By Chris Picone, 19 September 2022
Jack Move is a very heavily cyberpunk-themed JRPG that sees you, a rogue amateur hacker, facing off against a mega corporation as you uncover the deeper secrets of your family history and your father’s morally grey experiments.
I initially didn’t even realise I was playing a JRPG; the graphics are so clean and so heavily themed that at first I thought Jack Move was an isometric stealth game or shooter. It looks gorgeous; I love the cyberpunk theme, which is well-delivered with its mixture of slums and neon lights, and I love the pixelated character portraits and the backgrounds in the combat sequences really add to the whole experience.
The gameplay is textbook JRPG – move around the world visiting shops and talking to people, combat is menu-based and turn-based and sees your character facing off against usually 1-3 enemies at a time. You have your base attack and then a range of element-based magic – I mean hacking programs – that require data to use. Dealing or taking damage also gives you limit br- I mean, Jack Moves. They look awesome, by the way. As you level up you can also purchase upgrades for your hacking deck, such as more RAM which allows more and better hacking programs and a range of sub-systems that either give you boosts or automatically load programs. Some of this could use a little more balancing but in general it works well.
I love JRPGs but I shy away from them these days because they can tend to feel a bit samey and I just don’t have time for the sort of grind they normally come with. With Jack Move, there’s almost no grind (just the right amount!) – you will face some random encounters as you move through hostile areas but it never feels tiresome. And while there are some secondary objectives through the game, it focuses quite firmly on the story, giving you a very solid 7-10 hour gaming experience.
JRPG fans should love Jack Move but I’m going to open the floor to cyberpunk fans more generally; the “short but sweet” nature of the story and lack of grind makes this accessible even to those who may not normally be JRPG fans.