Even Slippy Toad couldn’t pull Futuridium EP out of its hole.
Remember when Starfox hit the Super Nintendo way back when? Do you remember how amazed we all were by the “hyper-realistic” polygonal graphics quality and unprecedented dogfights in space realism? Well so does developer Mixedbag, and they’re out to prove it with Futuridium EP, a decidedly lackluster title that will drive even the most seasoned gamer to the brink of insanity.
You are a space marine, a proud part of a squadron that is poised for the battle of their lives until, and we quote, “something happened.” What that something might be is totally unclear, but you are now alone and caught in a dimensional loop chock-full of vicious polygons to shoot and avoid in the hopes of opening the dimensional gate that will return you to your home dimension, and to your squad. Sounds cool, right? Well it’s not.
The entire left side of the screen becomes your joystick, and though this is a nice respite from other, clunky virtual joysticks out there, the movement is so jerky, so hair-triggered, that your chances of crashing into obstacles are basically unavoidable. Seriously, you will crash into pretty much everything you can crash into. Repeatedly. In fact, Futuridium requires you to fly so low and close to the very things you’re to avoid that it often makes more sense to not try to shoot anything at all.
Sadly, though, your life bar drains at all times unless you take out blocks scattered throughout each level. Your blaster is fired with a virtual button found on the lower right side of the screen, but its imprecise aiming coupled with the aforementioned movement issues rarely allows you to actually hit anything. In other words, you will die so very many times.
There are certain tweaks you can make to improve performance in subtle ways. Lefties can rearrange the control scheme to better suit their situation, for instance, or flight controls can be inverted. These would be perfectly nice additions, but they still don’t make a noticeable difference in the sheer number of failures you will meet.
To its credit, Futuridium EP has an extensive and cool soundtrack chock-full of techno tunes, electro jams, and beyond. A quick swipe of the screen will let you switch tracks, and there is even a jukebox within the main menu, if you like any of the songs to the point where you must hear them without actually experiencing the tedium of the campaign.
It’s a shame that Futuridium EP is such a chore to play because it is definitely one of the coolest looking iOS games currently available. There’s a stylish aspect to the color palette and polygonal level design that is undeniable. Sadly, though, a lacking core experience means that nobody—even old-school gamers—should have to require the kind of patience it would take to truly enjoy this one. Pick it up at your own risk.