It’s funny remembering a game you’ve never played. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk’s latest gameplay trailer triggered all kinds of nostalgia for me, but it’s not out until next year. Either I’m a time-traveller, or the skating graffiti game is managing to ape Jet Set Radio so expertly that it’s indistinguishable from my memories of the Dreamcast game. I don’t already know tonight’s lottery numbers, so it’s probably the second one.
The game knows it, too. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk lets you grind, flip, and spray your way across a futuristic city. The colourful cyberpunk world is built for skaters to traverse every surface while pulling ridiculous poses. Gravity barely acknowledges you as you attempt to tag high spots with your name and art. This isn’t just an act of expression, but of aggression. There are other skate gangs around, who’ll defend their territory. And the police, who’ll fire tracking missiles after you. That seems like overkill to me. Can’t they just tie the skater’s shoelaces together?
Chaining combos and tagging will boost your speed, creating the sort of flow that my memories of Jet Set Radio are made of (I have definitely wiped my brain of all the awkward stumbles I had). Things are a little bit more involved: tagging requires you to hit specific nodes while you’re painting, and the faster you do it, the better your score.
It’s been 21 years since the original Jet Set Radio was released. Either it’s an evergreen game, or it was way ahead of its time, as Bomb Rush Cyberfunk doesn’t really come across as a game out of time. In fact, it’ll be 22 years between the OG ska-fitti game and Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, as it’s not out until 2022.