i am future review

I Am Future Review: Rough, Relaxing, and Refreshing


I Am Future Review

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i am future

I Am Future is an excellent survival and farming combination that is executed pretty well, but it currently lacks content, has an incredibly repetitive soundtrack, and leaves us wanting to wait till the game is finished to come back to it. It's rough around the edges, but this game could grow into an indie gem with continued support. It just isn't one right now.

Features Rate 7

Have you ever examined the overwhelming amount of apocalypse survival games that have come out? If you did, you’d realize they were almost entirely dark and gritty experiences, leading to the genre feeling completely stale at this point.

While it might seem unavoidable to write a story about an apocalyptic event in a depressing and bleak setting devoid of all hope, joy, and happiness, I Am Future takes the opposite approach and offers a fun, country-style vacation to anyone who wants to camp out in a flooded city.

This game is a mix of survival, farming, and base building, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen done to this capacity before. It’s pretty refreshing seeing a game mix farming and survival and do it uniquely and differently.

Considering how so many indie farming games come out now, copying and pasting the Stardew Valley model and trying to pass it off as ‘the next big thing.’ This one doesn’t even have parsnips or a pixel art style, so I think we’re already on the right track.

In the world we’re living in, where the earth might one day end up looking like this game, everything sucks, and not a single billionaire is doing anything substantial to try and fix it; it’s a bit of a cold comfort seeing a game so casually address an extreme and terrible situation.

I enjoy survival games that take a unique approach to the genre, so ever since I saw this game, I’ve been incredibly interested and hyped for this early access release.

Despite my boredom with the farming genre as of late, with most of them being generic-looking games pumped out one after another, I Am Future has piqued my interest.

In this review, I’ll take a look at it and see if it’s really innovative or commits to the same tropes and pitfalls so many games of late have fallen into. Here’s Indie Game Culture’s I Am Future review on PC in Early Access.

Far Flung Visuals

opening I Am Future
Despite showing several in promo material, there is only a single pre-animated cutscene. – Image by Monica Phillips.

The style of I Am Future is wonderfully animated, with the 3D visuals looking outstanding overall. They go for a more flat-colored, cel-shaded style that isn’t super high poly, and the best comparison I can think of would probably be Fortnite, but with no battle pass, dances, or Goku.

It’s appealing and works well when the game successfully maintains this art style, but there are some inconsistencies throughout, ranging from minor to glaring.

In the game, there are times when you inspect a single object to deconstruct it, and these look pretty dang terrible, if I’m honest. These models were not custom-made for these sequences, and you can point out almost every tri on the model.

Given there are only four models total used for these sequences, extra visual fidelity here is sorely needed and wouldn’t even be that hard to implement. Just polish em up, make em more detailed, and you’re golden.

I Am Future dissassembly
This is more of an icositetragon than a circle, to be honest. – Image by Monica Phillips.

The only other thing to note is that the 2D elements are a bit clunky; most UI elements pop onto the screen with little to no animation and are comprised of two colors which looks like I went into Photoshop and used the oval and square tools till I had something functional, but not anything exciting or of note, I could do so much more with UI to convey this game’s themes, but this game just doesn’t.

When I say “I” it’s not a figure of speech either; I genuinely feel like with my limited graphic design abilities, I could make something that looks just as good, to be honest.

The 2D stuff needs a ton of work, the 3D stuff is almost nailed, and I’m sure they can be perfected with a bunch of time and a lot more polish. Going for a unique visual style to make the UI stand out would be appreciated, but a ton of polish should come first and foremost.

Grinding and Gears

I Am Future empty cryopod
Here we get set up the mystery of another cryopod, but in my eyes, that’s just free materials! – Image by Monica Phillips.

If you wanted a game where you felt as free to explore as Stardew Valley was but with quite a bit more meditative grinding and a fishing minigame that doesn’t tear you a new one, this is your game.

This game has a metric ton of mechanics, and most of them are required to interact with if you want to progress. While I can’t cover the smorgasbord of mostly one-note abilities and mechanics you can do in I Am Future; I’ll touch on the peaks and valleys.

The overworld gameplay involves walking around, deconstructing things, storing materials in chests, and using that material for upgrades.

