FutureGrind (PS4) Review
Connecting colors requires faster reaction skills
Don’t have to worry so much about gravity and momentum
The text based story is shoehorned in
A little light on features
Neon visual look cool, there just isn’t much variety
Also available on Switch and PC, FutureGrind is an arcade stunt platformer similar to Ubisoft’s Trials series but with a strong emphasis on matching colors. While not as technical as Trials, FutureGrind put a new, entertaining spin on the “do tricks to rack up a high score before you reach the end” gameplay.
The gimmick behind this 2D horizontal stunt racer is matching the color of your bike’s tires to that of the track. For example, if the front tire is red, that tire needs to connect with a red track. Alternatively, if this red tire makes contact with a blue track, it is instant game over. The idea is to jump from track to track while flipping the bike to land accordingly, performing tricks and links along the way. White tracks are neutral but will kill multipliers and the player can even earn more points by landing on a track without jumping. There are all sort of little details and tricks that separate itself from all the other stunt racers out there. Plus, the bikes can double jump which is cool and increases air time for some flashier tricks.
Besides the matching color gameplay element, the player can also grind on the track a few different ways; this is the future after all. Unlike Trials, in which the player has to constantly maintain momentum and proper speed to avoid toppling over, FutureGrind eliminates the anxiety that comes with maintaining balance and replaces it with different ways to grind. This keeps the action and speed at the forefront while making the entire experience more accessible. Since the bike is essentially a neon vehicle from Tron, the player can actually grind by connecting the top of the wheel to the bottom of the track (acting sort of like a magnet), or hook the bottom of the wheel to the top of the track, defying gravity. Each way to grind not only reveals different point enhancers, they create different strategies.
Other stunt racers pride themselves on over-the-top environmental set pieces whereas FutureGrind’s levels retain the same visual flair only with new combinations of tracks. While it might not be as flashy, this racer put the focus on getting a high score through carefully crafted stage design. In total, there are a few dozen tracks in the final package with the opening dozen or so acting as sort of a tutorial as they introduce the player to how the game works via mission objectives. In time, the player will unlock additional bikes that throws a new layer of complexity to the gameplay. One bike, for example, has one big tire and one little tire which almost makes you unlearn what you just recently learned, giving the player even more variation. However, each stage is linked together with some light text messages between characters that is completely skippable as it tries to add some sort of narrative as to why someone might be flipping a Tron bike on light rails for points. Also, there is no track editor or real time multiplayer component so players will spend time trying to master each track for higher leaderboard rankings as replay value. Luckily, restarts are instant as they will be constantly needed.
FutureGrind is a difficult game but it is probably one of the most accessible stunt racers of the bunch. Linking colors might require more twitch reflexes but winds up being more entertaining than worrying about momentum, inertia, and gravity like the competitors. The neon color scheme makes the game seem like it is coming from the future but there isn’t much variance in it. It is a little light on features, such as the lack of a level editor, but still provides enough meat on the bone to satisfy trickaholics, especially those looking for something a little different.
Also Try: MotoHeroz (WiiWare)
Better Than: cracking your head open trying a crazy trick on your bike
Wait For It: a sequel or port of Go! Go! Hypergrind (Gamecube)
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com