Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow - There's a fun game in there if you dig deep enough

With the support of Futurama's original creative team and cast behind it, expectations have been high for Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow, the all new Futurama mobile game by developers TinyCo.

At the same time, TinyCo's reputation precedes it - other licensed games like Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff were nearly all free-to-play gimmicks with very little substance. Would Worlds of Tomorrow be more of the same or a true Futurama game we could all get behind?

Well, friends, I have good news, and I have bad news.

Off you go, apparently

When you dig down deep enough, Worlds of Tomorrow is a game for the fans. All of the game's written dialogue is charming and true to the characters, the animations are full of the weird Futurama wackiness you'd expect, and there are some fun RPG elements in there.

Worlds of Tomorrow plops you right down in the middle of New New York after mating hypnotoads render the fabric of space-time awry. It's your job to clean up New New York, unlocking blocks of the city and reuniting with your missing friends. You may need to take to outer space to gain specific items to unlock characters.

The space exploration bits are quite fun - you have a number of different missions to complete on each planet, and you can choose from the characters you've unlocked to join you on your adventures.

These forays to far off worlds usually lead to old-school RPG battles against the bizarre monsters and aliens that roam in outer space. You need to tap on your characters as a circle beneath them fills up to block attacks, while tapping enemies' circles at just the right moment to unleash your own offensive. It adds an active element to what would otherwise be a bland system.

It's light and silly, but it's a charming bit of fan service, nonetheless.

I don't want to live on this planet anymore

Your enjoyment of all of that, though, hinges on your tolerance for the most shameless of freemium mechanics. Worlds of Tomorrow is nearly drowning in them. You're stuck with timers from the get-go.

The city map is an overwhelming mess of floating icons that are not only confusing, but often lead you to menus gated by IAPs unless you're willing to wait. On top of the standard menus, you've got menus full of things to buy and missions to complete for each building and character,, all of which require waiting or premium currency to complete.

The game's premium currency, pizza, is not easily available, even to beginners, though you can watch a video to earn one slice at a time.

And if you think you can escape to outer space and explore while your timers tick down, think again. You won't be able to add party members currently working on a quest back in New New York, so you're still stuck waiting for those dastardly timers to tick down.

Progress will be terribly slow. Worlds of Tomorrow is only truly enjoyable for brief stints of time. I'm afraid I'm conflicted on this one. I want to like it. It's clear that the game is trying to appeal to fans of the show. If Worlds of Tomorrow were stripped down to the exploration/RPG bits it would be a decent game, but as it stands now it's a bloated disappointment.

Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow - There's a fun game in there if you dig deep enough

Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow has some fun ideas, but its free-to-play features weigh it down.