Cyberpunk bite size fun ideal for on the run.
The recently released Black Future ’88 is a retro side-scroller that combines a repetitive and fun game that is best experienced in short bursts. The game has some beautiful pixeleated graphics and twinstick shooting that make it so ridiculously addictive.
The setting if not obvious is 1988 and due to a nuclear attack, the whole world has stopped counting the years. You play as a mercenary inside of Skymelt tower, the countdown on the clock is 18 minutes to fight through robots, cyberpunks and neon bosses to reach the top before your heart literally explodes and then it starts all over again. While this does make a short 18 minute experience, it does deliver the short burst that encourages replay and discovering how to get through enemies quicker to reach the top. It may sound annoying and repetitive however it is a complete blast and the reward of finally getting to the top is a fantastic payoff.
Graphics wise the game is beautiful. It has a retro classic pixel art style with the beauty of a classic 8 bit game combined with some HD graphics that combine with a great soundtrack and sound effects. There is a distinct 80’s vibe to the soundtrack that are referenced in the boss battles (I’ll let you make those connections for yourself!) The twang of the lasers as they shoot feel straight out of Tron while retaining its own distinct style. There is a lot of detail in the game’s design with characters, weapons, upgrades and co-op mode filling the screen with a lot of noise. While this was definitely overwhelming at first, once you understand what is going on and get your moves worked out, the colour palette presented here is really strong. Think 80’s neon Nintendo.
Gameplay wise the 18 minute timer thing really forces you to plan out how you are going to play through the level. You can choose your weapons and run and gun your wat to the top before your heart explodes, or you can explore into other parts of each level to be rewarded with special weapons and loot or completely shattered with hidden bosses who can be harder than the story levels. Weapons and loot are varied, like really REALLY varied with a plethora of different options that rewards exploration and collecting. If you aren’t quick enough to finish the level after 18 minutes, your XP and level carries onto your next playthrough. There is a really cool teleporation gun that after you master is an absolute blast. If you aren’t lucky enough to find the 50 weapons, you can purchase them from a merchant, they will also sell you items like synthetic blood that can be used to refill your health. If that wasn’t enough, when you kill enemies if you don’t snap up their dropped money and items, Skymelt will absorb it and upgrade itself making a really difficult battle further on in the game.
Black Future ’88 is the perfect holiday title with a co-op mode, strong single player gameplay and the ability to play this either on the PC or Nintendo Switch, you can take it with you and play side by side, making for a great title to bring to Christmas Day family lunch. There are a ton of characters to unlock along with weapons and items. While some may complain that the level time is short, it rewards you with a ton of replay value and co-op mode to give the title a long lasting appeal. Graphically the game delivers a 80’s steampunk HD vibe with accompanying soundtrack and sound effects that feel like you are playing on a HD Super Nintendo back in the day.
Black Future ’88 is now available on PC and NIntendo Switch.