Get ready to take a stylish trip back to the early 2000s with Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, a neon-soaked rollerblading extravaganza developed as a spiritual successor to Sega’s cult classic Jet Set Radio series. Created by Team Reptile, who clearly have a deep love for the hip hop-fueled action of the Jet Set games as well as the flowy trick combos of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Bomb Rush aims to revive the dormant skating/graffiti genre for a new generation.
The game takes place in a futuristic metropolis called New Amsterdam, where crews of rebellious skaters battle for turf by spraying their graffiti tags across the city. You play as a character named Red who has just had their head replaced with a shiny new cyborg cranium. Together with your ragtag crew, you grind and trick your way through vibrant neighborhoods plastered in graffiti, chaining sick combos while evading the authorities. The goal is to defeat all the rival crews and go “All City” by dominating the entire map.
In this review, we’ll dive deep into Bomb Rush Cyberfunk to break down its fluid skating action, rad soundtrack, trippy Y2K visual flair, and problems around repetitive missions and clunky combat. Strap on your digital skates and get ready for a millennial nostalgia trip to the mecca of pixelated skate parks, neon-bathed skylines, and funky hip hop beats.
Riding the Wave of Nostalgia
The gameplay of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk will feel intimately familiar to anyone who sunk hours into Jet Set Radio back in the early 2000s. The core loop centers around chaining together tricks and grinds to build up combos, spraying graffiti tags to mark your territory, competing in challenges against rival crews, and unlocking new areas of the city. It’s a cycle of skills-based movement, expression through artwork, and faction power struggles.
Grinding along rails and edges feels intuitive and smooth, with plenty of room for stringing together manuals, reverts, and airs once you get more comfortable. The controls make linking tricks feel natural, like following the contour of a wave. Executing an endless combo that seamlessly flows between grinds, jumps, and tags is when Bomb Rush is at its zenith. There’s a great sense of speed and rhythm when you hit that sweet spot.
The graffiti mechanic allows you to tag different surfaces using a variety of unlockable art styles. It turns into a fun mini-game where you input directions to choose the right symbol and pose. Seeing your own designs plastered across the city gives a wonderful sense of ownership and territory marking. There’s something rebellious and primal about it.
While not quite as deep as Skate or Tony Hawk games in terms of trick complexity, Bomb Rush still captures that same sense of connecting lines, figuring out the best routes, and repeating areas to maximize efficiency and style. There are plenty of hidden secrets and optimal paths to discover across the open levels. Punishing time trials will test your skills and knowledge of the terrain.
Between skates, skateboards, and BMX bikes, there’s enough variation to suit different playstyles. Bikes feel more grounded and solid for vertical tricks, skates excel at maintaining speed and flow, and skateboards are ideal for technical street skills. Having options keeps things fresh.
Some roughness around the edges creeps in at times – transitioning between rails or ramps doesn’t quite feel as polished as the top tier extreme sports games. But the overall sensation of speeding through the levels more than makes up for any jankiness. Once you get in tune with the controls and terrain, Bomb Rush enters a hypnotic flow state that few games can match.
For players who lived through the birth of the vibrant, rebellious skating subculture portrayed here, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is a heartfelt homage and a bike ride down memory lane. But even new jacks can appreciate the kinetic energy and self-expression offered by this neon-colored blast from the past. It recaptures the rhythm and flow that made these niche sports so magnetic back in the day.
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A Neon Time Capsule
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk excels at creating a vibrant, stylized world that transports players back to the heady days of the early 2000s. The cel-shaded visuals are dripping with retro futurist flair, creating the sensation of stepping into a neon time capsule.
Each new area introduces a fresh aesthetic theme, from the basketball courts of the Flesh Prince’s domain to the pyramid structures looming over desert landscapes. They encourage exploration and discovery just to see what stylistic delights await around the next corner. Even though you’ll be grinding the same rails and tagging the same walls, the shifting scenery keeps things novel.
There’s plenty of environmental details to appreciate, like anthropomorphic dogs chilling on street corners, impossibly hip pedestrians, and jumbo screens blasting hypnotic advertisements. Graffiti covers everything, injecting color and giving insight into the other crews ruling each territory. Posters, cars, buildings – no surface is safe from creative vandalism.
Developer Team Reptile did an admirable job of capturing theCHUNKY, vibrant motifs that dominated Y2K design trends. The low poly models provide a nostalgic fuzziness while neon pallets dial the saturation up to 11. It’s a feast for the senses – the visual landscape pairs perfectly with the pounding hip hop beats.