It works pretty well, and all the different ways you deconstruct objects make me enjoy this gameplay more than anything else; it doesn’t feel repetitive but relaxing and almost meditative, with several variations on the same task, keeping things interesting.

Maybe I’m just good at turning my brain off, but it felt enjoyable, like mining in Minecraft or the entirety of Cookie Clicker.

I Am Future fishing minigame
Fishing might make a video game magically good, but we can always ask for better fishing minigames. – Image by Monica Phillips.

While walking around and deconstructing things, you’ll lose hunger. You can make planter boxes and plant seeds you find, but more realistically, you can go fishing.

Fishing is straightforward to do, takes no time, and takes no hunger, so it’s pretty broken, but it’s reel boring; it’s essentially just a timing minigame that barely changes between casts, and it’s the primary way to get food and heal some health back.

You also have health and hunger to worry about, health only comes into play when you deal with the aliens infesting the place at night, but hunger is a constant struggle. Hunger dropping to zero starts draining your health.

Still, if it weren’t for the curiosity of seeing what would happen if I were to toss myself into the big scary plant, I would’ve never hit zero health.

Dying elicits almost no punishment, just making you sleep for a few hours. Once you get around these limitations, you can explore more of your massive rooftop.

I Am Future cosmopolis map
The world map only consists of shops, a few items, and one exciting side quest, which is very sad. – Image by Monica Phillips.

Once you scout around the north, you’ll find a tower that launches a drone that lets you remotely explore more of the map. This amounts to clicking on icons, taking items, and occasionally visiting shops or exploring a single diorama of a ruined plane.

If there were more actual content here, it’d be excellent, but as it stands, it’s empty and uninteresting; I rarely interacted with it if I didn’t have to. I want something to do here; maybe make the items not just standard resources but rarer things like blueprints of upgrades that you only get once.

This game has many overwhelming mechanics, but they all get taught to you steadily, making it way easier to digest.

You don’t even think about how you’re swapping between 8 different things in a few minutes, and the game forgoes annoyances like forcing sleep or spoiled food, so overall, it’s a great gameplay flow. I never really felt bored, it was just a chilled and relaxed experience, so if you’re in this for a “real” survival game, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Repetitive Recordings

I Am Future coming soon
Look at this field of unfinished cubes; it’s like I’m really there! – Image by Monica Phillips.

The soundtrack of I Am Future is excellent, but sadly, it’s also very limited. Over my 10-hour stint in this colorful apocalypse, I heard the same four songs on a loop for the majority of my playtime.

While they’re a great four songs, there were several times I muted the music and ended up listening to Tally Hall instead because I was just tired of hearing the same songs over again. They absolutely fit the vibe, but it tends to get annoying.

The music at the time of writing is a mix of country and more laidback piano-centric sounds you’d hear in a game like Minecraft. It’s genuinely excellent; I wish there were way more of it.

You don’t need to change the style at all if it’s not over budget to make way more music; just look at Stardew Valley! Its soundtrack is beloved by many and goes for a similar country vibe but provides a great variety, so the constant music doesn’t feel repetitive.

If this game wants to keep the songs in this style, give us some silent time and have the music be a welcome reprieve from the silence. Music in Minecraft feels so much better because it comes in between breaks of silence.

Though unfortunately, there’s a loud wind sound played at all times in this game, which gets on my nerves. While I may be Future, this soundscape is better left in the past.

A Futuristic Fairytale

lore I Am Future
This fridge named Earl is one of the most plot-centric characters, despite also being THE funny character – Image by Monica Phillips.

I Am Future subverts your expectations from any typical farming game and has an actually interesting story to tell. You start with no memories of who you are, and the story gets told to you in bits and pieces by the robotic NPCs you’ll reawaken and find through exploring.

For the sake of spoilers, I’m speaking in broad strokes, so you can be surprised by it like I was if you decide to check this game out.

There’s a plot twist you learn early on regarding your character’s identity that I like quite a bit; it changes your opinion of them but not in a definite positive or negative way. It isn’t till the (current) end of the game that you get a natural direction as to how you should feel about the protagonist, his morals, and who he was before the amnesia.

It kinda boils down to how much you can redeem people for being bigger parts of a capitalist society, which meant hardly at all for me!

