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Bomb Rush Cyberfunk – Zero Punctuation


This week on Zero Punctuation, Yahtzee reviews Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. And if you subscribe to The Escapist Patreon or YouTube memberships, you can view next week’s episode, on Lies of P and Chants of Sennaar, right now!

For more major games Yahtz has reviewed lately, check out Starfield, Sea of Stars, En Garde! and Blasphemous 2, Baldur’s Gate 3, Viewfinder and My Friendly Neighborhood, Remnant 2, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy XVI, System Shock (2023), and Diablo IV.

And check out Yahtzee’s other series, Extra Punctuation, where he’s recently talked about BioShock’s incredible opening, and why Baldur’s Gate 3‘s romance just isn’t very interesting.

We have a merch store as well: Visit the store for ZP merch.

Related: Do August 2023’s New Gaming IPs Have A Future?

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk Zero Punctuation Transcript

Oh boy I’ve been looking forward to Bomb Rush Cyber Funk. And yes, that was the last time I’m going to call it by its actual name. We like to have fun taking the piss out of titles here on Zero Punctuation and this is enough meat to see me through the winter, right here, can’t even say it without sounding like a confused grandparent reading aloud the highlighted words on the side of their grandchild’s can of energy drink. Talk about a verbal car crash. I don’t even know where to put the dry heave, or even if I’d be dry heaving because of unnecessary colons or just dry heaving unrelatedly. Well anyway. Pace yourself, Yahtz, start with a mild one. Bum Rush Cyber Flunk is a new game very deliberately setting out to evoke the Dreamcast’s classic graffiti skating game Jet Set Radio, also known as Jet Grind Radio, apparently in accordance with the rule that this kind of thing has to be titled the way an oblivious mother dresses their child in a three-piece tartan suit for their first day of school. This isn’t one of those Bloodstained or Mighty No. 9 also-by-the-same-author stealth remake situations, the original devs aren’t involved as far as I know, but the desire to be a pseudo-stealth sequel to Jet Something Radio hangs off of Bum Flush Khyber Junk like an infected piercing.

It’s got a similar visual style, i.e., like the Saturday morning cartoon version of You Got Served, and it’s gone out of its way to look convincingly like a game on the Dreamcast, i.e., like a Playmobil set based on the above that got sneezed on by a coal miner, all janky animation and blurry textures. And of course the gameplay is based around skating through a futuristic city, doing graffiti and outfoxing a ludicrously overfunded police department. All set to music that sounds like a very excitable person got their synthesizer caught in a car door. The story is, you play a graffiti artist skater boi who gets busted out of prison by another graffiti artist skater boi, but gets decapitated by an insane DJ on the way out. So the second skater boi, instead of, like, calling a doctor or asking if you’re OK or anything like that, jams a robot head on your body and announces you’re going to help him and his crew take over the city, his crew consisting of you, him, and some perpetually jiggling girl who hangs around very conspicuously not explaining her presence.

From this I got the impression that the plot of Poo Tush Pile o’ Spunk doesn’t actually matter that much, which is a shame, because it started mattering later on and I kinda wished I’d paid more attention. Meanwhile your actual task is to go to each district of the city, paint over all the occupying gang’s graffiti and then challenge them to a stylish skating contest. Thankfully this isn’t one of those serious skating games where there’s a dedicated control for everything from pushing off to diving face-first into a concrete step. Again, it’s the Saturday morning cartoon version – you snap onto grind rails like they’re made of streaky bacon and your board is an unsupervised labrador, and then press buttons to do tricks. “Oh but don’t just randomly mash the trick buttons,” warns one of your NPC friends. And then the actual gameplay waits for her to leave and says “Yeah, just randomly mash the trick buttons, it’s fine.” Still, I was missing something, because when I challenged the Southside Crapouts or whatever the very first, easiest to beat gang in the game were called, they proceeded to stomp me in stylishness points no matter how many ollies I cracked off in a row.

