It’s been about 20 years since the world of gaming last seen a Jet Set Radio game, which is a crying same as this cult classic Sega series was truly wild and way ahead of its time in so many ways. Dutch studio Team Reptile must have felt the same as their latest title Bomb Rush Cyberfunk walks the dangerously fine line between imitation, tribute and blatant rip off, but does enough to keep it the right side of all three. It’s very much a true homage to its inspiration and dare we even say it a spiritual successor to it. This fact alone for fans who have been crying out for some Jet Set Radio thrills beyond a few camos in other titles will be enough to grab it.
Though Bomb Rush Cyberfunk stands on its own two feet on the story front as it’s quite a deep affair surprisingly, where you’re never 100% sure if you’re the good guys, as your crew battle to take new territory. Oh and quickly into hitting the streets, you are decapitated by a rival gang member, which leads to getting a nice big red cyber dome and setting you on a quest to get back your original skull along with the memories held within it. This also plays outs while a larger mystery unravels around you, as you get deeper and deeper into the futuristic metropolis of New Amsterdam. It’s a fairly interesting tale that has as you digging through your memories trying to really discover who you are and taking you to some wild places in doing so.
Gameplay is quite simple compared to its tale really, as you skate around different areas in the city tagging up walls and completing challenges with the goal of pissing off the rival crew and starting a crew battle. Here you have to bank more points than the other gang in a set time, meaning combos are key to claiming new turf. Beware the cops will be out and about too and looking to put a stop to your brand of urban justice. Controls are easy to pick up and very fluid feeling, as you grind from walls, to rails and pull off a sneaky trick or two between them. This may be an issue for some looking for a more classic feeling challenge. Although each character has their own unique moves adding a bit of variety to things.
Tagging and combat are a mix bag with spraying things being a bit too simple, to the point there is no fail state and combat is just hit and miss in more ways than one, between long drawn out attacks to spongy bosses. Visually the game looks like Jet Set Radio through and through and this is the highest complement I can give it, a cell shaded and chunky outline affair. Sound-wise it’s extremely… cool, and fits the tone and vibe perfectly to the point there are tracks from Hideki Naganuma (the man behind the Jet Set Radio soundtrack). Nuff said on that front.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk attacks on two fronts, firstly grabbing nostalgia for a long forgotten series that a cult classic has, while evolving the formula they love in fun new ways and secondly being a bright, colourful and in your face title for newcomers. It isn’t ashamed to show its love for street culture or preach its anti-authority message.
An Xbox review copy of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk was provided by Team Reptile’s PR team, and it’s available now on PC, Xbox, Switch and PlayStation for around £40.