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Dark Future: Blood Red States hits the apocalyptic road today

Another day, another Games Workshop board game adapted to PC, but Dark Future: Blood Red States is a bit different from the Warhammer norm. Based on the 1988 (and obviously Mad Max-inspired) Dark Future for tabletop, it’s a tactical real-time car combat RPG. Rather than driving your vehicle directly, you’re effectively juggling its weapons systems, picking lanes and speeds and prioritising targets in slow-motion while the car itself handles navigation. It’s developed by Auroch Digital (OGRE, Chainsaw Warrior, Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics) and out now. See a trailer below.

As far as adaptations of board games go, this is a pretty loose one. Dark Future was a turn-based game for multiple players, while this is a solo pseudo-roguelike with real-time-ish combat. You take missions of varying difficulty that put you on a strip of road, and have to clear out waves of grunts until you can face down a boss. Then you take those earnings to buy new car bodies, weapons and internal systems and repeat until you make it big or explode horribly.

The combat itself does look very entertaining. Slow down to bullet time, target that guy with your main gun, then swerve to avoid that bomb which he dropped, and hope it hits one of the two grunts driving up behind you. There’s some real-time physics elements to the action too, rather than just tabletop-style dice rolls. Cars that hit explosives or other obstacles can be blown into the air or spun out and need to right themselves before getting back into the fight.

My main concern is how much depth there is to the combat, and whether it holds up after a dozen or more hours. It’s certainly inventive, but from the little footage I’ve seen, having you control a single car could be potentially limiting in the long run. It’s one I’ll have to get my hands on for any deeper thoughts, but if nothing else, it’s an original take on an obscure ’80s property.

Dark Future: Blood Red States is out now for £14.99/€15.74/$18.74 on Steam.

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Dominic Tarason

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