Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
Also Available On: PC (Coming to PlayStation and Xbox on September 1st)
Price: $39.99 USD
Developer: Team Reptile
Publisher: Team Reptile
Switch/PC Release Date: August 18, 2023
Please Note: A review code was provided by Team Reptile but does not influence the opinions in this review.
Ever since this game was announced back in 2020, I knew I was going to have to play it. I absolutely adored Jet Set Radio (will be referenced as JSR thus forward in this review) on the original Xbox, and now the spiritual successor has emerged with Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. What a spiritual successor this is, and it improves on so many aspects I had with the original, with adding many differences but also loads of similarities. Does this game live up to the game that proceeded this or not? Well, find out what I think in my review below.
The story of this game is one that you might think you know, but you don’t really know. In the beginning of the story, DJ Cyber decapitates Faze. Now you have a metal-head and are called Red. Why would someone name DJ Cyber cut off the head of Faze? In order to figure out everything in the story, you must conquer different areas and take down different crews while building up the REP of the Bomb Rush Crew, which is your crew in the game.
While you are trying to do this, the Police Bureau is trying to stop you from causing more havoc. Who could possibly be in charge of the police squadron and why are they trying to stop you? When you learn the secrets of Project Algo, you will start to understand everything. I thought I knew the story when I started the game but it did not play out how I thought it would. I really thought the story was a great one.
The gameplay is very similar to that of JSR, being it being a spiritual successor it does a lot of things correctly. One of the many aspects of gameplay for Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is graffitiing the different areas and building your team’s REP. This is done by spray-painting billboards, walls, and more by using your rollerblades, skateboard, or bike to grind around the world. Once you get enough REP in an area, you must challenge the local crew to claim that turf as your own and have them exit that area. The way you challenge them is the same for each area and that is by competing against them in a 2-minute competition to try and get the highest score. Most of the areas are easy to do this and it is the same throughout the five sections of the world. It can get a tad bit repetitive when having to do this so many times, but it doesn’t last too long each time with more to do in-between them.
Saying this though, the game breaks it up by also adding in additional one-off sections that aren’t accessible after you leave those areas. This area unlocks a deeper understanding of yourself, but I won’t spoil any more than that. Then, don’t forget about the police that is there to try and put a stop to your actions that are “plaguing” the city around you. While you are exploring the areas police can, and will, start coming after you and hindering everything. As you keep getting more REP, more police will be called to stop you. One of my least favorite aspects in the game is fighting; is not fun and can be annoying after a while. You can also find collectables such as more music, more graffiti options, costumes by completing little challenges that are available or accessing areas that are hard to reach.
So, I have talked about the story and gameplay, what about everything else such as art, music, voice acting, and more. Well, I am first gonna talk about voice acting. The acting in terms of the characters in the game was nice, but personally they aren’t all that memorable for voices as the dialogues aren’t voiced with regular words most of the time. The art in the game on the other hand is beautifully crafted in terms of how they made the game look. I loved the art in the graffiti that is in the game, all of the character designs are also terrific with each one having distinctive features. All of the areas in the game have their own colors and vibes so it never gets old in terms of what you are looking at which is crucial.
The music in the game is absolutely, without a doubt, an amazing experience from start to finish. The original composer for JSR, Hideki Naganuma, is back and was the composer for this game. It is absolutely as funky fresh as it should be for what this game is, from his original sounds to all of the others that played throughout the game. I listened to the main menu music for a solid 10 minutes before beginning my game and I couldn’t get bored of it. Then when I was in the game, it was even better than I thought it would be. The funk, the pop elements, the electricity of the music, and everything else is just so phenomenal it makes it hard to close the game when your play session is done! When you have a game that is focused on flow and moving to a nice beat, music is imperative and it is created with perfection.
In terms of the overall graphics and performance of the game, I personally did not have any real issues with it. The game ran at a nice stable framerate that I personally only saw a dip maybe once or twice overall that didn’t affect my playthrough in any way. I think the graphics also had a nice stable visual without any situations of it dipping into graphics becoming horrendous. The game definitely isn’t the most beautiful title I have played on Nintendo’s hybrid console, but it is better than some games I have played on it. Also, to note, I played this game exclusively in handheld so I am not sure if docked improves on the areas that I saw slight dips in.
After beating the game I do have a couple of issues with the game, but they are mostly minor. One of the few minor issues is the icon on the home screen icon for the Switch version of the game. I wish they did something a bit better than what they have. Small gripe with it, and maybe it’s just me, I just wish they had more creativity with it. Maybe they make it a bit better later down the line. Another issue was the music when you first start up the game seemed to be a tad too low, but is easily rectified by adjusting the volume in the options menu. Lastly, there are playable characters that are not part of the main story ones. They are findable, but they aren’t told to you, rather you have to find them out on your own in the game or a guide online. I liked the main story ones, so I don’t care all that much, but some people might care. These are all small complaints, but ones I feel like I should mention.
I knew I was excited for this title the first time I saw it. I was a tad bit worried for the game based on how many delays this title took, but honestly I had very high hopes for Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. I am super pleased with this game and I think it will land in my top games of 2023 list at the end of the year. Indies have such creativity to them, and this one may have roots buried in their predecessor, but it leaves its own distinctive flair that shouldn’t be overlooked. Gameplay was good all around, the art was very nice, good and complex story, and a wonderful music soundtrack makes this a title to definitely keep on a radar and in my opinion one to play immediately if you loved JSR back in the day.
Review Score: 9/10