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Flippin’ Fantastic: FutureGrind (Switch) review

Millennials often get labelled as a bunch of socially inept weirdos who sit behind keyboards pointing out how the world isn’t politically correct, and how they are morally superior to everyone else. Technically, by some definitions, I am a Millennial. But, I am by no means how the above is described (I say sat behind my keyboard). But we’re all often guilty of tarring people with the same brush, despite the fact everyone is unique. And I was guilty of doing just that when I first took a look at Milkbag Games’ new title FutureGrind.

Based around a futuristic sport that sees you grinding rails on your bike and flying through the air like that scene from ET where he sits in the basket, I came into playing FutureGrind with a negative mindset. I thought, oh, here we are. Another Trials wannabe. But I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Gameplay from FutureGrind showing a bike grinding along a rail upright

FutureGrind is an extremely fast-paced and addictive ‘racing’ game that has you flipping through the skies, grinding along rails and avoiding death at all costs. Following the story of an up and coming star in the sport’s world, you have to race to the end of each track, racking up points by pulling off tricks and meeting objectives set by sponsors. Do well, and sponsors will reward you with new bikes as well as unlocking new tracks to test your skills on.

All is not as simple as it sounds though, or indeed as it first seems. Starting with a simple bike, which has two wheels, one below and one above you, you have to ensure that you only touch rails that match your wheel’s colour, or the neutral grey/white rails. You do this by grinding and balancing on top, hanging from above, or performing undergrinds that see you not hanging, but almost sticking to the underneath of the rails. No idea how the science works there. Hit the wrong colour though and KABOOM! You dead.

FutureGrind artwork showing a rider on a bike grinding along a pink rail

Completing tracks gets more difficult the further you make it through the game, forcing you to time flips perfectly to either make a perfect landing or catch the rail at the right time to hanggrind. Not as easy as it sounds though, as you can literally be millimetres out and it will have you screaming at the game like it was doing this to you on purpose. And I still swear it did. Not an issue if you’re content with just making it to the end of each track, because it can be done without too much hassle, but if you’re like me and wanting to achieve the scores required to get the top trophies, you will become infuriated and you’ll spend much time repeating the same tracks to ensure you get the perfect run.

As frustrating as it is though, it’s actually thoroughly enjoyable and I didn’t think that I would enjoy it as much as I did. I just couldn’t put it down. But alas I had to in order to write this review. It wasn’t just the gameplay that had me hooked though. The artwork with it’s cyberpunk sci-fi style perfectly suited this futuristic sport and it’ll have you mesmerised as you race across the various tracks available. Combine that with the extremely catchy and bass-pumping original soundtrack put together by bignic this game just becomes perfectly rounded.

Gameplay from FutureGrind showing a bike undergrinding

All that said, it wasn’t the most perfect game in the world. The controls on the Switch version for example (although this may just be my fat fingers) whilst simple to learn, were far too easy to reset the track by mistake by having multiple buttons that could do so. You have no idea how many times I was on a good run, pulling off 1080 backflips whilst landing the perfect hanggrind, before the track reset because I became so excited I hit a button without even knowing and undoing all my hard work.

I also thought the story lacked something. It’s not that it’s not a nice rags-to-riches tale of an amateur rising to the top, but I just found that it didn’t grip me and I ignored it for the most part. I was more focused on just scoring highly and completing my objectives to 100% the game (nearly there by the way). Maybe some cut scenes and other video footage would’ve just brought the story to life a little more, but the game file wasn’t massive, and I suppose that would really have upped the memory needed to run the game as smoothly as it plays.

Artwork from FutureGrind showing a bike flying through the air

I’ve said it once already but I’ll say it again. FutureGrind is a highly addictive game that you’ll struggle to put down once you’ve picked it up. It’s fast-paced, full of energy and explosions, and doesn’t get boring no matter how many hours you’ve spent sat there trying to get the perfect run on the same track. Yes, there is room for improvement, but this is genuinely the first game on the Switch that I’ve wanted to keep going back to again and again. And even when I perfect it, which I am determined to do, I don’t see me stopping playing any time soon.

87%

The TL;DR:

  • Beautiful artwork and amazing soundtrack full of catchy bass-pumping tunes;
  • Fast-paced gameplay full of explosions, with plenty of opportunity to pull off insane trick combos;
  • Controls could use some tweaks, as it is easy to reset the game by mistake, especially with fat hands like me;
  • Story, whilst a nice touch, isn’t exactly gripping.
  • Extremely addictive and fun.

FutureGrind is developed by Milkbag Games, and releases on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on January 22, 2019!

For more reviews, click HERE.

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