Developer: MixedBag
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Futuridium EP, when introducing its controls, includes an in-game method for changing music tracks. Such a thing seems silly at first: why would I want to do that while in-game? Well, it’s because Futuridium EP is so heavily based on music. Not just that it features a well-defined electronic soundtrack with plenty of dubstep, but that music and rhythm play a significant role in the game.

Futuridium-07Structurally, the game is kind of like if Defender had a baby with a 3D space shooter like Arc Squadron. I say this in that flipping one’s ship around in a 180 is possible and necessary. The levels take place on 3D structures that stretch out otherwise into infinite space, so doing the sudden 180 becomes necessary to stay in the level or to hit more of the glowing blue cubes that serve as the targets. They are often placed in such a way that multiple sweeps of the level become necessary, though not too many: energy is constantly draining, and the cubes refill it. Death is not the end, but the energy hit is painful.

The levels are designed in such a way that there’s a proper approach; a rhythm to them that makes sense. There’s the “perfect chain” reward, sure, but the satisfaction that comes from knowing that this is the proper pattern is far more apparent. The score bonus is just a quantifiable reward for that satisfaction that Futuridium EP traffics in for those who stick with it.

Futuridium-01The controls are a bit of a mixed bag: the drag-to-move controls are standard virtual joystick fare. The issue comes with the flip maneuver, which is right above the fire button. I often will accidentally flip direction when trying to fire at the start of a level. It’s a bit confusing to wonder where the level is when I’m just flying out into the middle of space.

The game would be better with physical controls, and in fact it is: the free PC/Mac version plays incredibly well with a gamepad. Futuridium EP seems to be largely the same – you’re paying for mobility and tweaks, mostly. And to support the developers. If interesting games like this aren’t worth $1.99, then there’s something truly messed up with the gaming market. Don’t be the problem. Be the solution.

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