‘Cygni: All Guns Blazing’ Looks to Revitalize Shoot ’em Up Games

John Nguyen

Cygni: All Guns Blazing is an upcoming top-down space shooter from publisher Konami and developer KeelWorks, and it will be available for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC later this year. The Story Trailer has been released, giving gamers a taste of things to come including the graphics, gameplay and story. We recently had the chance to preview the game during a Konami event, and it’s looking to revitalize the twin-stick vertical scrolling shoot ’em up.

KeelWorks is a Scottish-based studio founded by brothers Meher & Nareg Kalenderian and Helen Saouma, and Cygni marks their debut game. It brings to gamers the old-school top-down shooter experience, impressive 3D graphics, and intense gameplay.

What makes Cygni intense is the onslaught of enemy ships and ground forces as they try to take you down from above. You’ll get to shift focus from offense to defense with your weapons and shield, which adds another layer to the hectic gameplay. If you’re out in the open with some leeway to shoot down the enemies, switch to offense mode. If enemies and their projectiles are closing in on you, switch to the shield defense mode. Unlike the old-school shmups (shoot ’em ups) like Galaga where you can instantly die from one hit, Cygni will have some leeway to how much damage your ship can take.

You can move your ship around the screen using the left stick, and the right stick aims the weapons. However, the angle of aiming with the right stick is very limited. Another feature is being able to switch your weapons to eliminate enemies on the ground, and that means you’ll have to worry about the bad guys on your level and also below you. This makes for very exciting gameplay as you constantly are on the move and shooting everywhere all around you.

I had the chance to fight the first boss in the hands-on preview, and it’s a giant bug-like creature that will have you switching between offense and defense and shooting its tentacles and projectiles. The boss fight design reminds me a bit of Rez, Sega’s musical rail shooter, where you blast away at the tentacle-like arms and try to break down panels to reveal vital weaknesses. With Cygni, the graphics are gorgeous and eerie as the giant alien boss tries to take you down thanks to the lighting of the eyes and mouth and the details of the teeth and tentacles.

Another element that adds to the atmosphere of Cygni is the booming sound effects. The awe-inspiring sound design truly envelops the audio senses, adding to the immersive gameplay.

It’s only a taste of what’s in store for the final game. With atmospheric and beautiful graphics, enveloping audio and intense gameplay, Cygni is looking to shake things up in the space vertical shoot ’em up genre.

Cygni: All Guns Blazing will be released in 2024 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam.

Images courtesy of Konami and KeelWorks.