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.