E3 is a chance for a lot of genres to shine but sitting down to play Black Future 88 with Don, the games creative director, I never thought, I would play a rouge-like platformer, set in a neon noir alternate 80’s world, but I did and I liked it.
The games big draw is that you only have 18 minutes to live, meaning after 18 minutes passes, you die and before you do, you have to try and infiltrate a tower, in order to defeat the big baddie at the top, who has done you wrong. How you approach your final mission will vary, depending on a few things, your playstyle, the items you equip and how the game loads up for you, so replaying the game multiple times will be possible, without fear of running into the same things over and over.
As you only get 18 minutes, you need to ensure you can progress as far as you can and one of the ways to do that, is to trade off some of your time for power ups. These powers ups will vary and the more powerful they are, the more time it costs to get, so while shaving a minute or two from your life, might seem a tad extreme, if the boost to your abilities is worth it, well that is a decision you have to make. However, that is only one aspect of the game, the rouge-like nature means that each time you play through, something different will happen.
In my play through, after shooting many enemies, we encountered the boss, whose name eludes me, but he was a big tank of a guy, but he was actually quite weak. His main attack could deal out some significant damage, but he calls in lots of robots, that hover above you and attack a lot and until you destroy all of those, he can’t be hurt. When you die, something I did a lot, if you are playing with someone else, they can revive you, but if you both die, it is game over. I never actually managed to beat this boss, as the amount of robots that he had summoned was a lot higher than I would have liked and by the time I had taken out one wave, another was soon there to replace them.
The game sports a cool art style, it is 12-bit in its appearance, not quite 8 or 16 bit, but a blend of the two, but it also has some wicked lighting effects, at one-point, purple light rays were shining in from a window and it just changed how the entire game looked. The lighting is also impacted when you shoot some guns, use light swords and more and the entire game feels more alive because of it, combined with the punk 80’s design, it comes together to create something I don’t recall seeing before.
While the game is designed to be played best with a friend, it is still something I could see myself playing solo and given how I am not a big fan of rouge-like games, that is saying something. While the game does not have a solid release date, the team are working towards a late 2018 release and I can’t wait.