All aboard the nightmare train with Black Future ’88, the newest game from Gambitious on the Nintendo Switch! This is one high-octane action platformer/shooter you won’t want to miss, especially if you love cyberpunk and dystopian futuristic settings.
Focusing on an alternate version of our own past, Black Future ’88 takes players on a wild ride through a nightmare hellscape of an alternate reality. In this frightening parallel world, players are tasked with ascending a randomly generated tower before time runs out. Along the way, they’ll battle a unique array of enemies, while building up their characters into unstoppable death-bringing machines.
Vibrant, neon colors with a distinct cyberpunk flavor are present throughout each level. The enemy design is perfect for this game with rival visages presented as downright terrifying. Each heavily armed (and armored) enemy is waiting to lay waste to your hero, while the security robots are ready to blast you to bits at the drop of a hat. If the enemies don’t get you, then your own heart will. The game features an 18-minute time limit, at the end of which your heart explodes and it’s game over! The bosses are a difficulty level all their own, and I found myself dying over and over again whenever I reached the end of a playthrough.
Ultimately, the graphics are excellent here and I loved visiting this world with its unique color schemes along with its well-designed vehicles, structures, and characters. As the game boots up, a warning about flashing lights and photosensitivity appears – they aren’t kidding. Within the first few seconds, the HUD begins flashing. My only other concern with the graphics is how small everything seems while playing un-docked.
Audio in the game is interesting. I was expecting more synthwave style music, but the atmospheric music is a good fit for the game. The sound effects don’t distract from the experience, but feel a bit stale. I found the occasional voices a bit distracting, but otherwise, the audio works well for the game’s aesthetic.
Play control is simple and intuitive, making for a fun experience. Players can double jump, dash, fire, and select one of two weapons. Dashing can help you reach certain areas, but comes at the cost of requiring a recharge. Characters and weapons are quite varied here, with multiple protagonists available. Each character has its own special attributes that will drastically alter the difficulty and challenge of the game. There are a ton of ability upgrades in the game that are unlocked throughout each tower, along with weapons that can be found after defeating enemies. Weapons like the sword and the default gun feature unlimited ammo, but all of the other weapons I found in my playthrough proved fun to fire and even more fun to upgrade.
The challenge and difficulty are high, but in a fun way that makes you want to continue playing, long after you successfully complete your first playthrough—or die trying. The fast, frantic action of the game lends itself to quick play sessions and the constantly changing, dynamic nature of the tower itself is ideal for replay value.
Black Future ’88 offers a refreshing take on both the retro style indie game and the roguelike genre and is well worth the low cost of entry. Be sure to check it out on the Nintendo Switch today!
Black Future '88 Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 6/106/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Stunning visuals and a rapid-fire gaming experience give Black Future ’88 a distinct edge in the roguelike genre.
Based in Colorado, David Buck is an author, musician, and media specialist. In his spare time, he composes music, writes science fiction, and builds scale models, mostly starships and movie cars.