FutureGrind Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Milkbag Games

Publisher: Milkbag Games

Release Date: Out Now

Price as of Article: $19.99 USD, £15.29 GBP

Game code provided by Milkbag Games for review

Gameplay
FutureGrind is one of those games that will keep you right on the edge, throughout, constantly asking more of you and compelling you to try harder. The basic premise of FutureGrind is to grind along 2D scrolling levels, matching the coloured rails to the colours on your “bike”. I say “bike” because these are futuristic, stunt bikes with wheels at 180° angles and the cockpit at the center. You earn points for performing different types of grinds and flips. As long as you don’t crash or touch a white rail, you’ll also rack up an ever-increasing multiplier every time you touch a new rail. 
 
There are multiple bikes that you’ll unlock across 30 levels, though they didn’t all serve up the same, exhilarating fun. The Gimbal, for example, has one giant wheel and another tiny one, as if a Penny Farthing was turned into some kind of unicycle, only the second wheel is floating above your head. If you’re wondering why I’m mocking an imaginary video-game vehicle, it’s because I hated using this bike. Others presented a significant challenge but still felt fair, while I came to dread levels with this green and orange abomination. I occasionally tried to improve my score but, unfortunately, the other levels were just much more enjoyable.
 
It’s a shame, but overall it’s only a small nuisance – the rest of the bikes handled brilliantly despite their differences, and this more than made up for it. My favorite was definitely a red and green bike that allows you 3 jumps and does away with balancing altogether. This really felt like a stunt bike and left all the others looking more like mobility scooters, able to pull off long chains of tricks without breaking a sweat. 
 
FutureGrind Review Screenshot 3
 
That’s not to say that the levels are easy, however. Each level can be completed at bronze, silver, gold, or platinum level, with higher score requirements for each. As you’d expect, the platinum medals require an intense mastery of the levels, but repeating levels to find new routes that might increase your score is great fun. When you do get one, the feeling of euphoria is the reward that will push you to try the same on the next level, and the cycle continues – no pun intended. To help you achieve these scores, you can press X at any time to reset your bike at the start of the level.
 
This might seem insignificant, but it’s amazing. If you’re about to miss a rail, if you accidentally touch a white rail or if you just didn’t land what you were attempting, one button press will quickly set you back to the beginning. In a game where you need multiple attempts to get that perfect run, it’s nice not to have to mess about in menus to start all over again. 
 
As you complete levels and objectives, your progress bar in the main menu slowly ticks up towards 100%, and this serves as a real motivator. It’s a small touch, but I think it added to the rewarding feeling of surviving each level. It does actually go past 100%, but it’s still nice having something to work towards.
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Audio

In terms of audio, FutureGrind has a pumping, upbeat electronic dance soundtrack. There’s a handful of different songs but they all fit this description quite closely. Fortunately, they don’t really get in the way and blend into the background, exactly what you want from a game that is sure to test your nerves and have you playing for long sessions. 

I do wish there was voice acting in the game, though. The game’s trailer features voice acting and gave off similar vibes to The Crew 2. It made me think the game would have a thick layer of social media prowess and I’d have to rack up followers as I progressed. Though the story does revolve around a sort of social media, it’s lacking any depth or impact because of the lack of spoken roles. 

Visuals & Performance

FutureGrind Review Screenshot 2

FutureGrind matches the upbeat music with crisp neon visuals to complete the Tron-like theme. It looks great, in my opinion, with the clearly coloured tracks never getting confusing. This is incredibly important for such a fast-paced game, as it allows your brain to quickly distinguish which way up you need to land. I will admit, though, that some of the final levels do trick your brain a little bit, as the tracks start to play with perspective, but this wasn’t really a hindrance. 

One thing that’s not often mentioned is how a game performs on the Switch’s battery life, and I’m pleased to say that FutureGrind seemed to be very kind on the battery. I’m used to getting maybe 90 minutes in handheld mode when I play something like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or DOOM, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much time I got from FutureGrind before I needed to find an outlet. Just something worth considering, if you’re looking for a game to play on long journeys, this might be it. My commendations extend to the rest of the performance, too; the game ran very smoothly and I didn’t notice any issues at all.

Value

FutureGrind will set you back £15.29 GBP or $19.99 USD, which is slightly above what I think it should cost. I completed all of the levels in around 5-7 hours, including some time spent trying to improve my scores in the earlier levels. You could easily spend 20+ hours if you were hell-bent on getting Platinum scores across the board, but I think most people will get somewhere between 5 and 10 hours of playtime. For that amount of time, I think £10 or $15 is a fairer price, so you might want to wait for a sale if you’re not a completionist that needs to have the highest scores on every level. Interestingly, the game is £14.99 on Steam, and £13.99 on PS4, but still $19.99 on the US store

There are also some very similar games coming out in the next couple of weeks; OlliOlli and Pumped BMX Pro are both out in early February. Though they lean more heavily on the “do tricks, get points” goal, they’re undoubtedly similar games to FutureGrind, and may be more enticing prospects if you only have the time and money for one sidescrolling stunt platformer. We’ll be reviewing OlliOlli in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to check back for coverage on these two if FutureGrind doesn’t have you convinced.

Pros

P

Addictive “one more run” gameplay

P

Rewarding improvements and feedback

Cons

P

Lack of voice acting makes the story forgettable