Action Arcade Review

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk – Review

Team Reptile is perhaps best known for their work on the Lethal League games, competitive 2D games with an artistic flair similar to Jet Set Radio. Jet Set Radio itself has been on radio silence for more than two decades now. Team Reptile’s latest project, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, aims to fill the shoes left behind by its inspirations.

Jet Set Cyberpunk

Let’s cut to the chase: this game is Jet Set Radio 3 in all but name. From visuals, to music, to gameplay, it’s all expanded or reworked versions of what you’ve seen in the original game and its sequel. Even small things like narration being done by the characters talking like radio hosts and characters dancing to the beat on the character select screen evoke extremely similar vibes. A lot of it is quite similar, but Bomb Rush Cyberfunk takes several steps to evolve and deviate from the formula that inspired it.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk - Over the City

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is a game where you play as one of several characters from the ‘Bomb Rush Crew’. You’ll explore the large and open-ended environments of New Amsterdam in style, hopping from all manner of objects and platforms. It’s a seamless mixture of platforming and skating games. All the while you’ll be spraying graffiti in designated spots to raise your reputation in the city, which is crucial for progressing the story.

What separates this game from its inspirations are the ways in which you control your characters. You’ll still gain speed and momentum through rail grinding, sliding, and wall running, but you also have access to a boost maneuver. By doing tricks or collecting fuel, you can boost at the press of a button and gain a burst of speed. It might not seem like such a big deal in a game like this, but the boost has saved me several times from messing up platforming sequences or getting caught by enemies.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk - Graffiti Pose

The more subtle, but bigger change, is the introduction of an air dash. By pressing the jump again in mid-air you’ll get a short directional boost, in whatever direction you happen to be holding. This can be done at any time, no matter what speed you’re going at. Air dashing opens up a huge suite of new possibilities and interactions with level design, as there is a greater emphasis on verticality and moving up in order to progress. On top of the boost, you also have access to bikes, rollerblades, and a skateboard. All of these have slightly different stats that affect how you play. They’re not game-changers, but they’re nice additions if you want to express yourself a bit differently.

All told, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is an impressive take on the Jet Set Radio formula. Each change and new mechanic feels like a meaningful addition to what its inspirations were striving for, whilst not being so big as to distract from its elegant simplicity.

Flows And Combos

The key defining factor of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk when stacked up to its contemporaries is its scoring system. Rather than being ranked based on performance at the end of a level or mission, you’re instead scored based on your interaction with the environment. Comboing together a series of uninterrupted actions nets you points, and that combo will end as soon as you stop or land on the ground. It’s similar in a sense to Jet Set Radio Future but, thanks to the aforementioned mechanics, it feels more like a Tony Hawk game.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk - Rail Grind

Through rail grinding, doing tricks, making use of boost, sliding, and so on, you can rack up points for a high score. Whilst that is all well and good, what’s more important than gaining points is increasing your score multiplier. By making hard turns on rails, going up ramps, and jumping on billboards, your score will multiply. However, they only multiply for each object you uniquely interact with during a combo, so you can’t rack up a big score by staying in the same small area. Large combos demand that you understand the full breadth of your surroundings, and master movement well enough to not accidentally break it when going for higher scores.

You also have access to Manual movement, allowing you to slide across the ground and gain points until you hit your next rail or wall to bounce on. However, your combo will end if you hit a set of stairs, run out of stamina, or hit a wall that kills your forward movement. It’s a nice and tense element that adds a sprinkle of freedom to the way you build your combos, whilst still requiring a lot of forethought to make the most use of.

I recall being really proud when I first managed to scrape up a million points through comboing, but it wasn’t long before that felt like chump change to me. Three million, five million, ten million and more was what I was aiming for before long. At times I ignored the main story for hours just to see how far I can push both myself and the game’s systems. Your fingers won’t be happy about it, as it’s a very input-heavy game, but that’s a small price to pay for such an awesome system.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk - Police

You’ll Never Catch Me, Coppers

Another big aspect of play is the “Heat” system. This indicates the level of trouble you’re in with law enforcement. Graffiti is a crime, and the police of New Amsterdam want you to know it. With each spot of the map that you paint with graffiti, your rising Rep will attract the attention of authorities. At first, things will start small and the most you’ll get are a handful of officers trying to catch you on-foot whilst they smack you around with their batons. They’re easy enough to fight off or simply dodge, but the more you vandalize or fight back, the more their attempts to stop you escalate dramatically.

