an entire game. There is not much exploration or secrets to discover and every "room" is very tightly controlled by the designer's iron-grip parameters. Mercifully, Cybarian is a very short platformer, which tries to squeeze out as much as it can out of this amusing concept.

Screenshot for Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


This is one of those kinds of scenarios where the designers set out to make exactly what they aimed for, and achieved it... but only because they were only going for a very simple premise. Cybarian aims low, and succeeds at what it needs to, which was not very much. There is no room for expression for the extremely controlled nature of the gameplay, with the exception of how many times a player might miss an input or get slapped. While it may not be a horrible game, Cybarian is merely mediocre and too strict to have any lasting appeal.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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