Review: Futuridium EP Deluxe

While the developers cite Uridium on the C64 as being partial inspiration coupled with the visual style of Star Fox (the latter of which is more understandable) I feel like that's just a way of selling the game they've created short as beyond the then "new" mechanics of being able to turn your ship around swiftly, I don't feel as if that does it justice or a disservice because to me the developers MixedBag have achieved so much more than the main game they have chosen to borrow a basic concept from whereas the polygonal visuals are a much more obvious futuristic throwback which creates an immediate juxtaposition toward any potential player which is more than enough to pique a decent amount of interest from the outset. It's certainly an interesting way of drawing your attention to an indie title which already has a curious name, welcome to the realm of Futuridium.

From the moment you load up the game, it throws you right into a tutorial in which the instructions are perfectly blended with the gameplay in so much as you are given direction to move your ship, shoot all of the blue cubes with lasers to restore your depleted energy, turn around with a button press, don't crash and shoot the white cube at the end which is the core, causing it to explode signifiying the end of the stage. In essence it's that simple with the only story element being that you are trapped in an infinite loop of "Futuridium" from which you're trying to escape; this is your motivation for trying to beat all of the fifty stages plus five bosses along the way and just so that you know from the outset, it's definitely a challenge.

FuturidiumEPDeluxeImage1Sharp piloting skills are definitely required for this title.

Once you grasp the concept which doesn't take long you'll likely find that it won't take you long to crash a few times regardless of whether you're playing the Original mode (More points, Less energy, Energy depleted means Game over instantly) or Remix mode (Less points, More energy, Energy depleted means Game over when you crash) and of these two I would say that in this instance the original is the best because it feels truer to the concept but pick whichever you are most comfortable with, it doesn't take much effort to figure out that the latter option comes across as being more difficult. Upon completing stages you can opt to play them seperately as standalone challenges but you cannot progress further here, instead it's probably wise to use this as training for any particular part you might be stuck on, for me my first real sticking point was where the game deviated from the often elongated style to instead presenting me with a cube which would open and close, forcing you to time your blasting of the blue blocks carefully yet all the time being aware that your fuel is always depleting so you're really constantly under an imposed time limit within an alternative guise.

Ironically during the time that I was learning the games mechanics while I understood how the game played it has to be said that there is an element of restriction to the controls which intentional or otherwise could have been improved by borrowing some more elements from Star Fox, because I quite honestly feel as if having the ability to turn your craft on its side to make getting inbetween structures simpler or even - dare I say it - "Do a barrel-roll!" so that you could maybe deflect some of those pesky homing missiles which are introduced a few stages into the game and are a monumental pain being that you can think that you've eluded them only to get blown up, have to respawn at the start with less energy usually wasting a continue in the process; fortunately your progress is preserved if this happens so if you've only got a few cubes left to intercept then it's not necessarily the end of your run but it's a notable nuisance. 

FuturidiumEPDeluxeImage2Time to run the gauntlet!   

Though perhaps that's the challenge of the game, afterall it does seem to be a title which has already found success on many other platforms before this Wii U version recently came about, so it must have been a challenge to tweak the controls to suit various input devices; indeed some may even think that it's a case of too little, too late due to the fact it originally came out at the end of 2014 on certain platforms but I don't take that view at all because I feel that Futuridium  has the potential to flourish on Nintendo platforms. Indeed a release for the New 3DS is planned but as of this moment in time we don't know exactly when but I for one will look forward to seeing how the portable version holds up, also if there is some kind of cross-platform discount via the NNID (Nintendo Network ID) then that would surely help in boosting any potential future sales for anyone who likes to own titles on both platforms where possible, I would also say that it's rather telling that although I already own this excellent enjoyable title on another platform, the fact that I'm more enthused to play it on a Nintendo platform surely shows that there is definitely an untapped market here... it's a similar story to Axiom Verge which is a game I want to own on the Wii U due to its ties to the Metroid series, so here I think the Star Fox influence must have had a positive effect.

