Review: FutureGrind – Grinding on the Rails of Excitement

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FutureGrind is here and with it comes an entirely new take on the 2D-style track-based genre that sees you taking to a futuristic world where you’re the driver of a futuristic bike, navigating neon-lit tracks. Is it worth the experience? Find out now with our review.


Pros:
+Beautifully designed graphics and animations
+Each track offers a unique challenge as the game gets underway
+The soundtrack is easy on the ears
+A story that’s not overwhelming or hard to enjoy

Cons:
-Challenges act as fluff and don’t necessarily add much to the game


I was offered FutureGrind to review, it was explained to me that it would be something close to the Trials games I’ve played in the past. It would be a game that I can pick up, do a few tracks, and simply put down as I wish. What I got when putting up was something a bit unexpected.

Booting up FutureGrind for the very first time, I was instantly greeted by a beautiful and colorful menu, one accented with bright and vibrant colors, not completely offset by its techno-like soundtrack. Put simply, the experience is a neon-filled one that is completely accented by its futuristic aesthetic and techno-like soundtrack.

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Welcome to the Grind

To set itself apart from franchises such as TrialsFutureGrind does things slightly differently. For one, you use a futuristic motorcycle that has a spinner-like system, allowing the driver to sit in the middle of this rotating system. There’s a catch to this system though.

The tracks are 2D-stages where you’ll grind on multiple rails that change colors as you proceed through every course. You’ll find that these rails will match the distinct colors of your bike wheels, allowing for a far greater sense of level design and gameplay mechanics than you might have with a game such as Trials FusionTrack Mania Turbo, or even Urban Trial Freestyle.

My enjoyment was dampened by a boring and somewhat meticulous tutorial system. Putting it bluntly, the tutorials were boring and made it hard for me to pay attention to what I should have been learning. While they are necessary, the game itself is pretty self-explanatory. The worst part of my distaste for forced tutorials came true. A much better experience was just on the horizon. What experienced after them was something entirely different and incredibly fun.

Instead of just going from track to color track, learning the most basic of mechanics, I was presented with a truly challenging title. I had to now make sure my wheels that matched each rail lined up before I could continue and I even had to ensure my timing was correct. If I didn’t, that was trouble, and it meant I would fail at what I was attempting to do.

It was something fresh, like a fresh coat of paint to an old and tired looking car. It all became apparent at what was about to happen. The experience was unfolding right before my eyes whether I was playing in a handheld mode or docked. I easily got behind the “synthwave” vibe as some like to call the futuristic and techno-like music.

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The story is told through messages with other characters that help develop your bike

Storytelling in this game is about as immersive as you can get. Not in the sense of Dustin’s ever-beloved Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice or his recent tango with Anthem, but something closer to a visual novel. But they’re non-intrusive and they aren’t going to force you to read or listen to dialogue for hours on end.

If the story isn’t for you, you can skip right on through it and head for the very next track, but it is advised you read at least some of it to have some idea of what is going on. They kind of will tell you when the difficulty is about to increase by telling you about something important in regards to your bike or some bit of discussion about the events unfolding around you.

To some, it’s nothing memorable and it’s quite forgettable while some might enjoy a semi-serious storyline, one that I myself did enjoy. But, what is it to experience a game if you don’t discuss how it runs and plays on a Nintendo Switch?

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It runs rather well and even offers a bit of eye candy for fans of neon colored games.

In handheld mode and docked, handheld is my preferred way to play, the game ran buttery smooth (as Dustin likes to say). In this mode, just like in docked, there wasn’t any framerate loss that I could see. The game itself also isn’t all that taxing on the hardware that it uses.

Rarely did I feel any form of heat coming from my Switch compared to other Switch games that demand a bit more from the handheld device. That being said, the graphics themselves are easy on the eyes. Rarely did I find myself unable to play the game for very long.

Even with its use of beautiful neon colors, I couldn’t help myself and appreciate the designs put before me. Neon blues, greens, reds and sometimes shades of purplish-pink being put on screen as I progressed. Each map containing a different set of colors the further I got into the game.

As progression is made, so is the challenge that presents itself. The increased difficulty is a surprise that is a rather welcomed change of pace and it’s just a slight enough increase in the challenge that is FutureGrind that it isn’t overwhelming, but it will add in a bit of excitement to the experience.

Speaking of challenge, there are challenges available that help fluff the experience, giving the game a bit of replayability for those looking to stick around for the entire experience.

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The Experience is rather short, but it’s not going to eat your battery alive

The downside to games like these can be quite clear from the very start. Track-based games are short, very short, and they’re great pick-up-and-go titles, allowing you to have a time burner or a game you can ease your way through instead of spending hundreds of hours in a single world.

But because of the challenges, your progression can slow, seeing to that you complete each and every one of the challenges put before you. You will need to complete them over time in order to progress through the game, allowing you to experience new challenges and tracks over time.

During your time, you’ll find battery life isn’t an issue as your battery won’t take a heavy hit from FutureGrind. Not as much as it would from games like Fortnite or Breath of the Wild anyways. Just like the controls, it’s an easy going experience and one that you’ll enjoy regardless of how you play it.

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The Conclusion

When said and done, FutureGrind is a solid title. Whether it’s the neon-lit tracks, the soft, but the somehow dramatic techno-like soundtrack, I can’t help but enjoy the game for what it is: A laid back track-based racer that sees you complete multiple challenges along the way.

It’s a perfect fit for how many enjoy their Nintendo Switch’s, a device that’s meant to be played on the go, but has the ability to be a full-on entertainment system in its very own right.

FutureGrind
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch
Platform Reviewed: Switch
Developer: Milkbag Games
Publisher: Milkbag Games
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $19.99

With plenty of challenges, gameplay mechanics, and a moderately enjoyable story, there’s not much you can’t enjoy about FutureGrind, which makes it a perfect fit for those looking for a game to fill in the time between upcoming titles like Daemon X Machina and Pokemon Sword and Shield.


Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.


Final Score: out of 10


About the Writer:

chris_adeeChris Adee is one of B.A.T.G.R.’s newest writers who seems to love three things. Sleep, games, and MOBA’s when he’s not goofing around on Warframe and SMITE. He also likes games. A lot. Oh and anime. Did we mention anime?

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