Black Future ’88
Developed By : SuperScarySnakes
Published By : Good Shepherd Entertainment
Category : Platformer, Twin-Stick, Roguelike
Release Date : Nov 21, 2019
As a gamer who got their start back in the glory 8-bit days, it’s been pretty fantastic getting to watch the shape of games change over the years. But, as I’m sure most people will agree, getting to experience things that allow us to recapture those old gaming feelings are some of the best. The rougelike genre is one of the greatest at capturing this feeling, tasking you with doing everything you can in a single run. Black Future ’88 on the Nintendo Switch seeks to capture not only the essence of the gameplay, but the visual appeal as you plow your way through this tower-climbing game.
We find ourselves back in 1988, with the world under a blackened sky courtesy of a nuclear cataclysm brought on by the architect of the tower, Duncan. The end is near. In fact, it’s so near that the world has decided there’s no point in keeping time anymore. No more will we count up the hours and days that pass, instead we’ll count down the minutes that we have to live, which aren’t many.
You step into the role of a last remaining survivor. Your mission is to climb this death-dealing tower, find Duncan and kill him as well as destroying his tower. Doing so will, hopefully, end the darkness and bring light to a new day and brighter future.
To climb the tower, you’ll need to utilize one of the different characters available to you. Initially, you’ll only have two to choose from : Hauer and Seagrist. The others that you can use will be unlocked by either reaching a certain level, completing a run, or discovering secrets within the games zones as you play. Naturally, each character offers their own unique stats as well as loadouts for you to start a run with.
Each run will start you in the same “lobby” area where you’ll get to choose your character and board the train that brings you to the tower. Once you arrive, the time starts counting down, literally. You’ll have a time limit in which you must clear the tower so it’s best not to waste any of it. All characters come with the same move set : a dash maneuver and the ability to fire their weapons. Shooting can be done by either pressing Y in which you’ll automatically target the nearest enemy, or with the right joystick in a twin-stick style of shooting.
Enemies will consist of a variety of drones and human minions working for Duncan. As you kill and destroy them, they’ll drop tons of items including currency to spend on items mid-run, health, ammo, and even other weapons to pick up. Each zone has a number of rooms for you to clear, and how many you handle is entirely up to you, since you’ll have an indicator on your screen guiding you straight towards the boss.
Bosses in the game are completely randomized, so you won’t always face the same one every time you complete the first zone. They won’t always be alone either, sometimes sending out drones or other enemies to pester you while they try to slap your face to the ground. Once they’ve been defeated, it will open up the way to the next zone and the next step in your journey to Duncan.
As you play, you’ll come across different opportunities to gain different abilities to help you on each run. These can do things like letting you dash through solid walls, or giving you a chance to heal by dodging through your enemies bullets. Mostly you’ll earn these by clearing a zone, but can be earned other ways too. Occasionally, you’ll also get a chance to peek at the zone’s map. This will tell you where all of the rooms are, as well as list any items you’ve missed or left behind in the rooms you’ve already cleared.
Black Future ’88 is a game that I was excited for the moment I saw announcement of it’s release. And luckily, it’s a game that lived up to every modicum of that excitement. The gameplay is intense and fast-paced right from the get-go, with an amazing, original soundtrack to keep you company along the way. Speaking of company, you’re able to grab a buddy and co-op play this tower climb for a unique experience unlike many other roguelike’s.
I had a lot of fun with this game the moment I turned it on. Each time you complete a run you’ll earn experience for various things such as how long you survived, rooms cleared and enemies killed, things of that nature. These points are converted into your permanent game level and will unlock things like more deadly weapons, abilities and characters to play as. It’s a great game and one that feels like it’s built just for roguelike fans, so don’t be surprised when this one is hard to put down. It’s available right now in the eShop, so go grab your copy and save the world from it’s trapped-in-the-80’s time freeze.