Jack Move Review (Switch Online Store)
It feels like most JRPGs these days don’t really go that far into science fiction. Of course, big franchises like last fantasy or Xenoblade aren’t afraid to mix some technology with their magic, but it’s rare to see developers commit themselves to a world made up of robots and computers. In this regard, Jack Move is a breath of fresh air. Before us is a short, fast-paced and completely traditional JRPG set in a cyberpunk universe. It’s amazingly innovative and a pleasure to play.
Jack Move is set in the near future, in a cyberpunk society where governments are virtually powerless and massive conglomerates rule unchallenged. You take on the role of Noah, a hard-boiled hacker who regularly attacks corporations and sells sensitive information on the black market. Noah and her partner in crime Ryder are just minding their own business as usual when she receives a message from her estranged father who warns her that a corporation called Monobrain may be after her because of what he was working on. Soon after, Monoum kidnaps her father, sending Noah and Ryder on a quest to free him and get to the bottom of his latest research project.
It’s a well-paced story all the way through, and it’s helped a lot by the strong world building along the way. Talking to NPCs helps you understand what everyday life is like in a place like Bright City, and cute slang like “Numbers!” or “Gigafloppin!” the exclamations of the characters help fill the world with some kind of individuality. The character development feels a little sketchy given the relatively short length of the entire narrative, but it’s hard not to get attached to Jack Mov’s world given how enchanting he is to the player. Obviously, a lot of effort was put into adding small details and vignettes to complete the experience, such as the NPC that Noah repeatedly engages in friendly insults with, and all those small details add up to create something with real texture and meaning.
Combat follows a traditional turn-based structure, but has an interesting twist that only you have. one member of the group throughout the game. Noah is a competent fighter, but she needs to be an effective support in all her fights, which leads to the inclusion of a “soft” profession system that makes her pretty versatile. Noah’s available skills and actions depend on the available RAM in her deck, with each action taking up a certain number of blocks. At any given time, you can only place a few actions in the available RAM, but you can “fix” at any turn to switch abilities as needed. For example, we started a tough boss fight with a few important debuffs ready to go to lower their stats, later swapped some buffs to raise our own, and then went all-in on offensive moves to knock them out.
Most fights against regular enemies don’t really last long enough to require a lot of shuffling things in and out of RAM, but we appreciated how cleverly this system still makes it feel like a party while fighting just one character. Noah always feels she is capable of handling the challenges she faces, even when she is outnumbered and only takes one action out of every two or three the enemy can use. Also, Golden Sun-esque’s idea that you can change your character in the middle of a battle makes every choice meaningful.
However, there is more to combat than just rearranging things in your RAM, such as having a simple rock-paper-scissors system that can be used to exploit an opponent’s weaknesses. The purple “Wetware” attack, for example, will be very effective against the green “Cyberware” enemy. Most enemies are color-coded to make it easy to see what they’ll be weak to, and using this system has a passive effect, greatly increasing your Jack’s movement meter. This acts as a Limit Break and when full it allows you to unleash a devastating attack against the entire enemy team which can very often end the fight right here and now. Even better, there’s a short DDR-style mini-game that you play before doing each of Jack’s moves; completing all the hints at the right time will greatly increase the damage dealt and make the attack even more devastating.
Another thing that can help you tip the scales into your balance is the move window in the corner, which indicates which enemies will attack and when and when Noah next takes action. With this information, you can sometimes eliminate an enemy to get Noah for one more turn, or you can either slow enemies down or speed up Noah to give you more action on a longer timeline. We appreciate that developer So Romantic gives you a few tools to improve your chances of success as it makes the fights much more dynamic and doesn’t make them feel too dated and repetitive.
When not fighting enemies, you guide Noah through twisted cityscapes, datascapes, and junkyards, opening hidden briefcases with useful items and solving simple puzzles to manipulate the environment. All the while, if you are in a dungeon, there will be a threat indicator in the top corner that indicates when the next battle will take place. After filling up, you are not necessarily attacked immediately, but this can happen at any time. And, if you don’t like being jumped around when trying to solve a puzzle, there’s a useful switch to either slow down the rate at which it fills up or stop it completely, although the latter runs the risk of Noah getting too low level. keep pace with increasing difficulty.
In terms of character growth, Noah simply levels up in the traditional sense, but each program action can also independently gain experience when used and level up to make it more effective in combat. In addition, there is quite a lot of software available that you can unlock by completing side quests or by purchasing them from one of the shops in town; it feels like you’re always five minutes away from unlocking another one to expand your arsenal. With that in mind, it’s quite impressive how Jack Move manages to appear to be a much longer game than it really is. Enemy levels and stats increase fairly quickly, but Noah’s abilities increase at a comparable rate; the difficulty doesn’t seem too big at any point.
It should be noted that the story will probably only take you about ten hours to complete. There are side quests you can do to increase the run time a bit, and getting stuck on a difficult boss fight here or there might distract you, but even so, this is probably one of the shortest RPGs you’ll ever get into. were playing. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – the power ramp ensures you level up and get better gear much faster than most – but those of you who like to really dig deep and intricate JRPGs can stay. a little disappointed and wants more. However, we appreciated the short duration as it ensures that there are no unfinished game mechanics or unnecessarily long cutscenes.
As for its presentation, Jack Move uses a hi-bit art style that is somewhat reminiscent of the work seen in games like Aegis Defenders and Katana Zero, characterized by nicely detailed HD pixel art, smooth character animations, and an overall vibrant retro aesthetic. . Jack Move’s world isn’t necessarily gritty, but we loved how it combined other elements of the cyberpunk genre – spider bots, street hackers, ad-filled neon screens over rainy cityscapes – into a colorful and surprisingly vibrant world.
All this is combined with a soundtrack that mixes synth, lo-fi and industrial music to create a tense and nostalgic atmosphere. We wish there were a few more tracks in the overall playlist to diversify it, but what we have here is absolutely top-notch work.
It may not last long, but Jack Move manages to pack in all the essential elements needed for a great JRPG cyberpunk adventure. An inventive combat system, a charming world, and eye-catching graphics all combine to create a perfectly fast-paced, immersive and memorable release that no RPG fan will want to miss, and doubly so for fans of the genre who are pressed for time. It’s not often you see a Japanese RPG that draws so heavily on sci-fi tropes, and Jack Move makes the most of every minute of its runtime. Highly recommended.