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Future Fragments Review

Future Fragments Review

Future Fragments is an erotic (and rather unsafe for work), 2D, side-scrolling, action-y, shoot-y platformer that I’m never really sure counts as a Metroidvania or not. What I am sure of is that it’s fun. The game — developed by The Future Fragments Team and published by Taboo Toad and Shady Corner Games — focuses on Talia, one of two powerful warriors sent into the future to collect Fragments of a powerful device that can turn the tide of war in her present day and save their kingdom. The other warrior sent to retrieve these Fragments from the future, Faye, is technically on the same side, but both women have their own reasons to want these future Fragments; Faye wishes to use them to take over the kingdom and then save it, whereas Talia hopes to destroy the Fragments, believing them to be too powerful for anyone to use.

Future Fragments screwed up future story2

That may sound slightly more serious than you might expect from a game where you play an attractive and buxom blue-haired bombshell who shoots her mutated foes with energy blasts and also sometimes fucks those same mutated foes or even just enjoys a literal dildo up her vagina in order to recover lost health, but don’t worry. Future Fragments clears that right up by the end of its opening sequence where you have the option to either have Talia stay to finish off her king’s briefing for this future mission and be treated to a series of increasingly silly and off-topic discussions or jump into the time portal right after Faye and ignore the man at any time. The game definitely wants to focus on serious topics throughout its playtime and it frequently (though not always consistently) gives those moments room to breathe and a considerate level of care with subject matter, but it never seeks to make you forget its solid comedic heart, even when it’s only beating out undertones.

Speaking of beating, defeating Future Fragments’ many enemies is quite the good time, with a steadily growing arsenal of tools and upgrades at Talia’s disposal… eventually. At the start of the game, you can only really jump and shoot, with a health bar in the corner of the screen showing how close you are to being taken out and a set of circles showing how close you are to being stunned; however, you can soon start to find those optional upgrades and modify your play style in a wide variety of genuinely fun ways. Plus, at the end of each overall themed zone (each of which has a large hub area splitting off into many different “paths” that feature a string of screens and challenges to overcome), there’s a boss fight, after which you receive a whole new ability, much like in Mega Man. However, this climb to having many different and awesome abilities is very slow, and reaching the point where the game actually makes you use these abilities to progress is even slower.

The first overall area of the game — basically some volcanic mines with loads of hot lava everywhere — is fairly simple and easy to navigate, which makes sense; Future Fragments can become fairly challenging later on, so it’s only logical to start off with an easier first area to allow the player to grow accustomed to the gameplay and find some upgrades. Now, I don’t mean easy in the sense that you can just rush in and take everyone down with ease; that’s certainly possible, but not without taking a good amount of hits if you’re new to the game. No, many of the earlier moments become incredibly easy if you just take a moment to step back and destroy all your enemies from afar.

That’s certainly the strategy I took when I saw that one of the in-game achievements for that area (completing five of which unlocks a neat little gallery of sex scenes and animations) was for clearing a path without taking damage. I very much felt like I was being encouraged to use very careful and cautious strategies, especially since nearly every enemy in this first volcano zone focused on melee attacks — I have a laser gun with a longer range than anything they can do, so why not use it rather than risk staying up close to them? What was even more frustrating was the fact that most paths were doable with this strategy, with very few moments forcing me to engage with the main gameplay beyond hiding behind walls and hopping up to kill anything in my way. After all, each path can be tackled in any order the player chooses, so they should all be somewhat doable as a player’s first choice.

That’s not to say I didn’t have fun in the first area, but after the quick shock of the first boss’ difficulty jump, Future Fragments was a blast to play; jumping and dashing around felt very nice, I could swap between different types of interesting attacks, and every screen held unique challenges that pushed me to think about what I was doing. Barring a stretch of the game later on where one of the main gimmicks was not being able to see very well (which I just personally dislike because it makes me feel like I have to jump around aimlessly to find stuff), the experience was engaging and, even when I was frustrated about a difficult puzzle or enemy, I was thinking more of how I could improve rather than just getting annoyed. It is, however, a darn shame that the first area of the game stumbles in this regard, particularly since I still took a while through the second area before I shook off that over-cautious playstyle.

Still, once Future Fragments gets going, it’s a blast, and a large part of that is the upgrades. There are about 10 to find per area, all of them optional but most of them come in very handy, even if you can only equip three at a time. Also, all of them are based on otherwise rather innocuous items, like a Chisel & Hammer, Dumbbells, or a Meat Pie, though others can even extend to being animals, like the House Cat upgrade, which heals Talia a percentage amount based on her damage dealt, or the Harz Roller Canary, which gives her the ability to levitate briefly. It might be annoying to some that there’s no real backtracking option once each zone has been completed, so some players might miss out on some upgrades if they aren’t careful enough, but thankfully most of them are relatively easy to find if you’re looking for them.

