All City – the goal of every writer in New Amsterdam. To have your crew control every territory in the city and have your art plastered all over. Only a few writers have accomplished this or even come close, and Faux is one of them. Unfortunately, he’s currently in jail, but the leader of the Bomb Rush Crew, Tryce, helps him bust out. Just as they jump over the wall, however, Faux’s head is cut off by a record from DJ Cyber. Now with a Cyberhead, Red and the rest of the BRC take on the town to dethrone DJ Cyber, find Faux’s head, and go All City.
I’ve been looking forward to Bomb Rush Cyberfunk for a long time. Along with being a spiritual successor to one of my favorite game series that SEGA willingly ignores (alongside Skies of Arcadia), it’s got loads of style. From the music to the art style to the animation to even the menus, BRC isn’t lying when it says it contains 1 second per second of advanced funkstyle.
Experiencing that advanced funkstyle is a bit like if you crossed a platformer with an extreme sports game. You jump, grind, wallride, and jet your way to All City in one of three styles: inline skates, skateboard, and BMX. Each style has unique tricks and areas they can access, but it mostly comes down to preference. You can jump with A and perform tricks with X, Y, and B. Jumping on a rail or billboard will automatically grind or wallride. In midair, you can also boost in any direction by pressing A again. Doing tricks and collecting colored cans will fill up your boost meter, which you can use with LT to shoot forward on the ground or in the air.
You can also get off of your ride by pressing LB for a bit more control. To keep your combo going between rails, you’ll need to hold RT on the ground to manual or slide. Sliding on certain surfaces will allow you to go super fast, letting you keep your combo going much easier. Just doing tricks in a single combo will get you points, but doing wallrides or leaning into turns on rails will successively multiply your score. Once you master your moves and the environment, you can rack up a massive amount of points in a single combo to absolutely destroy any other crew in a head-to-head battle for turf.
Of course, you won’t be able to challenge them before you have enough Rep, which you get by tagging their territory and over their graffiti by pressing RB at yellow highlighted spots. You’ve got a lot of art to paint, and can decide between different tags by inputting directions like a password. There’s a ton of art from several different artists, and it’s worth unlocking all of it (you can find graffiti, new outfits, music, and more out in the city) just to look at it.
Moving and painting around New Amsterdam is incredibly fun on its own. I love getting massive combos, reaching tough graffiti spots, or high fiving all the tiny mailmen in one go just for how good the game feels to play. While my favorite style was skating, skateboards and bikes feel just as good, though skateboards do feel like their manuals are slower than the other two for some reason. Even so, you can get used to it, and tricking along to the incredible soundtrack is enough to forget any oddities.
Combat doesn’t feel quite as good. Graffiti is illegal after all, so the cops are gonna come after you eventually and they’re ruthless. They’ll use turrets to cuff you, send attack drones, and even use lethal force. You can disable their tech or get some officers off your back by tricking into them or tagging them. There’s no real point to fighting them outside of mandatory sections though, because they’ll just keep coming forever. You can’t just ignore them, however, because bullets will kill you super fast and are sometimes impossible to avoid. Each time I got to 5 stars, I would seek out a porta-potty to reset things and maybe change my outfit. I don’t think the game would be better off without cops chasing you, but as it works now, it’s more annoying than an interesting mechanic.
Boss fights are likewise hit and miss. Some of them are a lot of fun and use the game’s mechanics well, like the mech you go up against a few times, while others look and feel awkward, like the fights against Riedvelt. There’s usually one or two bosses per chapter, but I never found myself looking forward to them like I did the battles against other gangs.
The most annoying part of the game is actually the latter half of a single level: Pyramid Island. This is a vertical oriented area, already making it annoying to fall off after a single mistake, but on top of that, actually getting to the peak is super obfuscated. After reaching the mid level, you need to grind up the inside of a pipe, ignoring all other pathways that branch off. I was actually stuck here for quite some time before giving up and reading a guide, and the rest of the level wasn’t as fun as other parts of the game, either.
Thankfully the two parts that are constantly amazing are the visuals and the soundtrack. The low poly, cel shaded, and pixel art textures all look amazing. It’s a treat to find new recruitable characters, who all have incredible designs like Tryce, Bel, and Vinyl, and see what the next area has to offer. The game has a photo mode (using a retro flip phone) so you can take all the gorgeous shots you want. Likewise, I need the soundtrack on vinyl, because it is full of non-stop bangers. With artists like Hideki Naganuma, Ethan Goldhammer, Kilowatts, 2 Mello, and many more, there’s always something to listen to.
I didn’t go into BRC expecting much, if any, story, but I was surprised by how compelling the plot was. The mysteries of who Red is, where Faux’s head went, and why DJ Cyber killed him have tons of twists and turns, with great characters and some laugh out loud moments too. It’s cool, fun, and just the right amount of artsy. The writing itself can be awkward a lot of the time though, with a lack of contractions or just weird sentences popping up, but it’s still perfectly understandable and just needs another pass to be fixed.
David is the kind of person to wear his heart on his sleeve. He can find positives in anything, like this is a person who loved Star Fox Zero to death. You’ll see him playing all kinds of games: AAAs, Indies, game jam games, games of all genres, and writing about them! Here. On this website. When not writing or playing games, you can find David making music, games, or enjoying a good book.
David’s favorite games include NieR: Automata, Mother 3, and Gravity Rush.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk has a few problems, but so much soul you can’t help but love it. The simple joy of movement alone is well worth writing all over New Amsterdam, but so are the music, visuals, and story. Sure, there are bumps in the road, but they won’t stop you from going All City.