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FutureGrind is the fourth release from indie development team Milkbag Games. Available on PlayStation 4, Steam and Nintendo Switch we had the pleasure of spending some time with the game ready for its launch.
Set in a futuristic land this high flying, adrenaline pumping stunt extravaganza has become the worlds number one sporting event. The premise of FutureGrind is incredibly simple, survive the run and get the highest score possible. It’s incredibly addictive and well executed. It plays like a mix between the Trials series, OlliOlli and the 1994 classic SNES game Uniracers. It even takes us back to the days of first playing Tony Hawks Pro Skater and trying to nail that perfect line while beating previously set scores. This time though you take control of a bike with two wheels, one positioned above your head and the other below, which run along a railed track. The track is broken in key places and made up of different colours. You have to match the colours of your wheels with the rails that you are grinding along, combinations can quickly change while flying down the course at lightning speed so keep an eye on the action or else its certain death.
As you progress through dozens of hand-crafted levels there are various collectables and power-ups that appear, bounce pads or differing sized wheels change up the way you play. Skill, timing and precision are needed to succeed and often it becomes a balancing act, especially if the bike becomes top heavy. The key to hitting those highest of scores is in tricks, flips and combos so these need to be practised over and over again to be mastered.
FutureGrind is a perfect drop in and drop out of sort of game, you can easily compete in a couple of races while on short journeys or late at night. Tracks are varied, incredibly fun and the art design is perfect. The colour palette the developers have chosen is bright and vibrant which goes a long way in helping tell what rails you need to grind on and the ones to avoid even at high speeds. As you progress you will find yourself unlocking new bikes each with their own unique styles of play and setups. There are also a number of hidden levels that can be found by following messages left by a hacker who has plans to disrupt everything going on in this racing world but that’s for you to discover.
Much like Tony Hawks the soundtrack is exceptional, although gone are the fast-paced pop-punk tracks which make way for a pumping electronic lineup. Every time you grind a rail it feels like you are adding to the music, you become entranced in the moment concentrating on the next move. It feels like a rhythm action game at times and is all the better for it.
Indie developer Milkbag Games have created a great game that is a superb take on the genre and can sit proudly alongside the greats – Tony Hawks, OlliOlli and Trials. All of the games mentioned share that key mentality of ‘just one more go because I can get that higher score’. After spending many hours on and off playing FutureGrind and working through the story, deliberately not gone into full detail on here, simply in an attempt to beat those high scores. The inclusion of leaderboards is a nice touch and the game has been a pleasure to experience. Overall FutureGrind superb and a game that is wholeheartedly recommended.
Beard Score: 8/10
Nintendo Switch Essentials:
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 22/01/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Racing, Sports, Platformer, Arcade
Publisher: Milkbag Games
Download link: eShop