FutureGrind launched on Nintendo Switch yesterday on the Nintendo Shop, and is also available for a reasonable price on PC on Steam, PS4 and XBO. It was developed and published by Milkbag Games. It is side-scrolling, stunt bike game.
AIR Entertainment obtained a digital copy of the game for review purposes.
Here is trailer for the Switch release:
Welcome to the Future! FutureGrind that is. Where riding the rails with a two-wheel neon bike is all the rage.
What took me by surprise from the start is that the game actually has a story. This was rather impressive, since I thought I would be doing stage upon stage of endless stunts just to score points.
In FutureGrind, there are sponsors who will reward you if you can pull off epic moves. And not just epic moves of your choice, but the ones listed per stage. And near the start, you will start getting secret messages about something that’s happening behind the scenes, a mystery that you need to keep your eye out for.
While I am rather excited that there is actually a storyline, sometimes it feels disjointed from the game itself. Someone’s watching you, be careful: but while you’re at it, do a 720 degree flip and survive the stage…
Come on… we know you can… the killer is out there…
Sarcasm aside, when developers could have done a game without a story, but manage to incorporate one that is rather intriguing, they deserve kudos. It shows that they are willing to do that extra bit to make it more fun for players out there.
If I was inclined to swear during a review, it would be at this section that the cursing would commence. Holy mother of all crapness, the Switch version of this game is incredibly difficult to control.
The controls are simple enough. Left stick to flip your bike forwards or backwards, X for jump or double jump, or hold X for those grinds on the rails. Easy enough, right?
WRONG! You see, if you get the wrong colour wheel on the wrong colour rail, you explode. Now the issue comes in when you land on a rail and your bike hasn’t stabalised properly. Just one nick of that wrong wheel on the rail and you are gone. When I say that this mechanism of control is extremely sensitive to touch, I am understating it.
And then there is the level restart button. The L1 or R1. For someone like me that likes to rest my finger there out of habit from previous games, this is intensely frustrating. Just as I finally, after several hundred tries, am about to complete the stage with all objectives met, my finger accidentally hits the L1 / R1 button as I do the final jump… and the DAMN STAGE RESTARTS!!!!!!!!!!
AND THE DAMN STAGE RESTARTS!!!!!
AND THE DAMN STAGE RESTARTS!!!!
Sorry. I wasn’t sure if I got that message across. If I had a PlayStation control in my hand instead of the Switch, I would have thrown it across the room against the room wall ages ago.
Anger, impatience and frustration aside… this is a game to be enjoyed by those that love mastering controls and moves. If you are impatient or want a game you can just sit and relax to, FutureGrind is NOT it. Stages become severely intense, and it will require your utmost focus and finger-skill abilities to pull of the tricks that are required.
Finally, there seem to be moments where I believe I have pulled off the tricks, and the stage says that I haven’t. Other times there are moments where I wonder if the moves are even possible. I’ve lost count how many times I tried to land a 720 degree flip, without either crashing into the rail or falling into the abyss.
As I said, this is a game to be enjoyed by those that love mastering the controls…
SOUND AND GRAPHICS
Thankfully, where the gameplay is frustrating, the graphics are superb. If you get a chance to admire it though. There is a section on the bottom left where you can see the moves you are pulling off and the scores attached to them.
Which in my opinion is rather useless. I am so busy focusing on colour rails and wheels and making sure I stitch my tricks and landings together, while keeping my bike balanced for the duration of the rail, that I don’t really have time to check out my awesome score.
The graphics itself is really wonderful though. The neon colours are inviting and they did an amazing job with the art. If the game was to win any sort of award, it would be for truly lovely graphics.
The music was composed by veteran musician Bignic. They provide a lovely soundtrack to the game that compliments it, giving you that action-fueled beat that you will enjoy playing to, even though you may spend more time shouting than listening to it.
There are no voice-over actors, so expect loads of text reading when it comes to dialogue.
FutureGrind is an extremely difficult game to become accustomed to, especially when they increase the complexity of the game the moment you become used to it. Don’t get me wrong, there are gamers out there who will love this game, specifically those that love to master controls and tricks in a fast-paced environment. For others, this game will be intensely frustrating and impatience will lead to shelving the game rather than completing it. Buy with extreme caution and only if you are up for a proper challenge.
FutureGrind receives 7.5/10 for an overall score.