Jack Move is a brisk cyberpunk JRPG-alike that’s out this week

Jack Move. Jack Move. Here is a phrase that tickles somewhere, deep in the back of the brain, buried under boxes and old coats. Wasn’t someone…down for a Jack Move? I want to say William Gibson. One of the early ones – or maybe one of the present-day ones?

Jack Move
Developer: So Romantic
Publisher: HypeTrain Digital
Platform: Played on PC
Availability: Demo out now on PC. Out on PC on 8th of September. Coming to Switch, PlayStation and Xbox on 20th of September
Googling will have to wait, because here is Jack Move, with a demo out on Steam now and a release planned for the 8th of September. Turns out we’re all down for a Jack Move.

And I reckon I was right about Gibson, because Jack Move is a cyberpunk JRPG, albeit one with modern sensibilities, which means the pixel-art is smooth and Treasure-textured and the action is implausibly brisk. Straight up: this is a lovely thing. Lovely from the way that you PATCH items rather than use them, to the way that you have stats for Sass and Guts and Grok.

The demo, which I urge you to try, is a delight. One mission: you are headed into a grubby corps’ offices to dig up dirt that you can use for blackmailing. A few floors to explore and then find the right terminal and get out of there.

Random battles? Kind of. Jack Move has thought about this stuff, so as you wander around, a danger bar builds up in the top-right corner, looking a bit like phone signal strength. When it gets to the top you’re going to start getting random battles. It just gives you a little more control, a little more warning.

And the battles are great, turn-based with a turn-tracker displayed on the screen, which makes me think that a lot of the deeper fun here is going to lie with hacking the turns and twisting the rhythm of a fight to your advantage. You can do standard attacks, but you can also install software – which takes time and inventory space – and that allows you to do much more aggressive stuff, all of which comes with a data cost. Data, I guess, is mana here.

There’s plenty to think of already, as you choose which software to install, knowing that it will block space for other software. But Jack Move has more ideas too. In fact it’s building to Jack Moves: you build up to these by dealing damage, and then you get the chance to pull off a super attack, powered up by a bit of DDR input matching. Jack Move!

These things are something else. I was breezing along doing 120 damage by and large and then my first Jack Move stacked the damage into the thousands.

After the demo mission I was dropped off in what very much looks like a hub, and then I went to sleep and the demo ended. I am eager for more! I can’t wait in fact. Come 8th September I think we are all down for a Jack Move.