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Review: Jack Move – A short, sharp, and extremely gripping cyberpunk RPG

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked). Most JRPGs don't venture into science fiction these days. Although big franchises like Final Fantasy ..

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked).

Most JRPGs don't venture into science fiction these days. Although big franchises like Final Fantasy and Xenoblade don't mind mixing in tech, it's rare to see developers completely commit to a world where all machines and robots are present. Jack Move is refreshing in this respect. This is a short, traditional, fast-paced JRPG that takes place in a cyberpunk world. It's innovative and fun to play.

Jack Move takes place in near future cyberpunk society, where governments are virtually powerless and huge conglomerates rule supreme. You play the role of Noa. She is a hacker and hacker who regularly attacks corporations and sells information on the black marketplace. Noa and Ryder are just going about their normal business when Ryder receives a message. He warns her that Monomind, a corporation he has been working on, may be after her. Monomind kidnaps Ryder's father shortly after. Ryder and Noa then embark on a mission to find out the truth about his latest research project.



Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked).

The plot is well-paced and the worldbuilding helps to make it a compelling story. Conversations with NPCs provide a glimpse into the daily life in Bright Town. Cute slang such as "Gigafloppin!" and "Digits!" are used by characters to give the world some personality. The story is short and the character development feels shallow. However, it's easy to fall in love with Jack Move's world because of how it charms you. It is obvious that a lot was done to add little details and vignettes. For example, Noa often engages in friendly insult matches with an NPC. All these details add up to create something with texture and meaning.

Combat follows a turn-based system, but you can only have one person for the duration of the game. Noa is a skilled fighter but must be her own back in all her battles. This leads to the inclusion a soft job system that allows her to be very versatile. Noa's actions and skills are determined by her available RAM. Each action takes up a specific number of blocks. There are only a few actions you can fit in your RAM at once, but you have the option to 'Patch' any time to swap out abilities. We started a boss fight by having a few key debuff abilities ready to go in order to suppress their stats. Later, we added some buff abilities to increase our own and then we went all out on attack actions in an effort to bring them down.



Captured on Nintendo Switch.

Although most fights against common enemies don’t last very long, we appreciate how cleverly this system still gives the feeling of having a group while fighting with one character. Noa feels capable of facing any challenge she encounters, even when outnumbered. She only gets one action for every two or three the enemy can use. The Golden Sun-esque concept of changing your character mid-battle and having to give and take makes every decision feel meaningful.

There are more to fighting than swapping RAM. However, there is a simple rock paper-scissors system you can leverage to exploit enemy weaknesses. For example, a purple 'Wetware attack against a green enemy will be extremely effective. Many enemies have color-coded weaknesses to make it easy for you to identify them. This passive effect can also increase your Jack Move meter. This is a Limit Break and allows you to launch a devastating attack on the entire enemy team once it's full. It can often stop the fight at the first sign of trouble. You can also play a short DDR-esque minigame before you execute each Jack Move. This will greatly increase the damage output and make it even more devastating.



Captured on Nintendo Switch.

The turn window at the corner can also help to tip the balance. It shows which enemies are coming after Noa and when they will attack. You can use this information to either eliminate an enemy or speed up Noa's actions to allow you to take more actions in a shorter time. Developer So Romantic offers multiple tools that can increase your chances of success. This makes fights more exciting and prevents them from becoming too boring.

You guide Noa through intricate cities, datascapes and junkyards. If you are in a dungeon, there will be an indicator in the upper corner of the screen that will indicate when the next battle will occur. Although you won't be attacked immediately if your inventory is full, it could happen anytime. You can also toggle the speed of the filling to decrease or stop the entire process. However, this option could lead to Noa becoming too low-leveled to keep up with the increasing difficulty.



Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked).

Noa's character growth is not limited to traditional levels. Each software action can gain experience and be upgraded to increase its effectiveness in battle. Sidequests and buying software from shops around town can unlock a lot of different software. It feels like you are always five minutes away of unlocking another tool to increase your arsenal. It's amazing how Jack Move feels like Jack Move is a longer game than it actually is. The enemy levels and stats increase quickly but Noa's ability increases at a comparable rate. It doesn't feel like the difficulty spikes too often.

The story should be completed in a maximum of ten hours. Side quests can be done to increase the time, and you may get distracted by a boss fight or two. However, it is one of the fastest RPGs you will ever experience. The power ramp is a great thing. It allows you to level up faster and get better equipment. However, those who love deep JRPGs may feel a bit disappointed. The game's short length is appreciated by us as it doesn't have any unneeded cutscenes or ill-conceived game mechanics.



Captured on Nintendo Switch.

Jack Move's presentation is a hi-bit style. It reminds us of titles like Katana Zero and Aegis Defenders. The art is characterized by sharp HD pixel art and smooth character animations. Jack Move's world isn’t always gritty. However, we loved how it integrated other elements of cyberpunk, such as spider-bots and street hackers, along with ad-filled neon screens that swathe rainy cities to create a vibrant and colorful world.

The soundtrack mixes synthwave, lo fi, and industrial music to create a nostalgic and intense atmosphere. Although we would have liked to see more songs in the overall playlist, what is here is excellent work.

Conclusion

Although it may not be a long-lasting experience, Jack Move manages the essential elements of a great cyberpunk JRPG adventure. It's a well-paced, engaging, and memorable release. This is thanks to the imaginative battle system, captivating world, and attractive graphics. Jack Move is a JRPG that focuses so heavily on science fiction tropes. It isn't often you will see one like this. Highly recommended.

It's an innovative, flexible battle system. Well-paced story. Colorful hi-bit visuals. Excellent910 Scoring Policy Review Copy provided by HYPETRAIN DIGTAL
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