Multiplayer parkour racer, FreeJack, closed beta this week

There’s something of a gold rush going on in game development right now, and it’s centered on portable downloadable apps and social network games. Developers big and small are doing their damndest to strike it big with the next Farmville or Angry Birds, pinnacles of profit that few reach. It’s chaotic enough to make us forget that before 99 cents was the standard asking price for months of labor, there was supposed to be a gold rush in the free-to-play PC multiplayer market.

Perhaps it’s a sad thing, but the phrase “free-to-play” doesn’t normally conjure up good images in gamers’ minds. Bluntly put, they generally fail to offer anything new or exciting. It’s always seemed like free-to-play games are designed with a safety net of textbook gameplay features and stock settings (oh boy, more anime monsters!), so it’s always eye-catching to see one try something different.

That said, the team at Toronto-based Gamerkraft are about to start a closed beta for their new free-to-play multiplayer parkour racer, FreeJack. Based on the trailer (below), the game seems to borrow heavily from the action and style of Sega’s cult-hit Jet Grind/Jet Set Radio series—hey, it’s about time someone did! The game looks to have some nice, stylized character customization, hectic gameplay, and…customizable apartments…they have to make money somehow, I guess.

It’s honestly still too early to tell whether or not this game is going to be good, but it definitely has potential to be interesting.

The beta starts July 22. Info on getting in is available on the official site.