Bomb Rush Cyberfunk Review: Nearly Perfect

Team Reptile finally released their long anticipated high speed platformer Bomb Rush Cyberfunk on August 18th, 2023. I have been anticipating this game ever since the initial reveal and bought it day one. The game sees player’s take control of a graffiti writing crew who wants to become the most well known gang in New Amsterdam via tagging their art all over the city. Before we talk about the game itself, I would first like to highlight the features that took center stage during the marketing: The visuals.

The visuals of this game are perfect. The art direction of the game wanted to pay homage to the sixth generation of consoles and it absolutely nailed those vibes. The low poly look to every character gives it a unique style among modern games and makes each design look memorable. One could even argue that looking beautiful by unconventional standards adds to the punk aesthetic of the game.

Don’t be deceived by the visuals though, this is still a modern game and has all the advantages that comes with it. One of those advantages being how much smoother games control nowadays. A game like this, that is all about moving from location to location while spraying graffiti or doing tricks lives and dies on its controls. Thankfully, Team Reptile was able to absolutely nail this aspect of the game.

The main aspect of this game is speed and keeping your momentum. Almost any action you take, from doing tricks to spraying graffiti will give you points that’ll raise your boost gauge. A normal trick on its own will only fill the gauge a miniscule amount though, which is why the player will want to get point multipliers that’ll increase your score and the boost gauge. To get these multipliers the player must either run along a way or hold their analog stick the same direction a grind rail turns. Both of these also give the player a small speed boost.

Every movement you make feels perfect. The process of jumping onto a rail, spraying some graffiti mid-grind, and then sliding off to make your way toward another rail feels fun the entire game. While you are essentially doing the same thing it never gets boring due to a combination of the game’s smooth controls and the stage variety. Running, skateboarding, and rollerblading all have you move around slightly differently, with the later two having you take much wider turns and have a harder time stopping, but it never becomes a hassle. These slightly different control schemes all feel good in their own ways which makes switching between characters feel good.

Keeping this speed and momentum going the entire game feels exhilarating. Getting a x10, x25, or even a x50 combo multiplier can be difficult if you haven’t gotten used to the stage you’re currently moving around in, especially since the player cannot repeatedly use the same walls or grind rails during a combo, as they only count a single time. Thankfully the game does an excellent job at getting you used to each stage before that truly matters.

Team Reptiles’s stage designers are absolutely geniuses at stage structure. Not only is moving around each stage an absolute joy, but the actual structure of the game’s content is perfect at teaching you how to take advantage of the design. Each stage of the game has players run around to spray graffiti and raise their rep in the area. After their rep raises a certain amount they will encounter a member of the opposing crew who will task the player to complete a challenge. These challenges all involve skating down a specific part of the stage or getting a certain amount of points in a short amount of time, teaching players what parts of a stage are best for getting quick points.

After completing three or four of these challenges from the rival crew, the player will be thrown into a big crew battle where they must gain a larger amount of points than the opposition within three minutes. Because the player has already gone through several challenges in this area they know exactly what to do and where to go for quick points. Even though the game held the player’s hand during the initial challenges by showing them exactly what route they should take through a stage for the best points, this still makes the player’s feel smart as they were able to finish the crew battle on their own. While the game has a stage-based structure, it can also be classified as an open world game because the city of New Amsterdam is one large world separated into five smaller hubs that the player can revisit at any time. Because of this structure the game can embrace being part of another game genre that I absolutely love: the collect-a-thon.

The moment that made me know I would absolutely love this game came shortly after the second gang battle, when I got my first map. Those of you who have read other reviews of mine know well that I absolutely love searching for and obtaining collectables in video games. So obtaining a map that shows me the locations of all walls I can graffiti in a game that controls this well? Yeah, I was hooked. Other than walls to tag, the game’s collectibles take the form of new types of graffiti patterns, outfits the player can wear (with each character having four different outfits), and new songs for the player to listen to while they play the game.

These collectibles can be found either just floating around the game’s world or by completing optional movement challenges that take the form of robotic signs that have their hands up in a high-five position. If the player can skate through all these high-five signs they will be able to enter a booth that will have a collectible waiting inside for them. Some of these challenges are easy and require you to hit only three signs while others require the player to be skilled and hit nine signs in a single combo. Always knowing that I could reach something and that I just needed to master movement to get to it makes every individual item feel like an accomplishment to obtain.

The graffiti patterns in particular are a fun type of collectible. Whenever spraying graffiti, the game has the player move their analog stick in several directions to select what type of art you want to spray, with there being a ton of different types of art. The freedom to spray whatever kind of pattern you want allows each player to put their own personal touch to their playthrough. In a game that fully embraces a punk aesthetic and breaking norms, giving the player even a small amount of freedom like this is appreciated.

The one part of the game that I cannot compliment is the combat system. You have a basic punch and a kick that sends enemies flying into the air, once they are airborne you can graffiti them like any wall for extra damage. I do not mind having this combat around when I have gained the attention of police and they surround me as I tag a wall, as it allows me to shake off my pursuers in a cool way. It however becomes a chore whenever the game decides to either lock you in a room with enemies or a boss fight. As you’ll often repeat the same attack over and over, knocking the enemies just far enough away that you’ll need to walk up to them again to continue attacking. The only boss battles I truly enjoyed were the ones that required me to grind up to a weak point and attack it, as opposed to just punching the boss. Movement is where this game excels and I wish boss fights took better advantage of that.

There were a few technical issues that slightly soured my experience with the game as well. One issue I had was that cutscenes would occasionally become an entirely black screen until I pressed the A button, causing me to miss dialogue completely. This eventually went away as the game progressed but it still plagued the early game.

An issue that did last the entire game however was the long loading times. Whenever the player transitions to a new area or dies they will be subject to a long loading screen that can take upwards of a minute. Thankfully areas in the game are large so you aren’t often transitioning between them but it was still a noticeable issue. Especially since music cuts out completely during load times, leaving you staring at a white screen in silence.

I also encountered issues with the game crashing twice during my short playthrough. Both of these crashes happened during loading screen after cutscenes. The worst of which happened after I defeated the final boss, which made me miss out on the credits of the game entirely as the auto save was after them. I’m hoping this crashing issue and the cutscene issue I mentioned earlier get fixed in a later patch.

Despite all of these issues, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk remained an incredibly fun and engaging experience from start to finish. The minute to minute action of grinding across rails and spraying graffiti never stopped being fun. This game is easily one of the top ten releases of 2023 so far and I heavily encourage giving the game a chance.

8 thoughts on “Bomb Rush Cyberfunk Review: Nearly Perfect”

  1. It’s been so good to hear that it’s turned out so good. I remember the last indie extreme sports thing I was keeping an eye on…not turning out that well. SkateBIRD. (Sigh)

  2. […] Finally, the player can recruit a member of the Futurism crew in the Mataan district of New Amsterdam. She can be found skating around the statue that led you to the final boss during the last chapter of the game.Like every other rival crew member you’ll need to beat her high score to recruit her. At this point getting a high score of over 5,000,000 in under three minutes is an easy task. Just remember to increase your combo meter on grind rails and to constantly do tricks while boosting. Upon completing the challenge you’ll unlock Futurism as a selectable character at any Cypher Pad. Her default playstyle is the bicycle, but the player can change this at any time by going to their Hideout.If you are reading this guide, please consider reading my full review of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. […]

Leave a Reply