For the introduction section of this review, I’ll be entirely honest with you. This segment is difficult to fill because, you see, there’s very little to discuss when it comes to this title. Aside from that which will be discussed in later segments and that which is written above. Unfortunately, this kind of vacancy rings grimly true as a kind of metaphor for the game itself. Without further ado, let’s move on rapidly and extrapolate why it is I’m taking this kind of tone with Supposedly Wonderful Future
Supposedly Wonderful Future is exclusive to the PC and available now on Steam.
The very first images of Supposedly Wonderful Future are of an old man filled with regret. He’s reaching the end of his life and is tortured by thoughts of what he could have done differently. A gun lies ominously on the table in front of him. An attempted smattering of mystery to keep the player invested in finding what led to this.
We flashback to a time when he was a man full of hope. He’s just started his own business with a couple of friends in the programming industry and things are going well. The clients are rolling in and so is the money. He has no reason to desire another kind of life. All of a sudden, an unexpected knock on the door distracts him from catching up on emails. A woman tactfully manages an off the cuff meeting with this man, the director of his company, and explains that she is from the future. She goes on to say that the human genome has been mastered and the future offers an extra ten years to people’s lives, inside of which aging does not occur. Repeated injections of this treatment naturally leads to immortality.
Eventually, after informing us that our character dies before the immortality tech arrives, we’re suddenly a more avid listener. This woman’s plan was to find this perfectly normal man, take him to the future and subject him to several social experiments. The advantage being that he has no biases of the future world and she can study the social and mental changes this tech is having on the world’s populace. Going out on a limb, the man finally agrees to go with her and his “adventure” begins.
Sounds like a pretty good plot, right? Well, it is. In concept, this kind of formula for story telling is great. Although you’ll notice I’ve not named either of the character’s names as it was impossible for them to leave any impression on me. The entire story is told without voice acting as we are subjected to endless lines of written dialogue while the same repetitive music drones on in the background. Like I said, the premise is great so I endured and gave Supposedly Wonderful Future more of my time than really felt right. Dialogue options here don’t really count as a gameplay mechanic. We’re not affecting outcomes or seeing different reactions for “good guy” or “asshole” responses. That just leaves us with reams of yet unseen text, awaiting the player to click through. You’ll also notice I said “adventure” with inverted commas because strictly speaking that’s what this should be. However, with Supposedly Wonderful Future’s atrocious standard of presentation and storytelling, what could have been an interesting exploration of the future’s tech and how it really affects the human condition, becomes a tedious reading task for several hours on end.
So how do we “play” Supposedly Wonderful Future? It should be pretty clear by now that I don’t consider this game as something that you “play”. You click and read and that’s it. Occasionally the player can click on certain parts of the environment to view objects and get a quick description on them. They can never be picked up for the player to muse on what to do with them though. Unlike the recently pleasant surprise that was my pre release hands on with Lust For Darkness, Supposedly Wonderful Future has not bothered to let us analyse anything aside from clicking on it and reading more lines of dialogue.
When the player character first arrives in the future, he must unravel a mystery between a young girl and her supposed mother. What follows is two rooms, between which is a living room. This odd and dark apartment will subject you to going into the room on the left and clicking through all lines of dialogue… Then the room on the right and clicking on all lines of dialogue. This continues about five or six more times until eventually the front door to apartment is unlocked and we can leave.
There is an interesting point where the player can make use of the future’s internet. We can explore computer files and browse the internet to check out the news of the future world. There was a lot of potential in this where world politics can be explained in depth and the game world given context. However, the presentation falls flat here as well as there is very little in the surrounding story to back up what we read online. To top it all off the game’s amateurish vibe is reinforced by a litany of spelling errors and typos, not just in this online exploration segment but also in many of the lines of dialogue throughout the game’s story. Painful.
Graphics And Sound
As much as I would love to extract a redeeming feature from Supposedly Wonderful Future, sadly I cannot manage it. Supposedly Wonderful Future is built off the Unity Engine but don’t let that fool you. If anything Supposedly Wonderful Future stands as testament to just how hard developers work on the average game to make it look the way it does by the time it reaches you. Environment’s are bland and difficult to look at, leaving us to appreciate the piles of work and talent that must have gone into other one man jobs like Lost Soul Aside and Way To The Woods. Character models are equally painful to look at as their faces comprise the bare minimum of two eyes, nose and a mouth. I’d be surprised if this couldn’t run on PS1 hardware…
As far as sound is concerned, like the features of this game, there’s very little of it. There’s no voice acting as previously mentioned. All we get is jaunty music either straight from a GameBoy or other little riffs you’d expect to hear on a Music Tech student’s laptop after a boozey night of experimentation. Other small sounds like footsteps or elevators moving are thrown in at least.
I feel grimly obliged to apologise profusely to the developer of this game, should they ever read this review. Honestly, I’m sorry to say all of this and I wish it could have been different. The story of your game is intriguing but is undercut at every turn by just how badly it is presented to the player. As I persevered onward in an attempt to experience the game enough to a point where I could be an authority to review it, I felt tired. After my first session I had to go for a nap as I realised there is truth in the phrase “bored me to sleep”. To others reading this review make sure you buy Supposedly Wonderful Future only as a gift to someone you truly hate.
+ Interesting premise
– Great story terribly told
– Serious themes undercut by bad presentation
– Awful graphics