Game Reviews

Future Sense - Time travel gaming done right

Star onStar onStar onStar onStar off
First published: | Updated:

| Future Sense
Future Sense - Time travel gaming done right
| Future Sense

Time travel's a tricky thing to get right. In real life, obviously, but also in fiction.

When Back to the Future was released 30 years ago, it was seen as a huge risk because time travel films simply hadn't performed well up to that point. It seemed as if there were too many narrative and conceptual knots to untie.

Of course, we've since learned that time travel can be a brilliant addition to films, TV, and indeed games when handled properly. Future Sense is the latest to make a success of it.

Warp factor

The trick to time travel is to lay out clear rules from the get-go. Future Sense doesn't just stick to its own time travel mechanics, it builds a compelling stealth puzzler out of them.

Our protagonist awakes in a stranger's house with no memory of how he got there or who he is. It soon emerges that you're on the run from a shady experimental science agency, which has given you destructive time-warping powers.

Essentially, each top-down stage in Future Sense gives you a limited amount of time before your character 'warps,' which means exploding in a gory mess and rewinding to the beginning of that time period.

Time pauses in between your moves, which are made by dragging out a path on the screen and tapping on interactive elements as you draw near. At any time, you can scrub back along your timeline to correct mistakes or achieve different objectives.

You see, any objects you collect or activate remain so even when you rewind, so a scant few seconds of time can be put to use achieving multiple cascading activities. You might take out a guard, pick up a key card, and open a security door all in the same ten second period.

Better things to come

These mechanics are actually a little tricky to grasp at first, but Future Sense takes a great deal of time instructing you on how its universe works. It does so through frequent flashback training missions - which double as a neat blank-filling narrative device.

The trouble with this is, only the first brief episode is available at present, and a large chunk of that episode is essentially spent on tutorials. Just as you feel like you've got a full grasp on things, it ends.

There's more than enough mechanical ingenuity and narrative intrigue on display here to make you yearn for episode two, but there isn't quite enough meat here to recommend Future Sense unreservedly just yet.

However, I don't need time-warping powers to know that the future is looking very positive indeed.

Future Sense - Time travel gaming done right

A clever, engrossing stealth puzzler that should have its best days ahead of it
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.