Tron’s lightcycles are some of most iconic bikes in the history of nerddom, but they could honestly use a few more backflips. The stylish racing game FutureGrind, for PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC, combines all the stunts of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater with the neon looks of cyberspace landscapes.
Created by Milkbag Games, FutureGrind takes the tricky course navigation of Trials and adds some serious skateboarding influences. Players control a bike with neon wheels and need to survive courses full of grind rails. You can only touch rails of the same color as your bike’s wheels.
For a while, FutureGrind is generous. Both your wheels are the same color, and most rails match. In those moments, the goal is simply to do as many flips and grinds as possible. But as things continue, they get more complex. You’ll have multi-colored wheels, all sorts of grind rails, and suspended orbs that give a boost. It becomes much closer to an obstacle course, and balancing the need to perform certain tricks with your own survival can be difficult.
FutureGrind is about finding your flow. In psychology, flow is a concept defined by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as complete mental absorption in an experience. It’s a complicated mindset, one that is both meditative and relaxing but also unthinking and automatic. It’s not always a great thing, but FutureGrind is just active and tactical enough to never feel rote. You can push yourself to the limits, trying to string combos together. Or you can simply focus on completing specific objectives like grinding a certain number of rails.
The Nintendo Switch version of FutureGrind feels like the best choice. It’s a game you pick up in bursts, sneaking in runs on the subway or at an airport. It’s a straightforward concept done well, and a perfect way to pass an exciting 20 minutes.