Occasionally the environments themselves become interactive playgrounds, like the storm drain area that has you manipulating ramps and barriers mid-combo. There’s a subtle spark of whimsy and humour as well, such as being able to high five the tiny mailmen wandering the streets.
Some textures can look blurry or basic up close, reminding you this is an indie production, not a AAA blockbuster. But taken as a whole, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk creates a cohesive sense of place that drips with stylish bravado. It taps straight into the latent nostalgia older gamers have for that brief, beautiful window of time when the analog and digital eras collided in a mess of wild creativity. For players who lived it, this game will hit you right in the childhood.
Express Yourself Through Style
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk offers plentiful ways to put your own stylish stamp on the experience. As you explore the open city, you’ll unlock new rider characters, graffiti designs, and music tracks to customize your crew.
Each new character like Vinyl, Bel, and Garold comes with their own signature tricks and flair. Swapping between them keeps the tricks feeling fresh, as well as just being cool to see their different outfits and designs. Their personalities even shine through in their skating styles to an extent.
The graffiti options are one of the best forms of customization. With hundreds of tags to discover, you can really define the look and vibe you lay down across the city. The tags range from cheeky memes to anime-inspired illustrations to cryptic codes. Choosing which ones to plaster on rival crew billboards lets you assert your identity.
The soundtrack also expands with new tracks as you take over districts. Building your own mixtape of banging hip hop, funky electronic beats, and thumping bass gives another channel of auditory expression.
On top of those options, you can also unlock additional cosmetic clothes to deck out your characters in chunky shoes, oversized hoodies, and colorful hairstyles. For those who want to put their own spin on the experience, Bomb Rush offers plenty of avenues.
Even beyond pure customization, the core act of styling and chaining together combos provides self-expression. The game gives you tools, but how you utilize them to slither through the levels and assemble trick sequences contains your own flair. Like any good creative outlet, Bomb Rush allows your personality to shine through.
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A Symphony of Beats and Grinds
The upbeat, energetic soundtrack is one of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk’s strongest assets. The mix of electronic, hip hop, funk, and soul music elevates the experience to another level. Sliding and chaining combos feels amazing with these catchy beats blasting in the background.
Legendary Jet Set Radio composer Hideki Naganuma contributes several tracks, including remixes of classics like “Sneakman.” Other standout musicians like 2 Mello, Swami Sound, and Night Tempo help round out an eclectic selection of bangers that make you want to get up and move.
The composers clearly understand how to accentuate the flow and momentum of the gameplay. When you nail a long combo, the music reaches crescendos to highlight those small victories. Timed properly, big air tricks or completing challenges hit with drum crashes and melodic peaks.
Even when you’re frozen tagging a wall, the soundtrack incorporates record scratches and vocal snippets to keep the energy hyped. The game and music synchronize dynamically based on what you’re doing at any moment.
But the audio also colors the environment outside of gameplay. New Amsterdam feels alive and vibrant thanks to the ambient city noise and conversations. The tunes emanating from cars, shops, and pedestrians’ boomboxes adds local flavor. This is a world brimming with music and sound.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk melds audio and visual design together into one cohesive package. Everything synergizes to create a sensory playground. For a game about youthful rebellion and unbridled creativity, the free flowing mix of beats and tricks couldn’t be more on point. You feel like you’re rolling through a living, breathing block party.
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A Lighthearted Romp with Surprising Depth
On the surface, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk seems like a zany, frivolous game centered on insane combos and spreading graffiti. But as you progress, an unexpectedly complex narrative unravels that poses thoughtful questions.
The plot follows Red, a renowned graffiti artist whose head is lopped off and replaced with a shiny new cybernetic version. With no memory of their past identity, Red joins up with the Bomb Rush Crew to take down the evil DJ Cyber and his corporate sponsors who rule New Amsterdam.
The premise seems simplistic and absurd at first blush. But as the mysteries deepen around who Red was before their decapitation and transformation, more philosophical themes arise. Red begins to ponder the nature of identity – do our memories and origins define us, or can we forge new paths and personalities?
Supporting characters like the enigmatic Vinyl and laidback Tryce add color through their eclectic fashion and mannerisms. The old head sages guiding the crews bring wisdom and gravitas with their thought-provoking rhymes about integrity and community.
