Are you a fan of roguelike games and games that constantly change each time you play them? Then you might want to check out this new game published by Good Shepherd Entertainment and developed by indie developer SuperScarySnakes called Black Future ’88 for the Nintendo Switch. Black Future ’88 is a synth-punk roguelike 2D action shooter where you’re almost guaranteed to die over and over and over again. Yet with each death comes renewed strength and the hope that you can make it just a little farther each time.
Let’s talk a little bit about the story first. Black Future ’88 is set in an alternate reality where the year is always 1988. This is because of a nuclear cataclysm, created by Duncan, the tower architect. The First of his bombs fell in the summer of 1988, and by December they had blacked-out the sun with endless rain. Civilization decided to stop keeping time after this, and it’s been 1988 ever since. Everything that lived through the initial attack will die in the extreme floods that followed. These are the times after, where there are no more months, or even weeks…everything is measured in minutes left to live.
We say minutes because literally, you’ve only got 18 minutes until your heart explodes. That’s 18 minutes to try and reach the top of the tower to kill the architect and stop the endless nuclear rain.
Black Future ’88 starts off with a general tutorial of how things work before thrusting you into a world of death and guns. You better figure out how to maneuver because quick reactions and spacial awareness is what keeps you alive in this game. Luckily, the controls aren’t too hard to learn. There are different control schemes you can choose, so just choose the one that is most comfortable for you. You’ll want one though where most of, if not all the buttons are easily accessible with different fingers and thumbs. This way your reaction times will be quicker. For newbs, there’s also an auto fire button that will automatically aim and fire for you in the direction of an enemy. Otherwise you would use the right stick to aim and fire.
In terms of gameplay, the goal is to make it to the top floor of the tower in around 18 minutes or less. It’s not exactly 18 minutes because you can trade the time you have left for upgrades or other shop items, decreasing your time. Of course if you die, you die so whether you only played for 30 seconds or 15 minutes, you’ll have to start all over when death comes.
However, death doesn’t entirely mean you start over. Each time you die, you level up and can unlock new abilities and weapons. That basically means that the more you play, the greater chance you’ll have at making it to the top. There are so many cool and unique type of weapons you can unlock that you almost want to die just to unlock them all.
Black Future ’88 again isn’t the weak. I’ve been playing on and off for a couple weeks now and still haven’t made it to the top floor.
Another thing that’s pretty neat about Black Future ’88 is that it does have a co-op mode so you can a friend can try and conquer the tower together. If one of you goes down along thew way, you can revive them, but at a cost to your health or you can jack all their buffs they gained. It’s a pretty cool mode and playing with my son, I can get a bit farther up the tower in this mode than as a solo player so far.
Presentation wise, I love the art style in this game. It does have a slight retro feel to it but much more mender. Everything is pretty dark though, environmentally, but the game has really cool lighting effects for stuff like explosions, gun fire, etc. Music in the game is also pretty darn good with a cyberpunk type feel to it.
Is there anything I don’t like about the game? Nothing I can really think of other than it being difficult. Those with little patience will probably hate this game while those who love the grind and don’t mind learning the ins and outs of the game will surely love the challenge.
With all that said, Black Future ’88 is a very good addition to the roguelike genre. It’s very challenging but still one of those games where you can pick it up and play for a few minutes or play for hours. It gives you that choice. Of course like I said above, the more you play, the more rewarding it will be and greater chance of you reaching the top of the tower to your goal.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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