Thursday, 24 January 2019

Asylum Reviews: FutureGrind [Switch].

Within minutes of installing FutureGrind, I was hooked. The repetitiveness of being so determined to nail a track and bag some high scores is equally infuriating and thrilling. The aim of the game is to complete tracks and fulfill the tasks set out before you. You might have to perform a particular trick, whilst also managing to survive the track (often easier said than done) or touch a certain number of coloured rails. 

The art style is beautiful, with bright neon rails taking the forefront of the scene. Positioned high in the sky, this removes the need for much else going on in the background aside from a nice landscape, and it works really well with the aesthetic of the game. Sound-design is also very fitting with the music syncing up well to the movements you'll do to pull off each trick or move from rail to rail. 

Colour zones, which recolour your vehicles wheels are signified by a large bar of colour surrounding a rail, and having a wheel go through this aligns it to that colour. This means that the wheel can then only touch rails of a matching colour - unless you go through another colour zone to reset it. This adds an exciting layer of challenge to the tracks, as it can be quite difficult to decide when is best to colour wheels, and if you should go for just one or take the risk and go for both, in the hopes that another zone will come up to change this again if necessary.

There are a few different variations of vehicle, ranging from the Tron-reminiscent bikes, to weird flip-floppy bikes with one huge wheel and a tiny one pendulum-swinging above or below it. Learning how best to utilise the bikes, and how to pull off different tricks with them, be it flips or varying grinds on the rails.

There's a story going on in the background involving corporations who are looking to sign you to pull off stunts on their tracks, and some kind of nefarious plot going on between them (with some tracks being blocked out initially with warnings of "Illegal system access detected" and "Unauthorized user account terminated" coming up when you try to enter them. Whilst it's nice that a story was added, the tracks themselves - and the challenges within - are enough for me to not pay too much attention to the story, instead clicking furiously to load through the typed dialogue to let me into the next level.

There's a fantastic addition of a Colour Blind mode, which allows the rail/wheel colours to be selected to help aid play for people who have trouble differentiating particular colours. This is a great bit of forethought into accessibility from the developers, and something I wish more devs would take into consideration in reference to differing abilities. Similarly, there is also an option within the game to turn on Assist Mode, which modifies the game rules to allow easier play. The devs are aware of how challenging the game can be, so have given this as an option to allow people of all abilities to be able to cope with the difficulty. The only thing that this switches off whilst active is the ability to save high scores, which is a fair trade off for greater accessibility.

As frustrating as it is satisfying, FutureGrind really delivers something special. If you're a fan of games like Trials, and enjoy a challenge then this is the game for you. While I wasn't particularly enamoured by the story, mostly due to my own impatience of wanting to get right into the next level, I feel this didn't negatively impact the game much, as it would have been perfectly fine even without the story in place.

In the end, we decided to give FutureGrind the CollectingAsylum rating of 8/10.

Have you played FutureGrind yet? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

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