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Try the Jack Move demo and do cybers at some punks

There’s something adorable about how literally the Jack Move demo commits to its cyberpunk setting. Right off the bat, you’ve got yourself some punks of the ’80s green mohawked, chain-slinging variety, and you can do cyber things at them with electricity and computer viruses. I’m not entirely sure what the game’s own rationale for all of this working is, but I dig the synth soundtrack, and there’s some gentle combat depth even in this demo of So Romantic’s upcoming JRPG. Put on your best night-time sunglasses and grab the demo off Itch here, or see some more scenes in the video below.

From playing the demo, I’d like to think that Jack Move is the platonic ideal of an early 90s, mostly kid-friendly cyberpunk game on consoles of the era. Sure, there’s scrapyards and seemingly constant rain dripping off neon signs, but it’s also the story of a plucky young hacker girl on an adventure. Battles follow standard turn-based JRPG format, with physical and magical damage types effectively swapped out for ‘electroware’ and ‘cyberware’. Some enemies need a good zap, others need their Gibsons hacked.

You can only have a limited number of ‘programs’ (spells) loaded at any given time, but can have three pre-set decks that you can switch between in combat if your current loadout isn’t cutting the mustard. It effectively allows you to adjust what role or class you play, covering the gaps you’d expect from playing as a single character in a JRPG. Hard to get a read on how much more complex it’ll become in the full game, but it’s not mindless even in this gentle introduction.

So Romantic reckon that the final game will be a short-ish adventure by genre standards, not stretching its story not far past the 10-hour mark. Considering I’ve played some RPGs that are still introducing you to basic combat systems at that point, it’s refreshing to see something with turn-based combat aiming at being a bit more compact. Hopefully this won’t come at the cost of depth or difficulty, but sometimes combat is just means to an end to move the story forward anyway. Whatever the case turns out to be, the demo made me feel like a ’90s kid again, so I’m on board.

You can grab the Jack Move demo here on Itch. Depending on how much you play around with its systems, it’ll take you about half an hour to get through. So Romantic’s official page estimates a 2021 launch and a price around £15/$20.

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Dominic Tarason

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