Black Future ’88 is a roguelite to play before your heart explodes

In the bleak world of Black Future ’88, life is not measured not in years, months, or even weeks, but in minutes. After Duncan, a crazed architect sitting at the top of a giant tower unleashed a flurry of nuclear weapons the world has been plunged into darkness. You play one of the few survivors of this atrocity and your only desire is to exact your revenge on Duncan before your heart explodes.

This is far easier said than done though as his tower never stops shifting. When you add in the waves of AI, the traps, and monstrous Wardens you are probably not going to make it. Black Future ’88 is a roguelike 2D action shooter soaked in style and dripping with the kind of challenge that players live for. It’s colourful, vibrant, and above all else, violent. You are going to die and the die again more times than you can count.

There are five different characters to choose from and each has their own style of play thanks to different strengths and weaknesses. As you battle your way up the tower you will find a plethora of different weapons to use to lay waste to anything stupid enough to get in your way. The enemies you come up against are all pretty intense, so don’t expect this to be a cake walk. If you lose focus for even a second, a simple turret can easily spell the end for you.

The most striking thing about Black Future ’88 outside of its wonderful visual style is the pace. Everything is done at breakneck speed and you have to learn to keep up. Mastering the controls is only one part of the puzzle, as you also need to learn timing to survive. It isn’t enough to just be good, you have to be the best. It is punishingly difficult, but also obscenely addictive. Just the way a good roguelite should be.

If this isn’t selling you on it, then the brilliant soundtrack certainly might. There is a truly brilliant analog-synth soundtrack by Tremor Low that vibrates through your skull as you battle from one room to the next. Every beat is glorious, and the world feels more alive because of it. This will probably be one to pick up on its own at some point.

There’s also couch co-op to consider. In the event that your household has two masochists living in it, then you can both push through and see how far you can get.

The full release is due at some point this year, but it already feels incredibly clean and is definitely going to be one to keep an eye out for. It could well be one of the best roguelikes of the year and feels like it could rival the likes of Dead Cells and The Binding of Isaac. Whether or not the full release manages to deliver on all of this remains to be seen, but I am incredibly excited to find out.

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Jason can often be found writing guides or reviewing games that are meant to be hard. Other than that he occasionally roams around a gym and also spends a lot of time squidging his daughter's face.