There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of acid and funk. In this area, We call, Futuridium.
Futuridium is a funky, groovy shoot’em up DMT trip produced by Italian indie developer Mixed Bag. Released on Playstation 4, PS Vita, WiiU, Microsoft Windows, and New 3DS. Inspired by a classic Commador 64 game Uridium, with a fresh perspective of Star Fox, mixed in with a retro aesthetic.
You play as a pilot trapped in a pocket dimension filled with dead ships, dead enemies, and cubes. Lots of cubes. Trapped in a loop with limited fuel left. You have to act quickly to find the core to each pocket dimension, blast it, then book it.
The first thing you may notice is the 180 degree U-turns you pull on a dime, which at first can be disorienting, but is easily overcome with practice. Piloting like this takes a level of situational awareness of each unique level.
The spacecraft is very sensitive to the analog stick and can change altitudes with quick response, albeit subtlety at times. Often, when I bank left or right, I don’t know if I’m changing my altitudes. It’s great that it’s so responsive, but it was fairly annoying when I initially started. Towards the end, I started to get used to it.
Every level follows the same goal. Blast blue cubes, find the core, then bail. The levels are not without their obstacles. You will be dodging various lasers, missiles and bullets, and other cubes. The first couple of zones are fairly straight forward with a little mix-up and short playtimes.
Of course, towards the end, you’re playing larger, more complicated levels. With boost rings and teleportation rings thrown in the mix with lasers and missiles. To truly test your piloting skills. You have to keep an eye on your energy levels on the large stages because it will deplete on you if you’re not routinely hitting blue cubes. Said cubes will keep you alive long enough to beat the level.
At the end of each level, you’re met with your score. Which ranks you on your time, a perfect chain of cubes destroyed, and if you died.
Don’t fret if you missed all three. Every level that is beaten is unlocked in the Single Level category of Futuridium. So you can practice on nailing a perfect run on each level, leading to a perfect run for each Zone.
The game is very solid in its set up and execution. Everything works at its core. My major issue with the game is the skins. You unlock different colors to toggle through for each level. These skins are set to random. Unless I missed something, I can not set any level to my preferred color before the levels start. Or even keep it set to that color for the duration of the playthrough. Every level loads a new skin. Some which make it hard to see the blue cubes.
One other thing to nitpick are the final stages of each zone. We get 5 Zones to beat, each with their own “boss”. However. They are not entirely memorable.
There is a Cube:
An Intergalactic Dreidel:
Then, to top it off, a martian manhunter caught in a black hole:
“Green Lanterns put me here because I destroyed half a galaxy, can I come out?”
All is well and good, but I would have liked more personality with the bosses. What made games iconic in the 80s, where Futuridium is drawing its core gameplay from, was the face on the cabinets. PacMan, Quibert, Mario, Dig Dug, owe it to their mascots. The game is well enough on its own but could use more personality.
The personality is mostly carried by its music. Seriously, look up the OST.
Other than that it’s a solid game with various unlockables and game modes. Even unlocking Futuridiums version of Flappy Bird.
Which I’m terrible at.
I would be more than happy to welcome a sequel to Futuridium. It’s a solid title, with solid arcade gameplay. Gameplay with short iteration cycles, funky music, and psychedelic visuals. Practically built for handheld gaming on the go or on the big screen with its aesthetic. I could also easily see a game like this with its own arcade cabinet in any Barcade across the world. Very solid game, worth a playthrough.