Team Reptile has successfully captured the essence of both classic and contemporary gaming with Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. Its immaculate blend of stylish visuals, rhythm-infused movement, and electrifying soundtrack make it a must play for anyone who appreciates a game that marches to the beat of its own drum.
Developer – Team Reptile
Publisher – Team Reptile
Platforms – Nintendo Switch, PC (reviewed)
Review copy given by publisher
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is a game that needs no introduction from the moment you set your eyes and ears upon its electrifying art style and groovy soundtrack. If you’ve ever heard of Jet Set Radio or Jet Grind Radio, then you probably already know that it’s lauded with infinite praise and what a striking resemblance Bomb Rush Cyberfunk has with it. Well you’re right, because indie studio Team Reptile has created the long awaited spiritual successor to a cult classic that was abandoned by Sega decades ago.
Right off the bat, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk explodes into the 2023 gaming scene with a vibrant blend of style, rhythm, and urban exploration that pays homage to the classics while carving its own unique path. This graffiti-splashed 3D platformer offers a fresh take on the semi-open-world genre, delivering a kinetic experience that’s as exhilarating as it is visually arresting. Ever since its initial announcement back in 2021 and its delayed launch from 2022 to 2023, I’ve been eagerly awaiting for the eventual release of this artistic masterpiece.
Set in a neon-soaked metropolis, the game has you assume the role of legendary street artist Faux, who after joining forces with Bomb Rush Crew leader Tryce, gets his head decapitated by a mysterious figure known as DJ Cyber. What’s interesting here is that you’re not exactly dead, as Tryce revives you by attaching a cybernetic robot head on your headless body and dons you the new name of Red. However, you’re not exactly playing the same character here, despite sharing the same physical body, as Faux’s head is still intact and in the possession of DJ Cyber, so it is up to you and your newly formed team to reclaim it.
The narrative, for the most part, is an afterthought when compared to the actual gameplay portions, but does a decent enough job setting a captivating premise from the get-go. The overarching plot revolves around the Bomb Rush Crew attempting to go “All City”, or gaining complete dominance over the town’s graffiti, whilst battling rival crews and learning about self-identity and personal roots. That being said, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk effortlessly immerses you into a world where self-expression through street art and rhythm-driven movement takes center stage.
What makes Bomb Rush Cyberfunk shine is the gameplay department, as you’ll find yourself skating, biking, or parkouring across various boroughs of the city to perform combos, spray different graffiti on walls, and engage in some stylish combat with the po-po. At its core, this game is about mastering the art of movement, and it all comes down to maintaining momentum. Environments are littered with obstacles for you to grind or ride on, allowing you to traverse long distances with style. The controls, for the most part, are quite fluid and intuitive on mouse and keyboard, with various tricks mapped to the mouse buttons and moving around bound to WASD.
Most objectives revolve around tagging various surfaces with graffiti to increase your Rep, or reputation. Many of these surfaces are also marked in obscure locations so you’ll have to figure out how to get there by getting creative. You eventually acquire more methods of transportation, ranging from just running around on foot and using a skateboard to a pair of rollerskates and a BMX bike. As you push forward through the story, you also recruit new characters that you can then play as, along with unlocking new songs to bop out to, and slick new graffiti art designs among other collectibles.
The game’s difficulty curve is well-calibrated, offering both challenges for seasoned gamers and accessibility for newcomers. It’s the perfect example of: easy to learn but hard to master. Perhaps the only major item of critique I have on the overall experience is the combat with police. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk uses a heat level system, similar to GTA, that increases the more you vandalize the city with your artistic drawings. The combat in this game, simply put, is half baked and feels non-impactful, and ultimately feels tacked on at the last minute as you can just spam one button to come out victorious.
Despite all the praise I have for this game, I must acknowledge that the gameplay loop can get repetitive and boring over extended play sessions. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk isn’t a terribly long game, as you’ll probably clock around 10 hours or so in one playthrough. On the other hand, performance on PC with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 is pure flawless, with buttery smooth frame rates and ultra fast load times.
Art style and music is where you see Bomb Rush Cyberfunk truly serve as a love letter to Jet Set Radio, as both are absolutely oozing with funky energy. The cel-shaded low poly visual aesthetics capture the essence and legacy of JSR in the perfect way, with every corner bursting with color and personality. Did you know that the composer for the original game, Hideki Naganuma, makes a legendary return for the official soundtrack of this title? Get ready to bop your head to some thumping experimental hip hop and electronic beats that mesh seamlessly with the gameplay. You already know I have the soundtrack on repeat.
Team Reptile has successfully captured the essence of both classic and contemporary gaming with Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. Its immaculate blend of stylish visuals, rhythm-infused movement, and electrifying soundtrack make it a must play for anyone who appreciates a game that marches to the beat of its own drum. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m putting on my 90s retro headphones and going out for a skate.