Of course while nostalgia can play a powerful role in our desire to play games, particularly instances where there's a clear influence, that's only part of the package as the newly devloped title has to stand up on its own as well, fortunately this is definitely the case here as there is an enjoyable experience to be had just so long as you don't mind honing your reflexes. Your efforts will be rewarded as well because as you play, the more cubes you destroy will result in you unlocking aesthetic skins which you can apply to the stages which makes for some fun instances, you can earn more credits as well which some might say makes the game less challenging but honestly to complete the entire game in one run in order to keep your high score still provides a decent trial; if you are really dedicated enough you can even unlock the Flappyridium mini-game after a staggering five thousand cubes... I'll leave it to your imagination and mine as to what the unlockable title plays like but you can probably guess.

FuturidiumEPDeluxeImage3Watch out for those missiles! Do a Barrel Ro... oh right, nevermind.

Striking visuals help this title to form its identity in your mind before you've even played it, just from seeing a single image or piece of artwork is enough to conjure up a reasonably good idea of what to expect, so in this respect it's not only very nice to look at with its stylish swathes of polygonal colours which blend seamlessly into one another but it's also honest in its portrayal which is very refreshing to have a game which actually looks almost exactly like its boxart, intentionally or otherwise this works in its favour. Presentation is also impeccable from the flowing introduction, to the sensible menus right into the stages within which feature lots of nice touches including the trail your ship leaves behind in its wake so that you can see your flight path and of course the general retro vibe which is perfectly executed.

Not only are you treated to visual splendor but also aural bliss as the music which has been composed by both Omar Ferrero & Luca Gasperoni making for a fantastic mix of high-tempo, upbeat, pulsating Electronica-like accompaniment which goes well with the on-screen action as it's all scored well to go with each area. It's a really interesting mix as you have both Italian and American influences which work together really well, it's something would could also listen to on its own if you wanted to, indeed game soundtracks being released digitally alongside games seems to be a growing trend across a lot of store fronts, if there was the option to purchase this OST alongside the game on Nintendo's eShop then I most likely would have invested in the music in this instance.

 FuturidiumEPDeluxeImage4Oh it's a silver ring! If I fly through this it will restore my health... right? R-right?

Indeed it seems that Mixed Bag are very talanted studio as in addition to this title they also have the exploration based Forma.8 planned for release on platforms including the Wii U which will be an interesting one to follow and according to a teaser on their website ( they also have a twin-stick shooter with a unique "stick-dancing" mechanic where a beam is fired between two ships both of which you control independently with each stick on your controller, that title is called Gemini and doesn't have any platforms assigned to it yet but who knows, perhaps if Futuridium sells well on Nintendo platforms then we might get to look forward to yet another interesting title from this experienced indie developer? None of this is in any way confirmation in any way, these are just titles I happened to notice that are also in development from the same studio so I thought it was worth a mention for anyone who decides to purchase Futuridium and might be looking for other titles in the future.

Back to present day though and it's safe to say that Futuridium EP Deluxe is a very enjoyable title which offers arcade style flying & shooting, within a vibrant environment which has a learning curve which is enjoyable to overcome and is an experience which will keep you coming back for more if you like to beat high-scores thanks to the online leaderboards which seem to be highly competitive if you have the drive to keep bettering yourself, sadly I can only aspire to practice more as I don't think I'll become that good at it but it can be fun to try. Playing on the gamepad seems to work reasonably well too though the whole experience is noticably better on a big screen, it's still nice to have the option though but if it was up to me then I would have had an option of perhaps tracking an alternative camera view on the gamepad which would have helped with the deliberately tight controls but this is a port so it's better just to be grateful that we have the game on Nintendo platforms finally.

FuturidiumEPDeluxeImage5Time to get all the cubes, inside this larger cube and then escape... Uh oh!

If you're looking for a fast-paced title which rewards you the more you play, available for a very reasonable price (£7.99 on the eShop) and that can prove fun as a "pass the controller around" experience if you have friends or family around, you can't really go far wrong here as this colourful throwback to similar shooters with it's own unique twist is a rather pleasant surprise that you may wish to invest in within the not to distant future.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Futuridium EP Deluxe is a fantastic example of a new title which takes a simple idea, inspired by past games and forms its own identity from it. If you like a reasonable challenge with that "just one more go" high-score chasing element then this is worth investing in.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Commendable soundtrack
Enjoyable gameplay
Flawless presentation
High score challenge


Annoying bonus stages
Longevity issues

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