Thursday, July 25, 2013

Futuridium EP [MixedBag Srl] - $1.99

3D/behind the back arcade-based shooters aren’t really a thriving genre in the AppStore. But when one does come along, it’s usually worth checking out as there’s not many poorly designed titles in this little ‘underground’ genre of video games. Fractal Combat, No Gravity, Awesome Saucer, After Burner, all of these are definitely showcase titles on the iDevice. Yet, for whatever reason, more developers are not tapping into this widespread player base like you’d expect them to. But the ones that do take on the challenge have shown that they’re incredibly talented, and the release of Futuridium EP by MixedBag is no exception. 

Futuridium brings back memories of games like Star Fox and Space Harrier but brings a sort of puzzle feeling to the whole game. Each stage puts you up against a different battleship and you’re tasked with taking out blue cubes, turrets and mines in each stage before the core of the battleship is revealed and ready to be destroyed. What makes the game so much more than just your average behind the back space shooter are the scoring and energy mechanics. While you play, your energy gauge will be constantly depleting. If you crash, a large chunk of energy is taken away. Linking together chains of destroyed cubes will raise your energy gauge as well as your score multiplier and, while using the game’s nifty 180 degree flipping mechanic, each stage’s cubes can be linked together in one continuous chain resulting in the possibility of some insane scores. 

Now, there are only 13 levels, but don’t let that dissuade you from taking the plunge here. There are 2 difficulties at first, Easy and Normal, but there are also 3 more locked difficulties which can be unlocked once you complete game on the previous difficulty. There’s also a catch with the difficulties. Each one ramps the speed of the gameplay up a notch, and with this also comes more points per object destroyed. So, the higher the difficulty, the higher your score could potentially be. There is also a single level mode where you can play levels that you’ve already reached in the Arcade Mode in order to practice. This does come in handy, especially since the game’s difficulty, even on Normal, is fairly high. But if you’re willing to put some time in, Futuridium EP really opens up as one of the most challenging yet satisfying arcade shooter experiences you’ll have on your mobile device. 

The graphics are retro, minimal, slick and chic and definitely draw you into the world of the game. The dubstep and electro tracks selected for the game’s soundtrack are full of energy and definitely fit the adrenaline packed gameplay. There are no power-ups, no shields, it’s basically just you and your reflexes up against the game. Another plus? There’s no IAP in sight, putting everyone on a level playing field right from the get-go. All of this ties in together to form an incredibly immersive, quick moving package that’s a total feast for the eyes, ears and all out twitch reflexes that so many of us wind up seeking out when trying to decide what game we want to play when we’re looking for a challenge. 

Priced at an incredibly reasonable $1.99, being Universal and including GameCenter support with leaderboards for Hi Score and Cubes Destroyed along with 35 hard to snag achievements and plenty of little Easter eggs for you completionist’s out there to try and find, I really have no qualms highly recommending Futuridium EP. It might just wind up on our end of the year ‘Best Of’ lists for 2013 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up on more than a few other sites Game Of The Year lists. If you’re still not convinced, you can download the game for free from the developer’s website to play on your PC or MAC. If that doesn’t add to the drive to support MixedBag, I don’t know what will. I’m definitely excited to see what comes out of their studio next. If this is any indication of what’s to come, there’s a good chance it’ll blow many gamers away.


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