Black Future ’88 promises excessive synthcore roguery

Black Future '88

Not too long ago, I’d while away many an idle afternoon crunching my way through arcade games via emulation. Nowadays, that niche in my life is filled by a seemingly endless procession of action-roguelikes, offering that twitch action fix with the promise of a fresh set of challenges each time.

The latest to catch my eye is Black Future ’88 from SuperScarySnakes, a platform shooter with an in-vogue grungy ’80s sci-fi aesthetic, some delectable music and some¬†gorgeous looking laser and plasma effects. Hit the jump for the impressively well cut trailer.

Can’t deny that they’ve got an eye for trailer direction. Beyond that,¬†there’s some interesting hooks here – the game is designed to be played hard and fast, with an 18-minute time limit looming over any given session. There’s the option to play (local) co-op with a buddy as well, but this will scale up the difficulty of the game to match your doubled firepower.

I must gush about the weapon effects in the trailer and plastered all over the dev’s Twitter feed in animated GIF format. The combination of burnt neon shades and the backdrop darkening slightly when especially large shots are fired conveys the sense that these are eye-searingly bright masses of energy capable of reducing a body to ash.

Better still, any fog effects in the level are illuminated by these neon death-beams, often painting half the screen or more in lurid laser doom. It’s comparatively easy to make bullets, bombs and rockets feel powerful in a game, but more exotic weapons often struggle to convey any real sense of weight and power. I reckon they’ve nailed it here.

There’s no demo available at present, but one is planned and the developers invite people to sign up to their official mailing list to be informed when it goes live. The soundtrack, courtesy of Tremor Low, will also be available on vinyl at launch – they’re confident you’ll like the music on this one, and from the bit we hear in the trailer? I’m inclined to agree. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye (and ear) on this one.


  1. ran93r says:

    Could be fun, disagree about the trailer though. All those cuts to black made me want to punch the screen.

    • LeiHarper says:

      Agree. Game looks great, effects look great…So, you know…maybe actually let me see them instead of cutting to black over and over?

    • runonce says:

      Had the same feeling about those black screens. Maybe let me watch the game instead?

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      zapatapon says:

      Had the exact same thought about those cuts while watching the trailer.

  2. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    It’s all very pretty, but I didn’t have the faintest idea what was going on in that trailer (even when it wasn’t doing those horrible cuts to black). Doesn’t inspire confidence about the gameplay, being able to tell what the fuck’s going on is kind of important in games like this.

  3. zulnam says:

    Looks good
    Love the setting
    Synth music, yes; love it!

    timed seasions making you speed through the game instead of doing it at your own pace…

    God dammit.

  4. MrAgmoore says:

    It looks really good and reminded me of “Gryzor” on the Amstrad ( called “Contra” in North America ).

    • dethtoll says:

      Other way ’round — Contra is the official title, Gryzor is the European/Oz name. (And Probotector is the European NES name.)

  5. hammr25 says:

    If you hosted your own ads I wouldn’t block them. I don’t trust the ad hosting services not to post malware.

  6. Fnord73 says:

    You know what I want? I want a rogue-like version of Megapolis. Could add in the elements of block control strategy from the old PBM game Crime Pays.

    • BadCatWillum says:

      I’ve got a hankering for something similar set in the Brigador setting. All those lovely isometric cyberpunk blocks and warring factions deserve to have some god game executive control pulling their strings.

  7. Mackeriah says:

    Fucking hell guys, those are some seizure inducing cuts to black. Ouch :/

  8. Kollega says:

    Huh. Now this game, is definitely a matter of taste. I know one guy who’d be all over it, and yet to me the overall attitude is more facepalm-worthy in its attempts to be “totally badass” than actually, genuinely totally badass. Though I’ve gotta say, that could have a goofy charm all of its own.

    And whatever I may think of the completely OTT presentation, it does seem to have something that makes a good 80s action pastiche: the face-punching “can-do” attitude. And the laser effects are indeed quite nice. But we’ll see.

  9. voorsk says:

    i was convinced there’d be a confession of knowing the devs on this one – the trailer is horrible!