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Review: Jack Move

Jack Move Review - Screenshot 1 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

It feels as though most JRPGs nowadays dont really tread much into hard science fiction. Sure, big franchises like Final Fantasy or Xenoblade arent afraid to combine in a few tech alongside their magic, but its rare that youll see developers fully invest in a global thats all robots and computers. In this regard, Jack Move is really a breath of oxygen. What we’ve this is a brief, well-paced, and thoroughly traditional JRPG occur a cyberpunk universe. It’s surprisingly innovative and a delight to play through.

Jack Move occurs in a near-future, cyberpunk society where governments are effectively impotent and enormous conglomerates reign supreme. You undertake the role of Noa, a chipper hacker who routinely participates in attacks on corporations and sells sensitive home elevators the black market. Noa and her partner-in-crime, Ryder, are simply just carrying on with business as usual when she receives a note from her estranged father, who warns her a corporation called Monomind could be after her due to something hes been focusing on. Soon after this, Monomind kidnaps her dad, starting Noa and Ryder on a quest to free him and move on to underneath of his latest research study.

Jack Move Review - Screenshot 2 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

It is a well-paced plot completely which is greatly along with the strong worldbuilding on the way. Conversations with NPCs help build out a feeling of what lifestyle is similar to in a location like Bright Town, while cute slang like Digits! or Gigafloppin! exclaimed by characters help imbue the planet with some personality. Character development feels just a little shallow given the relatively short amount of the complete narrative, but its hard never to get mounted on Jack Move’s world given just how much it charms the ball player. Clearly there is plenty of effort placed into adding little details and vignettes to round out the knowledge, such as for example an NPC who Noa repeatedly enters friendly insult matches with, and each one of these small details soon add up to make something with real texture and meaning.

Combat follows a normal turn-based structure, though gets the interesting wrinkle that you merely have one party member for the whole duration of the overall game. Noa is really a competent fighter, but she’s to effectively be her very own backup in every of her battles, that leads to the inclusion of a ‘soft’ job system which makes her quite versatile. Noas available skills and actions are dictated by the available RAM in her deck, with each action taking on a certain amount of blocks. It is possible to only fit a small number of actions in your available RAM at any moment, nevertheless, you can Patch on any turn to swap abilities in or out as needed. For instance, we began a hardcore boss fight with several important debuff abilities all set to suppress their stats, later swapped in a few buff abilities to improve our very own, then went all in on attack actions to burst them down.

Jack Move Review - Screenshot 3 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Most fights against common enemies dont really last long enough to necessitate swapping things in and out of RAM much, but we appreciated how smartly this technique manages to still supply the feel of experiencing a celebration while fighting with just one single character. Noa always feels as though shes with the capacity of meeting the challenges she faces, even though shes comfortably outnumbered and only getting back in one action for each and every several that the enemy may use. Plus, the Golden Sun-esque notion of having that give-and-take of changing up your character mid-battle makes every choice feel meaningful.

Theres more to fights than simply swapping things around in your RAM, however, just like the presence of a straightforward rock-paper-scissors system which can be leveraged to exploit enemy weaknesses. A purple Wetware attack, for instance, will undoubtedly be super effective against a green Cyberware enemy. Most enemies are color-coded to create it easy to understand what theyll be weak to, and leveraging this technique gets the passive aftereffect of greatly increasing your Jack Move meter. This acts just like a Limit Break, as soon as full, it enables you to unleash a devastating attack contrary to the entire enemy team that may frequently end the fight immediately. Better still, theres a short DDR-esque minigame you play before executing each Jack Move; nailing all of the prompts at only the proper time will massively raise the damage output and make the attack that a lot more devastating.

Jack Move Review - Screenshot 4 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

One more thing that will help you tip the scales in balance may be the turn window in the corner, which indicates which enemies will undoubtedly be attacking when so when Noa will next reach act. With this particular information, it is possible to sometimes eliminate an enemy to obtain Noa another turn, or it is possible to either decelerate enemies or increase Noa to provide you with more actions on an extended timeline. We appreciated that developer So Romantic offers you multiple tools to improve your potential for success, since it makes fights a lot more dynamic and keeps them from feeling too stale and samey.

When youre not battling enemies, you guide Noa around intricate cityscapes, datascapes, and junkyards, opening hidden briefcases with helpful items inside them and solving basic puzzles to control the environment. Even while, if youre in a dungeon area, you will have a threat meter in the very best corner that indicates once the next battle will need place. Once full, you wont necessarily get attacked immediately, but it can occur at at any time. And, in the event that you dont like getting jumped while attempting to solve a puzzle, theres a helpful toggle to either reduce the speed of which it fills or even to stop it completely, though this latter option runs the chance of Noa becoming too under-leveled to help keep pace with the ascending difficulty.

Jack Move Review - Screenshot 5 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

For character growth, Noa just levels up in a normal sense, but each software action may also independently gain experience with use and become leveled around make it far better in battle. Additionally, theres a significant selection of available software it is possible to unlock either by completing sidequests or buying them in one of the shops in a town; it feels as though youre always 5 minutes from unlocking just one more to expand your arsenal. With this thought, its rather impressive how Jack Move manages to feel just like a a lot longer game than it truly is. Enemy levels and stats scale up quite quickly, but Noas capability rises at a commensurate rate; the issue doesnt feel just like it spikes an excessive amount of at any point.

It bears mentioning that the story will most likely only take you about ten hours to look out of to its completion. You can find side quests that you can do to pad out the runtime a little and getting hung through to a hard boss fight here or there may sidetrack you, but even then, that is likely among the shortest RPGs youll ever play. This isnt necessarily a negative thingthe power ramp means that youre leveling up and improving equipment at a considerably faster pace than in mostbut those who prefer to really dig right into a deep and intricate JRPG could be left just a little disappointed and wanting more. We appreciated the brief length, however, since it ensures that you can find no half-baked game mechanics or unnecessarily long-winded cutscenes.

Jack Move Review - Screenshot 6 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

For its presentation, Jack Move utilizes a hi-bit art style that feels somewhat similar to the work observed in titles such as for example Aegis Defenders and Katana Zero, seen as a nicely detailed HD pixel art, smooth character animation, and a standard flashy retro aesthetic. The planet of Jack Move isnt necessarily gritty, but we enjoyed how it incorporated other components of the cyberpunk genrespider-bots, street hackers, ad-filled neon screens over rainy cityscapesinto a colorful and surprisingly vibrant world.

All this is matched by way of a soundtrack that mixes together synthwave, lo-fi, and industrial music that creates a rigorous and nostalgic atmosphere. We wouldve liked for there to become a few more tracks in the entire playlist to provide it a little more variety, but whats here’s absolutely top-notch work.

Conclusion

It could not last terribly long, but Jack Move manages to pack in every the important elements necessary for a fantastic cyberpunk JRPG adventure. The inventive battle system, enchanting world, and appealing graphics all get together to create for a perfectly paced, gripping, and memorable release that no RPG fan would want to lose out on, and that goes double for time-poor genre aficionados. Its seldom that you visit a JRPG that leans so difficult into science fiction tropes, and Jack Move makes probably the most of each minute of its runtime. Strongly suggested.

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