Futuridium EP Deluxe review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4
Publisher: MixedBag
Developer: MixedBag
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

To some extent, Futuridium EP Deluxe is cut from the same cloth as TxK from earlier this year. It, too, is a space-shooter that’s very, very heavily indebted to some of the earliest video games. It’s got relatively simple graphics and gameplay, and it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine playing it on an old school arcade cabinet.

At the same time, though, there’s something undeniably modern about Futuridium. Part of it is the graphics; as retro as they may be, if you look closely you’ll see little flourishes — things like intentional ghosting of the little squares you’re blasting — that separate them from the straight lines and angles of a game like TxK. Likewise, even if the gameplay itself is pretty basic, consisting of nothing more than flying through space and shooting at enemies and cubes, it’s still got a present-day sensibility as far as its level of difficulty goes. Like a lot of today’s retro-inspired games, Futuridium is unforgivingly punishing, and leaves little margin for error. It may only have fifty levels, but they’re fifty of the hardest levels you’re likely to come across.

Futuridium 1

And then there’s the music. Futuridium’s gameplay may have its roots in the ’70s and ’80s, but its pulsating electronic soundtrack could only have been created now. It’s a mixture of drum & bass, breakbeat and electro, and it’s not at all surprising that it can be consumed separately on a 45-minute soundtrack that’s being sold independently of the game. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that the music works even better outside of the game than it does as part of it; here, the beats don’t always match up with the music, leading to little moments of audio-visual dissonance.

They’re not so great that they impede Futuridium’s overall quality, of course. Whatever minor dissonance may be created by the occasional wrong note, it’s more than made up for by gameplay that’s simple, fun, and insanely addictive.

Grade: B+