Bomb Rush Cyberfunk – Funky Rhythm Comin’ At Cha

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk – Funky Rhythm Comin’ At Cha

While developer SEGA have left the franchise dormant since 2002, Jet Set Radio fans everywhere can finally rejoice thanks to Dutch developer Team Reptile for bringing us Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, the spiritual sequel we’ve been waiting over two decades for.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk captures the essence of the Jet Set Radio franchise while smoothing over most of the wrinkles such older titles often display so long after release. In the futuristic city of New Amsterdam, multiple gangs battle for control over the city via graffiti tags and trick combos, unravelling a conspiracy involving the Police Departments Chief Inspector along the way. The aesthetics are extremely on point, the cel-shaded style and the soundtrack transporting me back in a Ratatouille-esque way to long hours in front of my Dreamcast circa 2001. The return of Hideki Naganuma for portions of the soundtrack is one of those ‘dream’ gets that lends a level of authenticity to the project.

Jet Set vets will feel right at home with the control scheme here as they boost, jump, grind and slide all over the various areas of New Amsterdam with ease; there is very little demand on the player when performing most tasks in the game, but the difficulty does ramp up when tracking down some of the unlockables which can only be accessed via the more fiendish ‘lines’ hidden in each expansive level. Anyone expecting a big focus on tricks though is bound to be disappointed, as they often feel more of an afterthought than a key component in gameplay. This is perhaps the biggest gripe I have with Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, in that it feels somewhat undercooked compared to the other gameplay features. The game structure itself also begins to feel repetitious after unlocking the first few areas; players will tag over rival graffiti and complete a few trick lines for Rep before hitting a pre-determined amount which will unlock a points challenge face-off and then a police combat encounter. No indivdual task feels particularly onerous however, and each level serves as a satisfying break point between play sessions; I fear BRC would suffer from a binge approach rather than breaking the experience up level by level. 

Story and setting-wise, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is a hot bed of intertextuality, riffing on everything from Yakuza and The Matrix to Minority Report and Ghost in the Shell. In many ways the game is a pastiche of homage, which could be harsh criticism if it didn’t all come together so well. Team Reptile clearly have a lot of love for the original games and I’m glad they hewed so closely to the formula here as it gives them somewhere to go in a sequel. However, for those looking for a distinctly modern take on the Jet Set formula, you’ll need to wait a bit longer and maybe go back to Sunset Overdrive in the meantime.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk was reviewed on a PlayStation 5 with code kindly supplied by PR. 

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