Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Possibly important proviso: I haven’t played beyond the introductory section of Future Wars since the 90s. There is every chance that it is diabolical. In fact, I can recall that certain sections of it were diabolical even at the time. More importantly though, I can recall it being strange, ambitious, stylish and unpredictable. It’s a fascinating historical footnote, if nothing else.
Future Wars is a French-made point and click adventure from Delphine, the same studio as Another World and Flashback (though didn’t share a creative lead with the former), and while it lacks the focus and precision of either of those, it makes up for it with scope and batshit craziness. Time travel is its central conceit, so it hurls the player from cleaning 20th century skyscrapers to breaking into medieval castles to battling against aliens in the far future. All of this is peppered with lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of entirely cruel fail states and insta-death.
It is very much a French adventure game. It is also very much a reminder of what these kinds of games were getting up to before everyone decided to ape the SCUMM formula. Roads not taken, and all that.
Oh, and its still-attractive visual style – while to some degree necessitated by the technology of the time – informs stuff like Sword & Sworcery today. I think it’s pretty, anyway.