We’ve got a feeling that SEGA doesn’t understand the concept of love — love for the Jet Set Radio series, that is. While it’s been occasionally referenced over the years, since the early 2000s, we haven’t seen a new game. That’s about to change, as Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is dropping next year.
To be clear, though: this is a new Jet Set Radio game in everything but the name. It’s being developed by Team Reptile, and SEGA isn’t involved in any way. Yet for all intents and purposes, this is the sequel to JSR that fans have wanted for so long.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is jetting onto PC and consoles on August 18, 2023. Before you strap on your skates and groove out once more, here’s everything you need to know.
Experimental Jet Set, crash, and no sequel
After the turn of the century, it seemed like Jet Set Radio was a top franchise for SEGA. With titles for the Dreamcast, Xbox, and Game Boy Advance released within three years, the skating / platforming hybrid was extremely popular with fans. Unfortunately, SEGA hasn’t launched a new game since then, and though some signs point to a new game on the horizon, we have no concrete info yet.
Given the nostalgia for it, it’s not surprising that spiritual successors and visual imitators would happen eventually. Enter Team Reptile, a Dutch studio that developed the dodgeball fighting game Lethal League in 2014. Stylistically, that game bore a lot of resemblance to Jet Set Radio, and the company felt like a natural fit to make a new JSR title.
We don’t know if Team Reptile ever approached SEGA about reviving the franchise, or vice versa. Regardless, after finishing the sequel Lethal League Blaze in 2018, the team began work on a JSR spiritual successor called Bomb Rush Cyberfunk.
Team Reptile announced the game on Feb. 24, 2021 for a 2022 release on Steam and Nintendo Switch. (Other consoles would get versions about a week later.) Through 2022, however, no further release date was revealed until Team Reptile announced that they were delaying the game to Summer 2023. Yet with the trailers and gameplay footage released so far, fans were still excited beyond belief.
Fight the man in Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
In Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, you play as multiple kids in All City running with the Bomb Rush Crew. They’re a group of rebellious skaters and BMXers fighting against the oppression of an uncaring populace and the military police. With a combination of sports moves and tagging locations with graffiti, it’s up to you to fight the powers that be.
It’s a very, very familiar premise if you know anything about Jet Set Radio. That’s because Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is designed from the ground up to more or less be a straight adaptation of JSR for the modern day. (Hell, even the name has the exact same pronunciation rhythm.)
Of course, we don’t want to sell this game short. Just from looking at the trailers, we can already see a few innovations that set this game apart. The world of All City looks more open and less level-centric than before, giving the players more freedom to go where they want to go. We don’t know a lot about the world right now, but it looks far more extensive than anything in the JSR series to date.
Starting with the rudie-mentals
The gameplay of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk follows directly in the vein of Jet Set Radio, to the point that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s a direct continuation. You’ll be skating all around the world, picking up speed, grinding on rails, and performing tricks.
Along the way, you’ll be performing tricks left and right. Not only does this build up your score and maintain your combo, but it also helps you get around All City without touching the ground. All the cool skaters in All City (that includes you!) have custom backpacks containing rockets that help you get around with ease. Soaring to new heights is one way to own REP, which lets you challenge other crews for control over a territory.
As you’d expect, inline skates are the primary tool you’ll use throughout the game. However, Team Reptile has added bikes and skateboards as well, opening up new trick potentials. And as if that wasn’t enough, you can also get off of your ride and walk around if you want.
In short: it’s a brand new skating utopia to explore, and you’re gonna be the king of All City — if you can keep up, that is.
A retro coat of paint
You’ve already picked up on Bomb Rush Cyberfunk’s graphics, even if you aren’t familiar with the art style of Jet Set Radio. Team Reptile went for retro-style cel-shaded graphics; essentially, it’s an HD rendition of the art of SEGA’s classic games.
The models have a retro style as well, with angular and less-rounded designs overall. They’re not incredibly low-poly, but they (alongside the textures) evoke the Dreamcast era in look and movement. And in 16:9 widescreen at 60 FPS, the game looks like a SEGA nerd’s dream.
But we hear what you’re saying. Is it really a new Jet Set Radio if Hideki Naganuma isn’t composing the soundtrack? To that, I have two things to say. One: this isn’t a new Jet Set Radio. Please pay attention. Two: fret not, he IS composing the soundtrack.
That’s right: Hideki Naganuma is back composing more funky electronic tunes. Obviously, this is a huge grab for Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. It’s not a surprising one, though, as he previously contributed to the Lethal League Blaze soundtrack. But it’s awesome hearing Naganuma’s style, which many associate with JSR, once again. We don’t know if any other artists are working on this game as well, but if nothing else, Naganuma’s involvement makes us all the more excited to dive into this game.
When can you play Bomb Rush Cyberfunk?
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is developed and published by Team Reptile. It is currently under development for the Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam. The game is due to launch on August 18, 2023. Pre-orders haven’t been announced yet. Versions for PlayStation and Xbox have been confirmed to come “shortly afterwards” but no release dates have been confirmed yet.
Are you looking forward to Bomb Rush Cyberfunk? What are your memories of Jet Set Radio? Let us know!