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Future Sense – A short, sharp introduction to a time travel adventure

Episode 1 is short, but it shows promise

Price: $1.99 / £1.49
Size: 217 MB
Version: 1.0.0
Developer: Origin8
Platform: iPhone & iPad

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Future Sense is something of a time travel drama, in which your character wakes up in a strange room, not knowing how he got there. From here, gameplay is split between the real world, and a lab. Steadily, various story elements are revealed. For a start, you’ve been fitted with WarpTech capabilities, which means you can time travel, and ‘warp’.

You wake up not really knowing where you are... time to find a way out

You wake up not really knowing where you are… time to find a way out

Much of this first episode of the game is about setting up the controls. It’s not easy to get your head around, but once the concept is grasped it becomes fairly simple to get through the stages. Essentially, you’re given a set amount of time for which you have to make it around the level and achieve certain things, like blow up pylons, or get passed guards. If you get caught and shot, you die, but the WarpTech takes you back in time to the beginning of the level, where you can start again – with a few additional seconds on the clock.

If you find yourself being hunted down, or you took a wrong turn, it’s also possible to simply rewind in time from any point and try again. This has a strange affect on gameplay – on one hand, it makes the game essentially really simple because you don’t die and there aren’t any consequences, but on the other, it makes the game far more fluid and enjoyable because you don’t have to repeat yourself so much, instead progressing methodically.

Oof. That's not a good start.

Oof. That’s not good.

The levels mostly comprise of having to use stealth to get passed sentry guns, and guards. These are set up in the test scenarios in the lab, before you’re thrust into the real world to use the same skills. This back and forth serves the overall story in equal ways. You’re first teased as to the characters overall involvement in the development of this WarpTech, while simultaneously you’re in the real world trying to find out what’s happened to you as well.

The environment gets pretty confusing when you start warping

The environment gets pretty confusing when you start warping

It’s intriguing and suspenseful, but ultimately the story never really comes into its own enough over the course of this first episode. It’s an incredible short entry into the franchise, and does leave the player a little disappointed. It’s a tactic a number of games studios have used – The Silent Age being another recent example. That game saw its first, short episode released in 2012, before the full game was released in 2014. It was incredibly well-received, and allowed the developers to raise funds based on the teaser before the main game comes out. However, The Silent Age was graphically sublime, and the story hits the right narrative notes – setting up characters and their personalities well, and providing proper cliff-hangers.

Future Sense, unfortunately, isn’t quite so adept at this, which is a shame considering its gameplay and approach is a breath of fresh air. Graphically, it’s a little messy despite employing some interesting concepts. It’s a very busy game that doesn’t quite know yet what it wants to focus on. Of course, its episodic approach could see it develop dramatically from this test bed.

We've had a fair few goes at getting past the guards on this, as you can tell by the various warp epicentres

We’ve had a fair few goes at getting past the guards on this, as you can tell by the various warp epicenters

In conclusion, Future Sense isn’t much more than a playable trailer, but it does make us want to play more. For only $1.99 we’d say give it a shot, but be prepared to spend some time learning those controls. However, don’t expect to be enlightened or entertained by the story quite yet. The promise is that in the next chapter, this will become clear, so if you like your adventure games – give it a shot and hope that the developers will deliver in the future.