Black Future '88

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
Black Future '88 Game Poster Image
Challenging adventure is too shallow, difficult to be fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While characters are fighting to defeat a villain and stop his plans, the playable characters are willing to do anything, including killing everything in their way, to accomplish their goals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters have virtually no motivation and character development, apart from the destruction of enemies in your way.

Ease of Play

This game is designed to be incredibly hard. You're thrown into the deep end against opponents, many of which pop up from all sides to hurt you. The randomly generated levels ensure that you can't memorize your way through. Acquiring too many power-ups can infect your character, making them intensely ill, which damages their health. Plus, you're constantly up against the clock, making every move burn through precious seconds you don't have. This can cause you to make mistakes that you weren't expecting if you're focusing on your time instead of safe progress.

Violence

Combat is the main point to the gameplay, with characters swinging or firing a variety of weapons at human and robotic enemies. While there's frequent battles on each screen, only some screens have blood splatters on them. Otherwise, it's free of blood or gore, and retro visuals limits impact of violence.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Black Future 88 is a downloadable rogue-like adventure game for the Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs. The game casts players as warriors trying to climb a constantly changing tower to destroy the evil mastermind at the top of the building. Combat is the main focus of the game, with players wielding swords and firearms to eliminate human and robotic enemies. While you frequently attack multiple targets on each level, there's rarely any blood or gore shown. Only a few scenes have blood splatter in the background. The game is also incredibly difficult, thanks to a constantly randomized level design and a running clock that constantly counts down as you're playing, which could frustrate some gamers. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.

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What's it about?

BLACK FUTURE 88 is a roguelike set in an alternate post-apocalyptic landscape, where the world has been destroyed by a villain named Duncan. Sitting in a remote tower, Duncan manages to launch nuclear bombs and destroy most of the world with fire and irradiated rain. The survivors found themselves stuck in a wasteland that was dominated by Duncan's hordes and gangs, reducing their life expectancy to mere minutes. As one of the few people under this madman's thumb, it's up to you to fight your way into his tower, blast or slash your way through every enemy in your path, kill Duncan, and try to save the world. You'll be able to play as one of five characters, with their own strength and weaknesses, that can be used in the randomly generated levels. You'll also be able to launch attacks with more than 50 different weapons in the game, as well as acquire new gear and skills. Can you undo the damage that Duncan has caused?

Is it any good?

While persevering against impossible odds is a staple of this genre, this game manages to drain the enjoyment out of this fast-paced action shooter. Black Future 88 is a game with an intriguing premise -- people have given up on the passage of time, because their lives are so bleak that they only expect to live around 20 minutes or less. The only option for the survivors of the apocalypse is to try to fight their way into the lair of the villain that destroyed the world, blast through his minions, avoid his traps, and finally take his life. To help you on this quest, you've got the ability to dash through some projectile attacks and even explosions. You'll also pick up new weapons from fallen enemies along with cash that you can spend with merchants scattered through each level, who will sell you gear, health items, and even power-ups to give you an edge in the next battle.

Unfortunately, the fact that you'll need every advantage you can get is where Black Future 88 starts to fall apart. Usually, roguelikes are notoriously hard games, so you want to take some time exploring levels, looking for secrets or weapons to make you stronger for the next stage. But the constantly counting down clock on your life decreases the amount of exploration you might do, because you don't really have the time to check your surroundings, including going out of your way to reach a merchant. Since each level is randomly generated, you can't memorize a path for a level. As a result, the time pressure can cause you to rush through stages to reach the boss in time, which can make you die faster by running into enemies you weren’t expecting. Even worse is that some special abilities are cursed, and some power-ups are infected, causing you more harm than good and making an already difficult game much harder, unfairly intensifying the odds against you. As a result, while you may be entertained by Black Future 88 for a little while, its issues will quickly make you move to a different game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Players can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Black Future 88 affected by the lack of blood and gore that's shown even though fighting is the focus of the game? Would the impact be intensified if the visuals were more realistic?

  • Why is testing your skills against seemingly impossible odds entertaining? Is the challenge the most appealing part of these moments, or is it the chance to persevere against the odds?

Game details

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For kids who love action

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