Developer So Romantic and publisher HypeTrain Digital’s Jack Move will feel familiar to a lot of people and honestly, I think this is exactly why it’s going to be a game you’ll want to check out. For starters, it’s a hop and a skip compared to manygames these days — what I mean is it’s a shot experience, one that can be completed in under ten hours.
Jack Move puts you in control of Noa, a hacker living in Bright Town. With his friend and partner Ryder, the two of them (moreso Ryder) are looking to cause trouble for the corporations that have essentially become the ruling bodies in this world. One day, Noa’s father is kidnapped by Monomind, a massive entity within Bright Town. With help from Noa’s best friend and Guin, a former corporate spy, and your Cyber Deck, it’s all up to Noa to save her father. The plot itself is rather basic but it’s enough to push the narrative forward and into the meat of Jack Move — combat.
Welcome to Bright Town
The gameplay isn’t particularly anything revolutionary but it is a blast in short bursts. You can freely move Noa through the map and interact with some of the city’s inhabitants. If you find NPCs offering quests you can pick those up and complete them for items and rewards. It’s pretty standard stuff but the combat is easily a highlight that will keep you entertained.
I’ve moved past random encounters at this point of my life and much prefer seeing the enemies on screen. Jack Move decides to stick to tradition in this aspect so be ready to deal with enemies you won’t ever see unless caught in battle. Thankfully, to alleviate this mechanic is the ability to adjust the frequency of battles by allowing you to turn them off completely, dial them down, or dial them up. Battles take place on a separate screen where you can use hacks (melee) or software (special abilities) to deal with enemies but those cost data (MP) to use.
Noa can equip upward of three pieces of hardware at a time, each offering its own skill including counters, healing, and status effects. These are essentially the skills you’ll be able to utilize in battle to turn the tide. Combat uses a rock-paper-scissors mechanic only here it’s known as cyberware, electroware, and wetware attacks. Enemies are weak to one of the attributes and generally use moves the opposite of the one you need to use to defeat them. Of course, it’s also good to not have limited RAM at the start of Jack Move but can add more the further into the story you get by upgrading it in the local shops.
Jack Move is a brief and exciting experience
Generally, I felt like the number of enemies and bosses made sense for Jack Move’s runtime. Normal enemies won’t offer an overly difficult challenge but some of the bosses will absolutely become a nuisance because they absorb so much damage. One downside that sticks out is that these boss battles often leave little room to strategize because of the game’s mechanics so you end up whittling away at a boss for longer than necessary.
A lot of the characters introduced are charming and seeing how they interact is enhances your time when playing Jack Move. What stands out is how concise and often engaging these characters are given the world they live in is clearly not one I’d ever want to experience. Additionally, I really found the graphics to stand out, in particular, the animations are impressive. Paired with a soundtrack that is synthetic, catchy, and designed to elevate Jack Move as a whole, you’ll find yourself taking in the audio and visual duo with a smile on your face.
Jack Move is a brief experience but one worth experiencing. I’ve spent the last few months buried in other worlds and that in itself has worn me out. Thankfully, I spent no more than 12 hours in this world filled with interesting characters and striking visuals.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]