Platformers and gamepads go together like the soft and scratchy halves of velcro. It’s hard to imagine Mario, Super Meat Boy, Sonic or just about any other 2D platformer controlling as well without the familiar gamepad, but Cyjin: The Cyborg Ninja gives up not just that familiar tool but doesn’t even use the keyboard. Instead Cyjin controls with the mouse specifically, using it and its two button to dash, attack, and block through a precision-platformer that’s every bit as serious about killing the player as any game in the genre.
Cyjin launched today on Kickstarter and comes with a substantial demo to show off its platforming skills. The left mouse button activates the dash, where Cyjin flies towards whatever point the cursor is at while blasting through any unshielded enemy that might have gotten in his path. The right mouse button is for everything else, primarily a mid-dash shield used to cancel bullets and any shielding the enemy may put up, but also used to fling a shuriken when Cyjin is safely on the ground. That shuriken needs to be charged by taking out enemies, but seeing as it flies through walls it can be exceptionally helpful in clearing out a path as the screen starts filling up with enemies. This is especially useful when the platforming section takes a break with a single-screen combat arena or an auto-scrolling section makes with the spinning sawblades marching up the screen.
While the demo shows a lot of well-executed ideas, it’s still early, as evidenced by the Kickstarter campaign. The platforms and backgrounds can be close in terms of color, spinning sawblades could stand to be more forgiving in their hitboxes when attached to the outer corners of a platform, and the boss desperately needs a health meter, but for a game at the start of a funding campaign those are tiny little issues. The controls are quick and responsive, and Cyjin can tear through any of the demo’s challenges in style if you can see a clear path through. Head on over to the campaign to give it a look and get links to the Steam/itch.io demo or check out the video below to see it in action: