Games Radar — April 11, 2018

The best games of PAX East 2018

by Connor Sheridan, Sam Prell

Black Future '88 (2018 - PC, TBA)

I finally got a feel for what Black Future '88 when I found a raygun that instantly teleports you to the (former) location of whatever you just shot with it. Then I equipped an upgrade that made all of my projectiles bounce off walls. It's a uniquely disorienting power-trip to oneshot scads of robot goons as you blip into their wreckage, occasionally appearing in an unexpected corner thanks to a lucky ricochet kill. The throbbing synth soundtrack helps too.

Black Future '88 is a sidescrolling, run-based shooter; your character's heart will explode in 18 minutes and their only hope for survival is to fight through a dystopi-neon tower and destroy the evil force at its peak. The time limit means you have to keep the needle above "cautious exploration" or else you'll keel over and die, yeah, but your measly health bar means you have to keep the needle below "reckless rampage" too. More than just an arcade-style challenge, time serves as the most valuable currency in Black Future '88; you can even take devil's bargains here or there to exchange your time for powerful boons, or capitalize on powerups that increase your precious store of minutes and seconds. Connor Sheridan

Semblance (2018 - PC, Switch)

In Semblance, you are dirt. I don't mean that in a cruel or demeaning way, mind you; you literally play as dirt in this game, brought to life in order to cleanse a crystalline infection that seems to be spreading throughout the world.

Jokingly referred to as "the world's first true platformer," Semblance is a game about... well, platforms. But unlike other 2D sidescrollers where your avatar will hop from one stationary spot to the next, Semblance is all about transforming the world around you to suit your needs.

See that objective up there? You can't reach it as the world is now. But if you were to, say, go underneath the nearby platform and smack yourself into it, denting and deforming it upward, you could climb higher and reach the objective. Got some deadly lasers blocking your path? Dent the terrain nearby to cause their alignment to shift, or block the beam entirely.

Semblance's puzzles are about breaking your assumptions over how a platformer should work. It's a clever deconstruction of the genre and I'm excited for the full release. Sam Prell

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