Jet Set Radio is one of Sega's most beloved titles but for some baffling reason, they haven't developed another game in the franchise in over twenty years. Many indie games have been inspired by the series but there never really was a true spiritual successor; until now, that is. Team Reptile, best known for Lethal League and Lethal League Blaze, have decided to make their own Jet Set Radio (with blackjack and hookers) in Bomb Rush Cyberfunk! The notorious DJ Cyber has broken the rules of the street and must be taken to justice, all the while law enforcement has deployed what they dub "Project Algo". It's up to the Bomb Rush Crew to topple DJ Cyber's tyrannical rule of the street while uncovering the truth of what Project Algo truly is.
Jet Set Radio has a very distinct style fusing Japanese street fashion with American rap/hip hop which still inspires artists to this day; just look at Tetsuya Nomura's character designs for The World Ends With You. Team Reptile have managed to perfectly capture the signature Jet Set Radio artstyle and added to it with hints of cyberpunk, dubbing the style Cyberfunk (hence the title).
Not only that, but Bomb Rush Cyberfunk manages to nail it's graphical presentation, making the game look like it came directly from the Dreamcast era and even replicating the most subtle details in it's camera movements and general controls, while vastly improving on them. Now, I adore Jet Set Radio, but I'll be the first to say that the game controls like garbage, and Bomb Rush Cyberfunk feels like how you think you remember Jet Set Radio's controls felt all those years ago, and that is impressive.
Of course, we can't talk about Jet Set Radio's style without talking about its soundtrack, or more specifically, it's legendary composer Hideki Naganuma (aka Skank Funk; aka Funky Uncle; aka Family Guy Funny Moments). To make sure they got their soundtrack sounding as authentic as possible, Team Reptile managed to acquire Hideki Naganuma to make a few tracks for Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. On top of that, they've also gotten a few musicians inspired by Naganuma's work to lend a few tracks to their soundtrack; like 2Mello, who is best known for their Jet Set Radio tribute album "Memories of Tokyo-to".
While these other artists have their own unique styles, they all tie back to Naganuma's work, which gives the soundtrack the feel of a Jet Set Radio soundtrack but with much more variety and the ability for the game to express itself more broadly. A personal favourite of mine being the song that plays in the Bomb Rush Crew's hideout, Condensed Milk. It's very soft and cute sounding, with a touch of melancholic nostalgia.
- Perfectly captures Jet Set Radio's style
- Fantastic music
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk has a trick system that is a blend of Jet Set Radio and the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, albeit very simplified. You initiate tricks by hitting one of the face buttons, instead of a combination of two like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and you can chain these as much as you like so long as you are either grinding, manualing or in the air. Unlike the Pro Skater series, your point multiplier doesn't increase with each trick you perform. Instead, it increases whenever you lean into a turn while grinding or wallriding on a surface. This change leads to situations where you need to get a high score (like the turf battles that progress the plot)
to feel very bland, you'll quickly find a good spot with a grind rail with a lot of turns (in a lot of cases you start in front of said rail), get your multiplier as high as possible then do one or two tricks then you'll have what you need to progress.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk's main gameplay loop is to go around an area, tag it with as much grafiti as possible and then earn "Rep" with the gang running the area by fulfilling their challenges and these challenges get repetitive very quickly. They tend to vary from "repeat this line", "beat this score" and "find out how to get to X". I believe only one area has something other than these and it lasts a whole three seconds.
In Jet Set Radio, when you are confronted by the police, all you can really do is spray them with paint and run away. Here in Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, you can actually fight back. Thing is though, the combat feels really flat; it feels less like you're attacking them and more like they're so amazed by your sick backflips that they just fall over from gasping so much. It's a real shame too because when messing around in combat, I found a combo that led into a group launcher, but there's no way to follow up from that and do sick Devil May Cry style combos. Although, that might be my own tastes in games tainting my enjoyment for this one.
- Tricks are simplified
- Very little mission variety
- Combat feels unfinished
Final Score: 7/10
At the end of the day, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is a great game but I'll admit that I enjoyed looking and listening to the game far more than I did playing it. Like Jet Set Radio, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is all style, no substance, but that style is REALLY GOOD AND I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT!!! If you’re like me and all you wanted was Jet Set Radio but with better modern controls, then you’ll adore Bomb Rush Cyberfunk.
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