Black Future ‘88 is a hard-80’s cyberpunk rogue-lite platformer for 1-2 players. Players must climb a procedural tower to kill it’s insane owner before their heart explodes (deadlock timer).

Design Philosophy

The core tenets are ‘Elective Challenge’ and ‘Holy Shit’. Elective Challenge means giving the players ways to make their experience more challenging, for in-game rewards. This might be an empty room with an alarm that you can trigger to spawn enemies. The savvy player will know that this will always drop a weapon and help them collect more money during their run. ‘Holy Shit’ means completely over the top sensory violence. Black Future ‘88 is not a gory game, but everything in the world is imbued with a feeling of danger and violent interaction. This includes elaborate set piece design and highly intense visual and sound effects.

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The game has low persistence by design. Players may unlock items as they attempt more runs, but their starting power level on each run should always be more or less the same. This means that any run could potentially be their best run ever.

Along the Way

Players will pick up many guns and be able to select from many buff combinations. Not all guns or buffs will be good or easy choices, but that will be the primary way in which players increase their power level, in order to take down bosses.


Defeating the final boss will move the player back to the beginning of the game, where they will be given the same amount of time to defeat a harder version of the tower (looping). While looping the game, NPC’s, bosses and other world events may be different. The ‘true’ final boss, Skymelt, will be available to fight only while looping the game.


All playable characters are able to jump, including an extra air jump. Most playable characters are able to quickly dash in 4 directions. Dashing can pass through projectiles, walls and floors, but players are not allowed to try to dash to another room. TODO:Add Dashing image


The tower, Skymelt, is broken into 4 distinct zones, each with their own boss at the end. The player must always move up. Bosses may appear out of order, and will have their difficulty scaled based on what zone they’re found in. The tower is a living breathing thing, and will upgrade itself if the player leaves pickups (ammo, health, money, drugs) on the ground for too long. An upgraded tower will have stronger traps, more enemies per wave, and may also release hunters.


Hunters are advanced NPC’s that have more health, and can quickly teleport after you. Hunters always drop a weapon when killed. Some rooms may have switches that release hunters.
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The story of the world is told via intro cutscene and environmental clues. The game takes place in an alternate version of 1988 at the advent of advanced AI. The world is reeling from a nuclear cataclysm, created by Duncan, the tower architect. Everything that lived through the initial attack will die in the extreme floods that will follow. Players take the role of a survivor who are trying to destroy the tower and stop the endless rain. Because the tower exists at ground level, cloud level, and above the clouds, it’s able to extract enough sunlight,water and electricity for life support of it’s inhabitants. The player will eventually realize that Duncan isn’t really in charge of the tower, but rather Skymelt itself has gained sentience and must be destroyed as well. Music plays a key role in the experience, and the soundtrack is meant to be the voice of Skymelt.

Intro Narration

“The first bombs fell in the summer of 1988, it was a baptism by nuclear fire, By December they had blacked out the sun with endless rain. We decided to stop keeping time and it’s been 1988 ever since. We’re not sad, we had it coming. We honored our dead, but quickly discarded them, We took what we could, and we went underground.

So now we train, we’ve mastered the weapons we had, so we invented new ones. We found curious gifts, and knew that we were somehow not alone, tunneling into the cold dead earth, the great void beneath His tower.

These are the times after, there are no more months or even weeks. Everything, EVERYTHING, is measured in the minutes left to live.”