By Josh Speer / August 27th, 2020
I love a good mystery. Time was that I would go out of my way to experience any story that was perplexing and full of potential, such as the ill fated TV series LOST. But the trick is, I like the mystery to actually go somewhere. So I’m far more reluctant to invest in a unproven story these days just on the off chance of a big payoff. But I’m glad I took a chance on Your Future Self. It takes a really simple concept and does it justice, with a thrilling and intriguing premise. The idea is, future you committed genocide. You’re kidnapped by unknown entities with access to a time travel, and forced to interrogate yourself. You need to convince them of the wrongness of their actions to prevent that dark future. But are things really that straightforward? Or are other factors at play?
Pretty quickly the game starts making you question what’s actually happening. The concept of an unreliable narrator is very dominant here, and I found myself uncertain who to trust. Your only way of progressing in the game is asking questions of your future self. You can pick from three types of questions – rational ones, questions that display empathy and assertive questions. The specific questions themselves aren’t spelled out. What you do is try and guess the right response to what you’ve heard to compel yourself to reveal more. If you do a good job, you’ll get rewarded with points attributed to the type of question you asked.
Those points roll over when time loops on itself. See, the people that captured you and your future self may or may not be on the level. They rewind things every time something happens that they don’t like. While you’ll forget the bulk of your revelations, the Insight points you acquire make it easier to catch up. You’ll also get little nagging thoughts that help guide you to a new course of action.
If that all sounds complex, it certainly is. But it’s also what I love most about Your Future Self. To put it simply, the game is a complete mind fuck. Thankfully it’s very well written, and thus far I am very invested in the plot. The whole air of paranoia and dystopian nightmare are constant, and I found myself toying with all sorts of possibilities.
The fact that there’s apparently a rebel faction that is trying to contact you in the midst of all the time loops was especially interesting. Though perhaps my favorite aspect of the plot is how relevant and urgent it feels in relation to current events. The pivotal crime your future self committed, though accidental and done for the right reasons, is in reaction to incredibly sinister events. Some of the themes present include extreme climate change, bioweapons, authoritarian governments and much more. I haven’t gotten to the truth of the game yet, but there’s a lot of elements that feel far too close for comfort given the world we live in.
Pretty much the one area that Your Future Self is weakest is the visuals. The whole game is written text, flickering screens and not much else. I would have killed for some character portraits or other significant art to steer things along. Then again, the lack of detail does make the whole dystopian vibe that much more relevant. And while the art is the low point, the music is actually quite catchy, and it does a good job of spurring you on with constant urgency.
Though I’m not done with it yet, I’m quite impressed by Your Future Self. Contortionist Games has hit it out of the park story-wise, and I’m really eager to see where it takes me. If you’re looking for a simple yet compelling adventure, look no further.
Contortionist GamesdystopianMysteryoprainfallSteamTime TravelYour Future Self