I dropped the game for a few days after that, but something made me go back. Maybe it was every other game I played that week not quite scratching the right square inch of bollock, or maybe it was the innate charm of Bong Hit Cider Drunk’s retro graphics, tragically 90’s vibe and endless parade of gyrating bottoms. I returned to the battlefield and remembered that games about rewarding stylishness very rarely actually do. I mean, if an AI can’t even point out all the squares containing traffic lights why would you think it knows anything about style? No, the thing to do in this sort of game is figure out the one thing the game gives inordinately high points to and then do that over and over again. In the case of Bum Gush Diarrhoea Bucket, your secret weapon is the corner. Yes, those innocuous seeming points where two grind rails meet from different angles aren’t just jolly useful for pedestrian safety, they’re the secret path to victory. Every time you lean into a corner while rail grinding, you add one to your score multiplier, and that shit mounts up. You do have to lean into it, though. Circumnavigate an entire food court while standing upright, boo, amateur hour, sod off back to the swingset, Tommy Pickles.

Do exactly the same thing while leaning slightly to the right, yay, superstar, consider yourself served, rest of universe. Your other secret weapon is the manual button. See, your combo immediately ends if you touch the ground. Even if you so much as prod it with a toe in between using your skateboard to perform high-level particle physics experiments. But, if you hold down the right trigger as you land, you do a manual, and that does not break your combo. Then you can manual your way over flat ground until you find another grind rail with another seven or eight corners, or as I prefer to call then, angel clitorises. So again, do nine thousand tricks and touch the ground, that’s scrub shit, go get a job in the toilets so you can scrub shit some more. Do nine thousand tricks and touch the ground with your feet at a slight angle, all hail the new emperor of the cosmos. And once I knew all that, Bog Brush Cyber Twat was almost trivially easy. Although I was having fun. Sometimes it’s nice to play a game that doesn’t feel the need to point a nailgun at my gonads and command me to dance, and I could zone out and lose myself for hours just skating around the city, idly wondering if the game’s interface will bugger up if I get my combo over 999.

I do have black marks on my examination sheet. The combat is a complete wash, it’s like slapping balloons on a conveyer belt, so the police are more of an irritant than a challenge. The five enemy gangs you go up against are a bit underdeveloped as characters, and during the battle sequences I might as well have been pitting my skills against a Dance Dance Revolution machine hanging from a meathook. And the music ranges from decent to someone’s beating me to death with a malfunctioning drum machine, and I kept hearing the same songs over and over again, so either there aren’t enough tracks or that was when the concussion set in. But that’s all baby new potatoes compared to the butternut squash that is the fact that Plop Splutch Spider Haemhorrhoid is a fun game. I’ve always had a soft spot for pure traversal gameplay and this hits a good balance between skill and breezy fun. I admire how you don’t unlock abilities, they’re all available from the start and you just have to figure them out. And after I had, I could restart the game and when the jiggly lady in the tutorial went “See if you can get a combo of ten!” I could go “You mean like this?” And then still be comboing into the hundreds hours later long after her face had been fully melted off. This isn’t nostalgia; I never played Jet Set Radio and never owned a Dreamcast, because… well, one hardly needs to justify that statement, I’ve also never put my bellend in a hole punch.

About the author

Yahtzee Croshaw
Yahtzee is the Escapist’s longest standing talent, having been writing and producing its award winning flagship series, Zero Punctuation, since 2007. Before that he had a smattering of writing credits on various sites and print magazines, and has almost two decades of experience in game journalism as well as a lifelong interest in video games as an artistic medium, especially narrative-focused. He also has a foot in solo game development - he was a big figure in the indie adventure game scene in the early 2000s - and writes novels. He has six novels published at time of writing with a seventh on the way, all in the genres of comedic sci-fi and urban fantasy. He was born in the UK, emigrated to Australia in 2003, and emigrated again to California in 2016, where he lives with his wife and daughters. His hobbies include walking the dog and emigrating to places.