I was worried at one point that I was only going to stick with the same upgrades for most of the game, outside of very specific moments where other stuff could be useful. I’d found a handful of great stat boosters (if you’re interested, I was sticking with the House Cat; the Australian Meat Pie, which boosts damage when it’s dealt to the same consecutive enemy; and the Omamori, which boosts damage the more stun ticks you have), and I was starting to think that I was denying myself a fun time by ignoring some of the weirder ones. Then, when the game got more interesting from the second area onwards, I used a greater variety of the upgrades too! There’s certainly some in here that offer mostly straightforward damage or defence boosts, but there’s always some piece of unique flavour. Some values go up and down based on damage taken, others based on Talia’s personality stats like Optimism or Hatred that change based on conversations, and others still based on her current speed. The most fun are the upgrades that offer whole new elements to the game, like the ones that send your shots upwards at an angle or crashing to the ground to roll along towards enemies. There’s even a dildo that lets you drain your maximum HP in order to recover your current HP! There is no shortage of fun to be had with these upgrades, and I’ve even ended up using some to bypass puzzles that were seriously frustrating me otherwise. The fact that you can just swap them out at any time (other than while in the air) for no penalty also helps to make swapping between them as seamless as possible. It would’ve been extremely easy to decide that these should only be equipped in the hub areas, so I am particularly grateful here.

The dialogue is also a great time, great enough that it helped me through the underwhelming gameplay of the first area. There’re a surprising amount of normal people that can be chatted with (or screwed with, if that’s your wish) throughout the paths Talia needs to clear, and nearly all of their dialogue (as well as Talia’s and the other main characters’) is fully voiced. Further, pretty much every voice actor here deftly delivers loads of funny dialogue, which goes a long way to sell Future Fragment’s undeniable charm. There’s also clearly been a lot of care put into the different ways these conversations can go, a real surprise from something I wouldn’t classify as an RPG. Not only are there different options to choose from and various personality stats that determine how Talia is received, but plenty of dialogue is impacted by which order the player does things in. I absolutely cackled when I managed to reach an NPC in a pool of lava before lowering said lava and hearing them shout in disbelief over how I’d managed to reach them.

Sadly, when I said nearly all of the dialogue is voiced, I didn’t mean that some characters weren’t voiced. No, some lines of dialogue, even some in major, important scenes, just go unsaid. It’s strange when an extra sentence goes unuttered and unnerving when you can click through half a scene in silence aside from the enjoyable sci-fi-y music. This happens more and more frequently as the game goes on, to the point where a scene completely failed to play. At least, I assume there was meant to be some sort of introductory scene to the fourth area of the game, considering Talia acts as though she’s already spoken to someone later on, but maybe I just missed something obvious. Overall though, this is an annoying issue to have crop up later on, because it can make the latter half of the experience underwhelming.

Another disappointing part of the game is the glossary. In the pause menu, there’s lots to do, like look at a very detailed and helpful map, adjust the game’s options (which I highly recommend: I do not like how the original button mapping has the fire button be the same as the confirm button), equip upgrades, and look through your achievements and glossary. There’s even more to do in there, probably, from checking out all the enemies you’ve faced, to learning about this dark future’s past, to even maybe learning about the cast of characters! If only it ever got updated. Ever! Even a little bit. For basically my entire time with Future Fragments, I never got a single update about the enemies I was facing or who was who. The glossary just sat there, unfilled, mocking me with an assortment of question marks. 

In fairness, there are planned updates coming to Future Fragments in the coming weeks and months and the current release is positioned as a "soft launch", where many elements may be missing or not added yet. As portions of the game are added later on and sections with missing content are filled in, like with the glossary, voiced lines for some existing scenes, and other new scenes that haven't yet been added to Future Fragments, I'm sure that my opinion of the game will improve, especially when I get to fully enjoy the later segments. However, I cannot judge content not yet included within the game that I'm reviewing.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! There’s also loads of sex in Future Fragments, both as an option when talking to NPCs (heck, roughly half of the Fragments Talia’s looking for can be obtained by screwing the right guy, with the other half being locked behind tough puzzles) and as a “punishment” for losing to enemies or bosses. Technically speaking, a lot of the enemies don’t call what they’re doing “sex” because this is a dystopian future where sex between people is outlawed and many are incredibly horny and incredibly weird about it now, but it is still sex, even when it’s with a giant blob. The game’s gorgeous sprite art shines here, making all the sex Talia can have look very sexy and satisfying, even as small as it looks. The vocal performances are also quite helpful for this endeavour, as they come across sounding rather genuine. For the longer scenes, there are also some CGs that pop up that are nice to look at, though not as much as the sprite animation, at least for me. Still, the sex is very fun, with lots of big alien and monster dicks flopping around and Talia really giving them her all. Plus, it’s never just sex; there’s always some other conceit to the scene that helps it stand out, like one of the flying enemies taking Talia on a tour of the volcanic mines and accidentally starting to have sex with her when he tries to stick his dick in her to keep her from falling. It’s silly and it’s fun as heck. You even have the option of skipping most of these scenes if they’re not to your taste, which is always a nice touch.

In fairness, it’s somewhat hard to forget the sexier aspects of Future Fragments — much of the plot focuses on relationships and the ban against them, with sex being a major part of that and most characters being very horny — but the game does a fantastic job of both being about sex on an important thematic level while also not being just about sex. Lots of the gameplay has nothing to do with boning and there’s a very solid action platformer here, even if sex or NSFW titles aren’t your favourites, but at the same time, you can’t just remove the sexier stuff without cutting the heart out of Future Fragments. It’s not great despite the sex, but because of it. It’s not flawless — it takes a while to truly get going and there are some harsh difficulty jumps for small segments, not to mention a decent chunk of missing content — but it’s certainly worth a play.

7.00/10 7

Future Fragments (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

With fantastic comedic timing, satisfying combat, and loads of sex, Future Fragments is a real blast, though it takes a little too much foreplay before getting there.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Erin McAllister

Erin McAllister

Staff Writer

Erin is a massive fan of mustard, writes articles that are too long, and is a little bit sorry about the second thing.

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