Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is where the metropolis becomes your canvas, and your mark isn’t just a tag, but a declaration of your presence. New Amsterdam is a place where the rhythms of the streets and the pulse of the city blend into a symphony of rebellion and expression.
The sprawling city is a playground for the daring souls who glide through the air with a sense of freedom that defies gravity… and also defying authority. The youth have taken to the streets, spraying walls with their artistic visions, claiming the city as their own. The walls become frescos of color, a visual rebellion against a fascist tyrant.
Is this Jet Set Radio Future? You’d think it was based on the visuals and description, but Bomb Rush Cyberfunk does expand on what Smilebit established during the height of Y2K. We may never get a new Jet Set game, but that is okay because this could be the next best thing. Find out if it is in this Bomb Rush Cyberfunk review!
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Developer: Team Reptile
Publisher: Team Reptile
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Release Date: August 18, 2023
Price: $39.99 USD
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, where wheels symbolize your freedom, spray cans your voice, and movements your manifesto, is a place where subcultures collide, individuality clashes with uniformity, and the city itself becomes a living, breathing canvas.
The city’s enforcers, with their robotic precision, are never far behind. As the sun sets and shadows lengthen, the pursuit intensifies. The authorities, unyielding and relentless, are determined to silence the vibrant pulse of rebellion and regain control of the streets. It’s a battle between the exuberance of youth and the cold machinery of conformity.
Jet Set makes its stance against graffiti loud and clear. The game opens with a message that says, ‘Do not do this cool thing.’ In contrast, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk embodies a true punk spirit and proudly endorses the act of graffiti in its themes.
Surprisingly, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk actually tries to have a story with characters. There are many cutscenes and story beats where the plot develops. Set-ups are established and pay-offs are earned. Considering that Jet Set Radio Future barely tried to have a story at all, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk manages to highlight how having something fleshed out can elevate the experience.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk seemed to promise an intriguing mix of creativity and action. However, as the hours rolled by, my initial enthusiasm waned, and I found myself grappling with frustrations that ultimately dampened the overall experience.
The premise was is: navigate to different areas, leave your unique mark with graffiti, and engage in a variety of seemingly random challenges. These tasks were entertaining at first, offering a sense of accomplishment for each completed objective.
The best moments of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk are the linear and surreal dream sequences that are challenge gauntlets. These are strokes of genius and break away from the limitations of a relatable world. Red will be wall-riding and grinding through impossible architecture and will contend with long stretches of challenging platforming that have great flow and a sense of tempo.
As the game progressed, a dark cloud began to cast a shadow over the enjoyment. The once-thrilling encounters with the police grew more bothersome, transforming from an occasional hindrance to an outright annoyance.
The game’s combat mechanics, unfortunately, felt clunky and poorly executed, forcing players into situations that only served to frustrate rather than entertain. There was an attempt at incorporating beat-em-up mechanics when engaging with the fuzz. All characters being interchangeable means that everyone is floaty and feels like their kicks and shoves have the force of a baby’s cough.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk confusingly leans into these moments by having squads of SWAT boys, special agents, and deadly snipers try to ice our heroes. Compounded with unbearably pathetic feedback kinesthetics and tedious mechanics, expect to only engage in direct combat when there is no other option.
The trick battles injected a dash of excitement, spicing up the routine and adding a layer of competitiveness. This can come in many forms and always capitalizes on Bomb Rush Cyberfunk‘s strength, which is level design. Repeat this cycle about five times, and you’re ready to roll the credits.
The post-game phase, which should be a time for unfettered exploration and experimentation, instead became an exercise in patience. The police presence escalated at an alarming rate, reaching levels of absurdity that made any semblance of fun dissipate rapidly.
A once-promising open-world adventure became nearly unplayable, burdened by an overbearing police force and an unforgiving escalation of wanted levels.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk started with a burst of potential, mixing urban exploration, graffiti, and challenges into an intriguing cocktail. Unfortunately, the enjoyment was short-lived, as the increasingly vexatious police encounters and the aggravating combat mechanics overshadowed the game’s positive aspects.
Exploring and attempting to reach a rival tag to mark were the most engaging moments. Getting swamped by cops and eating the fat end of a riot baton should have been experienced sparingly, but Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is too gleeful to hold back.
While there were moments of fun to be had, the overall experience left me wishing for a more balanced and polished gameplay loop. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk‘s best moments (aside from the dream sequences) are when players are free to play at their own pace and absorb the atmosphere.
The visuals and presentation of New Amsterdam are stunning. It is a place dripping with hang-outability and flawlessly captures the low-poly and fresh hip-hop style of Jet Set Radio Future. Details like how textures are rendered and the plain look of NPCs and chunky crowd characters are very true to the look of the classic SEGA game.
Sloppy combat aside, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk manages to offer more complex and refined mechanics in terms of control. The ability to walk around and jump like in any platformer makes it easy to reach your desired location and not be at the mercy of your wheels.
Performing tricks serves a utility by building up a gauge that can be used for rocketing at intense speeds. Air-dashing aids in correcting trajectory, and the ability to ollie or perform a slide provides significant assistance. This higher level of control is what makes Bomb Rush Cyberfunk the superior “turn-table” skate action game.
The micro-game of spraying graffiti is also enhanced, and depending on the sequence of inputs from players, it determines which art gets plastered. This is one of the more forward-thinking design choices because it allows for a greater variety of tags throughout the city’s hubs.
Music in Bomb Rush Cyberfunk relies on tried and true turn-table hip-hop, sounding slightly more experimental than what SEGA used and featuring a European trip-hop flair. This aspect is highly subjective for many gamers, but the music here seems on par with its inspirations.
The mechanics and visual presentation of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk are unbelievably refined. It truly looks and sounds the part of delivering a spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio Future. However, it is held back by an underwhelming gameplay structure and some of the worst combat implementations in a 3D game.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a code provided by Team Reptile. Additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy can be found here. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.