There’s a freemium Futurama RPG available on mobile right now – and it doesn’t totally suck shiny metal ass

While The Simpsons have had their own long running freemium game in Tapped Out, the IP of Matt Groening’s other beloved series Futurama had yet to be mined for gold. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when Worlds of Tomorrow launched for mobile devices, and its fair to say that fans of the game should enjoy its contents. I’ve spent a week with the game now and have five initial thoughts about it:

1. The gameplay doesn’t totally suck shiny metal ass!

OK so the world of Freemium gaming is fraught with repetitive actions, and minimal returns without financial investment… but juuuuust enough of a return that you keep playing. In the Futurama game, however, the developers at TinyCo (who have also developed the likes of Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, Marvel Avengers Academy) have actually built a pretty decent RPG underneath the skin of an average world creator. In the RPG, you level up your characters to travel around the planets and fight the bad guys, as well as answer some text based question and answer scenes – not dissimilar to the early LucasArts adventures games. The mechanics to do this, as well as the action itself, are kept pretty simple – and so are the graphics, the makers going for a clever 8-bit design, with some great animation for the premium fighting moves. There’s not much too it, and there’s a limit to how much you can do in one go – but it’s good fun, and I’m looking forward to interacting with new characters in the context.

2. OK… so re-building New New York kind of sucks shiny metal ass.

Because all you really want to do is play the RPG elements of the game, you have to develop the storyline, and to develop the storyline, you have to build the town – BUT, you only have one robot who takes hours to build things (you need to buy another one for 50 “pizzas” to do more than one thing at once). So tasks can take days – and so you cut corners. You don’t expand your town because that takes time too. You use up every corner of the area just to fit in everything you need to develop the storyline. But you don’t exactly end up with a nice looking New New York. Over time that will change, but for now it’s not making for an enjoyable “build” experience. It’s just a distraction from the more enjoyable elements.

3. The dialogue is often hilarious, and the cast are back in their respective roles.

And if you were worried they were just pulling lines and recordings from the show, add ins like “we were cancelled!?” will confirm otherwise. So fans of the show will find plenty to enjoy. Even if it’s just tapping Scruffy, over and over again, as he reminds you that he’s the janitor. OK so there’s plenty pulled from the TV show as well… oh and fans will certainly enjoy the animated intro. And even cooler – unlike The Simpsons game, even the guest actors are included, with George Takei available as part of a special mission right now – voice and all!

4. It’s also not without its kinks.

Last weekend there was an “animal” promotion, which started by adding a new mission to one of the planets. It appeared suddenly and without any explanation. The explanation finally popped up a few hours before the promotion then finished. Perhaps I was just too early in the storyline, but I’m hoping to get another chance to get those animals, because I had no idea what was going on there. And when it comes to the dialogue, they need to move the “completion” button to after the final quote – I keep missing the last line. Due to my own impatience, sure, but I’m still not doing it on purpose, and I’m surely not alone. Besides, without the brilliant dialogue, some aspects of this game wouldn’t be bearable. Whatever problems the animals promotion had, it seems to have been fixed in time for the latest George Takei storyline.

5. There’s the honest-to-god storyline!

Basically you have a finite number of artefacts to collect in order to restore the town – the very fact you have to do so being reminiscent of Tapped Out, but its seemingly concrete end for the primary storyline being something that The Simpsons have not offered – even after they stopped giving “levels” meaning. So those goals may provide some solace of an endgame – though no doubt they’ll find ways to extend it beyond there. And given the amount of distractions from the main storyline on a daily level (George Takei as we speak), its going to be a long road to get there…

So that’s it. The Futurama game is out now on iOS and Androids. And though it’s not without it’s issues and the usual freemium bullshit (at this stage I’d just like to pay $10 for the RPG), it doesn’t totally suck.

For more details about the game head to youwillplayfuturama.com