Things might start at simply fighting off police, but eventually they’ll send in drones, riot shield officers, attack helicopters, snipers, and even full-on mecha. A dramatic response to simple vandalism? Yes. A great element of play that adds tension to your vandalism? Also yes. By having the ever-present eye of police under your consideration, players will have to route out which spots to graffiti over first. Larger spots that reward more Rep are also more prone to attracting police that will need to be fought off or avoided. It’s also here where the game’s combat takes center stage.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk - Mecha Fight

Come Catch These Hands

The combat in Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is a mixed bag. How fun it ends up being to engage with depends heavily on the context. When it’s just me and the police, it’s rather boring and I don’t tend to engage with them unless forced to. You have a basic set of punches and kicks, and can use graffiti to damage enemies as well. That would be fine on paper since combat isn’t the game’s focus but, with how often you’re forced to engage with it, it can kind of come off that way.

That isn’t to say that combat is without its merits. During encounters that combine intricate movement with fisticuffs it can be exciting, and add that extra cherry of satisfaction to clearing some objectives. A particular highlight happens fairly early in the game. You’re forced to deal with several snipers in a small area by utilizing the level design to navigate around their fire and laying the smackdown on them when you get close. It’s moments like these that make me enjoy the combat quite a bit, but they didn’t happen as often as I’d have liked.

There’s also one minor annoyance that creeps up regularly in the midst of play, and it’s the cutscenes that occur when your Heat level rises. They’re short and inoffensive by themselves, but they’re unskippable and happen too frequently for my liking. I’ve dropped more than a handful of combos because of these. An option to disable them would have gone a long way in preventing such frustration.

Graffiti Is Art

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk’s visuals are a mixture of Jet Set Radio and Lethal League at a glance. The whole game uses a comic-like cel shading effect that looks quite pleasing. Hard colors punctuate the environments and character design. Characters themselves are modeled in a way that’s very reminiscent of old Dreamcast titles, with everyone being angular and sharp as opposed to smooth and rounded. If the goal was to evoke the same feeling that those games did then it’s a resounding success. Though that wouldn’t be giving the full picture of the depth given to the art design.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk’s main artistic strength lies in how effortlessly it conveys the disparate personalities of the population of New Amsterdam. No one gang is ever clothed similarly, their graffiti is different, and even their animations are nothing alike. Everyone dances with pomp and swagger, but the beat they move to always runs at a different rhythm. Even the ways they talk feel distinct. It goes even further than that though.

Characters with robotic heads still use flip phones, cops shoot with regular guns and weapons lifted from anime, and there exist both wheeled cars and hover cars too. It all gives the sense that New Amsterdam is this special place that exists outside the boundaries of time’s forward march. Everyone just does their own thing because they want to — not because of trends or progressions in technology. It’s a subtle but effective way of communicating the importance of finding a personal style that works for you, and not just slotting yourself into boxes or stereotypes.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk - Soundtrack Selection

Beats And Vibes

The year’s still far from over, but I would be surprised if Bomb Rush Cyberfunk wasn’t my favorite soundtrack of 2023, and by a fairly wide margin at that. Although Hideki Naganuma is perhaps the most famous contributor to the soundtrack, I would be remiss not to give credit to everyone else involved, especially the likes of 2 Mello and SkyBlew. There isn’t a single song here that’s anything less than an absolute banger. Despite how disparate the songs are, all of them fit the vibes of the game perfectly. There’s a wide number of genres on display including rap, trance, drum ‘n bass, and more.

The music crafted for specific story beats sounds excellent as well. There are so many great songs that I’m at a loss as to which is my favorite. Thankfully, I’m not forced to pick. Most songs are pre-compiled in mixtapes that seamlessly transition from one tune to the next. If I want to pick my favorite song from the bunch and have it on repeat, that’s also an option. CDs were my favorite collectible to find, and the soundtrack was the biggest reason why. It’s obvious why there’s a dedicated button just for dancing, and why most characters in the game are seen getting down without a care in the world. It’s an easy thing to want to do with beats like these.


I’m confident in saying that Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is a game that easily and decisively manages to surpass its inspirations. The few stumbles it makes are the result of overconfidence in its own build. This confidence is rarely ever misplaced though, and is often to the benefit of the rest of the game. It takes its own status as the unofficial Jet Set Radio 3, runs with it, and then takes a victory lap just for kicks. Even after I had rolled the credits and saw what I presumed to be all the game could offer, it gave me even more on top of that. This is Team Reptile’s tour de force.


Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One
Purchase: Humble Store (Steam PC)

If you are looking for more action games you might want to check out our first impressions of Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon.

Thank you to Team Reptile for providing a Nintendo Switch review code for Bomb Rush Cyberfunk.

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