Black Future ’88 on Switch (Review)

In a few words Black Future ’88 is a ‘Masochistic Bladerunner platformer’ and I love it. You’ll likely die over and over again, but every death is progress.

The world blew up in 1988 and people stopped keeping track of years, months or days. The only measurement of time left is how long you have to live.

Each play through is on an 18-minute timer – before your heart explodes – and you must fight your way through a procedurally-generated fortress, Skymelt. I have yet to run out of time before dying but each death unlocks new upgrades and weapons.

The style reminds me heavily of Bladerunner and, oddly, the Double Dragons movie, a staple of my childhood. Neo lights everywhere, brightly colored bullets and enemies left, right, up and down – thank the developer for the auto-assist targeting.

I highly recommend taking some time each run through to explore the map, to find some upgrades and weapons. Having made a direct run for the boss a few times, I can safely say beating it with the start weapons is hard or next to impossible. Find at least one really deadly gun and a lot of ammo and you can handle most of the bosses, though they do change each time. My biggest challenge has been conserving HP – still working on dodging bullets. Once you’ve beaten a boss you carry on further into Skymelt. Full disclosure, at the time of writing this I have only beaten a second boss so I can’t say how much more complicated the game gets after this but will hopefully be finding out this week.

Black Future ’88 is easy to learn, difficult to master. If you like retro shooter platformers, I would suggest picking this up on Switch.