Bomb Rush tells its story through environmental details and brief exchanges rather than lengthy exposition. It’s a collage of ideas that come together organically as you explore the vibrant city. There’s commentary on corporate greed and corruption of law enforcement mingled with existential crises regarding destiny versus free will.
The tonal shifts between goofy and profound might give some players whiplash. But there’s charm in how Bomb Rush refuses to take itself too seriously even while nudging you to think about substantial concepts.
As the final revelations unfold, you see the thematic pieces click into place. On the surface, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is about flashy tricks, sick jams, and sticking it to the man. But the narrative pushes the player to reconsider their own identity and principles. Underneath the irreverent exterior lies a thoughtful experience that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
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Growing Pains of a Passion Project
While Bomb Rush Cyberfunk succeeds as a heartfelt homage, it also suffers from some repetitive design and clunky mechanics indicative of a small indie studio biting off more than they can fully polish.
The mission structure falls into a predictable pattern in each new area. You’ll tag spots, defeat rival crew challenges, evade police, and beat the boss, only for the next chapter to feature largely the same checklist. It begins to feel formulaic over a full playthrough.
Attempts to incorporate combat fail to impress, with clunky fist fights that distract more than enhance the experience. The fighting controls lack impact and flow compared to the satisfying trick system. These mandatory button mashing brawls feel out of place.
Similarly, using ramps and half pipes feels less polished than grinding. The physics and transitions don’t feel quite right, making ramps more frustrating than fun. This might disappoint players hoping for something closer to Tony Hawk’s refined pool and pipe runs.
While chaining tricks together fluidly is Bomb Rush’s crowning achievement, the trick selection feels slim in comparison to genre leaders. There simply aren’t enough options to allow for really expressive combo lines. The skill ceiling ends up feeling lower.
But the biggest detriment comes from the police chases. While a cool reference to Jet Set Radio, avoiding constantly spawning cops breaks up any sense of zen-like flow state. The challenge doesn’t mesh well with the core mechanics.
None of these flaws fully derail the experience, but they prevent Bomb Rush from reaching the upper echelon occupied by its muses. This is the price of a small team trying to revive a beloved but niche genre. Still, the rough edges don’t outweigh the infectious rhythm and rebellious spirit at the heart of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk.
A Funky Fresh Revival
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk successfully reignites the spark of cult classic Jet Set Radio, pairing vibrant visual flair with kinetic, flow-state gameplay. It taps into millennial nostalgia while introducing the aggressive bliss of extreme sports gaming to a new generation.
The cel-shaded graphics are dripping with Y2K attitude, realizing a cyberpunk future envisioned through the lens of the early 2000s. The eclectic soundtrack slaps with an energizing blend of hip hop, funk, and EDM. Stringing together combos using the smooth traversal mechanics feels hypnotic.
Small touches like high-fiving pedestrians, finding hidden collectibles, and unlocking new customization options bring the world to life. The story also takes the campy premise into surprisingly thoughtful directions. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk overflows with style and substance.
However, some repetitive mission structures, limited trick options, and half-baked combat mechanics prevent it from reaching genre-best heights. Avoiding disruptive police chases in particular goes against the freewheeling flow state Bomb Rush strives for.
Yet these are minor quibbles given the joy of sliding through a neon-bathed city leaving your mark in graffiti. When Bomb Rush Cyberfunk hits its stride, few games can match the infectious energy and creativity it unleashes. This is an easy recommendation for lapsed fans of Jet Set Radio eager to scratch that itch again.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk may not revolutionize the formula established by its beloved inspirations. But it proves there is still creative territory to explore and refine within that recipe. Let this neon time capsule transport you back to the funky, rebellious spirit of the early 2000s. The developers clearly poured their passion into recapturing the magic, and it shows in this incredibly fun homage.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is a stylish and addictive nostalgia trip that successfully channels the hip youthful energy of cult classics like Jet Set Radio. Despite some repetitive missions and clunky mechanics, Bomb Rush absolutely nails the flow state of chaining tricks together and expressing your creativity through graffiti art. It's an easy recommendation for anyone longing to return to the funky, free-wheeling world of extreme sports gaming in the early 2000s. This passion project is a must-play homage to the Y2K era.
- Smooth skating mechanics
- Nostalgic visuals and atmosphere
- Diverse customization options
- Engaging soundtrack
- Thoughtful narrative themes
- Repetitive missions
- Clunky combat
- Limited trick variety
- Issues with ramps