TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Cyber Protocol’

I always struggle to properly name the genre of action puzzler where you swipe your character in one of the 4 cardinal directions and they’ll move in that direction until running into some sort of object or surface, and you’ll use that mechanic to move about various levels collecting objects or triggering events and eventually ending up at the exit. It seems like a simplistic type of game at first, but not being able to move mid-air means you need to plan carefully when and where you do move, and it’s almost like a fast-action version of a logic puzzler in that way. Example of the type of game I’m describing include The Last Rocket, Tomb of the Mask, and Poor Thief, among others.

So anyway, Cyber Protocol is one of THOSE types of games, and it came out on Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PC a few years back and seemed to be well-liked by those who played it on those platforms. But now that it has arrived on mobile this week, it really kind of feels like this is where Cyber Protocol is most at home. In the game you’ll do pretty much what I’ve already described, sliding around 100 levels collecting objects while avoiding hazards, with the goal of reaching the end of each level to move on to the next. Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done given the many unique variables introduced over the course of the game and the numerous ways you can insta-kill yourself if you aren’t careful.

The premise in Cyber Protocol is that you’re a hacker, and solving each level is actually you “hacking" it. The game is super cyberpunk’d out, with a killer synthwave soundtrack and glow-y neon visuals as well as plenty of comic-style cutscenes explaining the game’s story. There’s also some sort of filtering going on that makes everything look like it’s being played on a CRT screen or something. Basically, if you like the ’80s revival of the past several years, or you’re old like me and have fond memories of the actual ’80s, you’ll like what’s going on here. Special shoutout to the game for having a music player built in so you can listen to the great tunes in all their glory.

As great as it all looks and sounds though, Cyber Protocol really nails it in the gameplay department. The swipe-based movement just feels right on a touchscreen, and each of the game’s levels are very expertly designed to test both your fast-reaction skills and how good you are at carefully planning things out. This is a brutally challenging game, but not in a frustrating way at all. Super fast restarts and checkpoints ensure that you aren’t pulling your hair out even if you are retrying a certain level segment dozens of times over and over. Cyber Protocol is a special blend of action and puzzle wrapped up in a quality presentation, and it’s an easy recommendation from me for fans of this type of game, whatever its name may be.

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