Cybertrash STATYX review

Had Cybertrash STATYX existed in the ‘90s, it would almost certainly be an Amiga 1200 title circa 1993. Not any Amiga game, but one heralded by the format centric magazines for showing the humble home computer can hold its own against the 16-bit consoles. It’s reminiscent of Elfmania and Fightin’ Spirit in particular, featuring anime tropes – busty female protagonists with brightly coloured hair, specifically – yet originating from a Western studio. It may be mistaken for a Japanese production at first glance, but play it for just a few minutes and you’ll discover that it has none of the tact of the games Konami, Capcom, and Treasure were putting out at the time.

What we have here is a scrolling 2D shooter, of the cyberpunk variety, that can’t quite be classed as a run ‘n gunner. Enemies react to your presence – or rather, your line of sight – and as such it’s essential to duck behind cover before returning fire. You’ll also need to slide under projectiles, with said ability also used to launch into a higher jump. It takes a few minutes to acquaint with this mechanic, and thankfully there’s a flashback scene allowing for this. Coupled with enemies that explode when defeated, inadvertently harming our protagonist Jen – who teams up with Nex to expose a futuristic implant research lab – this makes for a slight learning curve.

Cybertrash STATYX review

There’s both an XP-based levelling up system and an in-game currency present too, helping to prevent this from being overly arcade-like. A couple of stages in, Jen can improve her weapon handling and agility, along with her luck and hacking skills. Luck reduces the chance of being hit, while increased agility makes the ‘side ‘n jump’ mechanic almost redundant, leaving not much else to master. Hacking, meanwhile, allows access to weapon crates (containing pistols, shotguns, lasers, etc) while currency is used to purchase health and ammo mid-stage. It’s definitely worth boosting hacking skills, as Jen only has three hit points, and before a boss, you may be able to hack a high level chest and obtain a heavy weapon.

But these upgrades come at a cost, and it’s to the game’s detriment – they make a short experience even shorter by greatly reducing the difficulty. The second stage, taking the form of a tower climb where it’s possible to fall, is in fact the hardest here – save perhaps for the surprise inclusion of land mines during one of the final scenes. Bosses appear at the end of every mission, mostly taking the form of towering mechs, and all of these can be defeated by crouching next to them and unloading a heavy weapon before finishing them off with the default pistol. This even includes the slightly more dramatic final boss fight, which the storyline builds up to.

Cybertrash STATYX review

Aside from the 2-3 hour runtime, a few other issues soon come to light. That aforementioned tower climb stage is one of the more unique examples of level design, with the vast majority simply involving running from left to right. The only reprise comes in the form of flashback sequences that play similarly to a mini-game, with one taking the form of a game of tag, and another involving ‘hide and seek’. The checkpoint system is also fond of saving progress when you’re on death’s door, although this isn’t too problematic as health drops are common.  

Cybertrash STATYX isn’t a load of cyber trash. Not quite, at least. It controls well enough despite only having three-way aiming, it’s reasonably action packed in terms of stuff to shoot at, and there’s a fair attempt at establishing a sci-fi world in which to tell a story – but there isn’t much here in terms of substance. This isn’t something I felt I had to get better at, but rather simply endure until the credits rolled. In the end, it’s no more memorable than all those crusty half-baked Amiga games that nobody remembers. Like Elfmania.

Uncle Frost Team’s Cybertrash STATYX launches on all formats on March 13th. Published by Sometimes You.