Black Future '88 - Review

Author: Alessandro "Docmanhattan" Apreda
Date: 2020-03-03 06:29:46
Yes, of indie games with retro vibrations, with the title in phase-shifted colors to simulate the loss of coupling to the video signal from VHS too experienced to record the films of Italy 1, and chiptune ball music, they have been seen in recent years just right those six, seven billion. An entire subgenre bouncing between party masks in the bloody Myspace days in the Miami Hotline and the Katana Zero trip.

Complex stories, a lot of fluorescent shades to dye the night, demanding games, the fake nostalgia for something that thirty years ago, so above all so cool and stylish and clean and combed, would never have existed. In the roguelike field, however ... no, nothing, the same. Black Future '88 (PC and Nintendo Switch) throws itself into the fray with so much ambition, a good dose of sadism and an assumption sufficiently stupid and pimp to love him .

A nuclear catastrophe caused by a mad scientist overshadowed the sun, plunging the planet into a perpetual night. Instead of evolving into the giggling giants and mutants of Ken the Warrior, humanity has decided to stop counting the years. So he will live forever in 1988, probably listening to Jovanotti's Gimme Five. This translates, in the game, in the attack on the tower of the manager, the archistar Duncan. The Tower is procedural, changes and evolves continuously, and is obviously full of traps, enemies and bosses.

Out in 60x18 seconds

The Tower is divided into five areas, and 5 different characters are gradually unlocked to face it, each with its characteristics, its valuable pros, its considerable cons. The structure throws there in the cauldron features of metroidvania and run and gun, with the peculiarity that the fire (vomitable both with the press of a button and orienting it with the right stick) automatically points towards the closest enemy, leaving the player free to focus on escaping enemy hits, on platforms, on the direction to take. Seems easy? It is not at all. There is a lot of crack, at the beginning and also afterwards, because you have to get carried away with the mechanics, to understand which of the 50 firearms (and white) that are around prefer , since the ammunition of almost all are not unlimited. Which buffs to use and on which character. How to deal with those damned bosses and how to make the most of that moment of intoxication & invulnerability offered by the boost.

Add: co-op mode for side by side challenges to who cares first about the best weapon left on the field, daily challenges to climb the rankings, and more generally the desire to discover, piece by piece, all possible interior combinations design of that damned tower. Accompanied by graceful and pleasant graphic solutions, and by a pounding dose of synth sounds by Tremor Low. Ah, yes: and the fact that you can live in any case only 18 minutes.

There, languid bri, chills like ice burn

Radiation kills the player progressively, therefore the amount of time for each exploration of the Tower is limited. The margin can be slightly extended by buying life minutes or getting after placing a boss, but not by much. Which generates, on the one hand, an excellent usability in small doses, especially when playing in portable mode, on the other, a certain repetitiveness of the whole.

We crack a lot, we said, or it wouldn't be a roguelike. What remains, once the equipment collected has been lost, is the increase in experience levels, which allows to obtain better equipment, with which to survive a few more seconds. Because, in most cases, getting to those 18 minutes isn't easy. We played it on Nintendo Switch and it makes it better in a portable version than docked : a couple of harassing bugs nailed the game, and a couple of times everything slowed down in times of excessive video traffic until it almost stopped and took the bus. We talk about two or three times over a dozen hours of play, and always in a docked version. It seems peaceful that Black Future '88 , on the Nintendo console, runs more freely in portability .

The platform / dual stick shooter controls are precise, the visual style is very captivating, the soundtrack is really great. However, Black Future '88 lacks a more intriguing narrative context, which goes beyond the premise as a mad scientist from the nineteen hundred and eighty-eight and some remnants of dialogue here and there . He lacks that little bit more, to face Duncan's tower for the thirtieth time, which is not just the go, how stylish it would be and how nice it would have been to have had some games with this graphic and these notes in 1988. It was worse when it was worse.