Bomb Rush Cyberfunk Review
Although the Dreamcast only lasted a few years, it managed to deliver a bunch of incredible games. Due to the slick combination of stylish art direction, smooth soundtrack and addictive gameplay loop, Jet Set Radio is widely considered a highlight of the era. Left in the dark since its 2002 sequel, Team Reptile looks to bring the essence of the skater back to the streets with Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. With its unique design and arcade roots, will the spiritual successor capture the magic of the original?
Imprisoned, at first you must escape the clutches of the police with the help of Tryce, a renegade looking to inspire change. On the cusp of freedom, you are struck down by DJ Cyber, the master of vinyl. With one flick of the wrist, he decapitates you with a record and sends you plummeting to the ground. As New Amsterdam is at the height of technology, Tryce is able to bring you back from the dead with advanced cybernetics. Now with a new motive, you must take down the Futurism Crew and locate your head so that you can be restored. Although the narrative takes a bit of time to get going, it gradually builds to form a strong tale that will keep you hooked. The array of interesting characters is a highlight and helps to build an intriguing world that you want to learn more about.
Hitting the streets is sick. You can grind and wall-ride your way through a city while tagging your crew’s logo in key areas. A counter accompanies each trick and soon you’ll be working out runs and combining all manner of crazy stunts to get the highest score. The arcade ethos permeates Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. You can grind sharp turns and even defy gravity, skating up vertical poles. This makes for a stress-free experience as you don’t need to worry about physics and can simply live out your skating fantasies.
With the ability to boost across the sky and manual on the ground, you can extend your tricks and easily reach new areas. Although the trick system is simple and intuitive, there are nuances that allow you to hit the high scores. Leaning into corners and switching manoeuvers on the rail will reward you with multipliers which becomes integral to master for certain missions. Momentum is key and soon you’ll find yourself stylishly gliding through the city like a pro.
Areas are open and allow you to explore and discover. Identifying key points and working out your route takes up the majority of the gameplay: it never gets old. While at times you are left to graffiti the town, other objectives require you to speak to specific people whom you can locate via your phone. Rather than having a permanent eyesore on the HUD, you simply access your phone which includes a map and other information. It’s a clever way to keep everything clean and focused.
Mama Said Knock You Out
Although Team Reptile nails the traversal, the combat falls short. Fighting feels sluggish. The absence of sound effects means that hits lack impact which results in dull segments that make you question how much damage you actually inflict. These sections are not fun and can even become a chore. Luckily, they are few and far between, but when they crop up it drastically affects your enjoyment.
The overall presentation is incredible. Eventhough the assets are quite basic, the Dreamcast-style, cell-shaded aesthetic leaps off the screen. It takes what Jet Set Radio started and amplifies it. Certain levels play with the visuals to create a warped platforming challenge that beams with ingenuity. While the visuals stand out, the music is what ties everything together. With Hideki Naganuma at the deck, the slick hip-hop beats capture the notion of rebelling against authority in a dystopian near future.
Back on the Block
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is the perfect spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio. Not only does it capture the idea of cruising the streets, but the intuitive controls and simple mechanics allow anyone to pull off impressive-looking tricks. Unfortunately, the combat is weak, and segments where this is at the forefront hinder the overall quality of the product. However, when you hurdle this bump, you’ll fall in love with the banging beats and addictive gameplay loop.
***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***
- Slick and Intuitive Controls
- Awesome Soundtrack
- Lovely Design
- Lackluster Combat
- Some Repetitive Missions
- Sticks Closely to its Influences