Cyber Protocol is a cyberpunk-inspired retro arcade puzzler from RedDeerGames. The loosely-implemented story sees you fighting to bring your android friend G0X6 back to life by hacking through the campaign’s 100 unique levels and rebooting his deactivated “cyber protocol”. With a separate arcade mode, online leaderboards and local multiplayer available for up to four players, you’ve certainly got plenty to do.
Each level consists of a maze-like map that’s chock-full of glowing coins, bonus cubes, traps, and enemies. Your aim is to navigate to the exit while collecting as many items as possible – as quickly as possible – while also avoiding all of the hazards that threaten to wipe you out. Big coins contribute more to your score than small ones, while the bonus cubes allow you to unlock new avatars to use in your future runs.
As you progress, various unique enemies, traps, and challenges are implemented to make your hacking mission just that little bit more complicated. Your journey from the start to the exit suddenly becomes a whirlwind of viruses, killer laser beams and exploding mines amongst other threats, so although you may wish to set a fast time, remember that in the standard modes, you can afford to take the time to assess the path ahead.
This is especially significant when you consider that one mistake – unless you’ve hit a checkpoint – means game over, and you’ll be returned to the start of the level. This presents a nice challenge to both experienced and fresh players of the genre, but given the length and complexity of some levels, it can sometimes feel a little unfair when a checkpoint is missed in error.
There are several cool additional features in Cyber Protocol to be aware of, too. Not only can you freely play the game’s sublime soundtrack from the in-game music player, continued progression and the collection of bonuses also reward you with new in-game content. When having hacked enough levels, for instance, you unlock new sound options, new themes to customise the appearance of levels, and (as mentioned previously) new avatars.
Despite this wealth of gameplay mechanics and customisation options, however, the game nevertheless feels repetitive quite quickly. The collectables and objectives remain identical throughout, offering no real variety, and though the 80s-inspired visuals are striking and incredibly nostalgic, the glaring contrast and bright components make some levels almost painful to play. Regular breaks are definitely advised.
While the game’s performance on the Nintendo Switch is largely unproblematic, it’s not uncommon to encounter stuttering issues or input and movement delays between deaths or during fast-paced runs. This can make for some frustrating gameplay, and if you’re not careful, it can result in an unnecessary demise. That being said, the game plays well in both docked and handheld, with larger screens allowing for a closer, more detailed look at what lies ahead when holding ZR.
On the whole, Cyber Protocol is an enjoyable arcade puzzler with a charming pixel aesthetic and plenty of replay value if you’re a keen hunter for 100% runs, high scores, and low completion times. If you’re looking for a quick, fun, and competitive title to challenge your friends in, it’s one to watch out for, though the somewhat repetitive gameplay, graphical intensity, stuttering issues, and lack of story-based direction may deter you from extended sessions.
Cyber Protocol £8.99
A refined 80s-inspired puzzler, Cyber Protocol is enjoyable from start to finish, with plenty of replayability. However, its repetitive gameplay and visuals may make for a tiresome time if you’re not impressed by its charm and style.