Aside from that character revelation, we mostly hear plot details on how the world ended up consisting of flooded cityscapes and almost nothing else. There’s much to do with overly-advanced technology, aliens, and a moon making the tides rise too far.

It’s a pretty decently fleshed-out sci-fi apocalypse, but it doesn’t conflict with the chill vibes, so it’s pretty much perfect.

I kinda wish there was more of it, but the plot started ramping up at the end of the early access build, so I think we’ll finally get the plot twist that Earl the Fridge was the true villain all along.

Perfected Progression

I Am Future automation
After a while, you can unlock drones, which help quite a bit with work around the base. – Image by Monica Phillips.

If there’s anything I can give I Am Future extremely high praise for, it’s the way it handles progression. You’re always doing something.

You don’t need to endlessly grind just for minor buffs to building speed, or automation; you are constantly unlocking new structures, abilities, and something that help you accomplish long-term goals, and it’s fantastic.

Especially once you get robots to help you pick up all the wood that takes several minutes to carry from one side of the map to the other, it feels like flying once you stop having to do that.

The only thing I could nitpick is that the game is straightforward, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it never challenges you or asks you to do anything more than the one or two things you must do for the aliens to go away.

Difficulty isn’t essential in a game like this, and other than that, it feels perfect; the gameplay flow is pretty excellent. It’s like Modded Minecraft if it was fun and also didn’t have a million different doodads that only serve to lead to a million other crafting recipes.

Replaying Ain’t Rewarding

dying I Am Future
This happens when you die; you pass out for a few hours and permanently lose access to an achievement. – Image by Monica Phillips.

If you want a game you’ll be replaying repeatedly, you should probably look elsewhere. There isn’t much to justify replays, other than a few achievements you can’t get if you do things like passing out or eating biomass once in your entire playthrough, which I hate with my whole heart and genuinely have no clue why any developer would ever think to put in a game that lasts more than 2 hours tops.

Most customization or building are things you can achieve in a single playthrough; achievements are all you have.

And if you don’t care about achievements, there is no reason to do a second playthrough. You could do challenge runs or try the more accessible difficulty settings, and I can’t think of anything else.

If you play through the game without eating biomass and without passing out, you can do everything in the game in one playthrough. Anyone up for a playthrough where they go the whole game without eating? It’s technically possible; it’d just suck really bad.

The Alternatives

forager screenshot
Image of Forager from Monica Phillips.

You’re probably not going to find a game with merged survival and farming and simulator mechanics in the same way I Am Future does, but there are quite a few games that attempt similar things. Here are some games I think you should check out if this one has piqued your interest:

  • Stardew Valley is one you’ve almost definitely heard of by now, and it also has survival mechanics, farming, and a ton of customization and base building. While it’s only post-apocalyptic if you’re a wild theorist, I think it’s still worth returning to or trying out if you haven’t.
  • Slime Rancher is another game with farming and survival elements, scavenging and exploration, and a surprisingly great story. It’s way more focused on farming, herding, and ranching slimes, but the survival elements are even more complex and prevalent than those in I Am Future.
  • Forager is another game about building a colony on a stranded island and slowly expanding further, and it’s quite a bit more fast-paced and fun than other farming sims you might think of when you look at it. Highly recommend this one.

The Verdict

Score: 7/10

keyart I Am Future
Image from TinyBuild.

Overall, if you want a complete experience, come back in a year or so and see if this lovely little game is finally finished.

If there’s more depth added to things like fishing and the rougher edges of the game getting smoothed out, and especially some extra songs in the soundtrack, then I could see this going to an 8/10. It may be even higher for those who are really into this style. Heck, I can even see myself coming back to it on every major content update; it was pretty fun despite its issues.

I’d recommend trying this one out if the idea of progressing through an apocalypse with your two hands and rebuilding a little slice of heaven sounds appealing. Just temper your expectations, and don’t expect punishing survival mechanics. If you’re looking for a unique take on the apocalypse you can chill/relax to, then this is your game.


Question: What is I Am Future?

Answer: It is a relaxing apocalypse survival where you build yourself a place to live while isolated on a rooftop, developed by Mandragora and published by tinyBuild.

Question: Does I Am Future support controller input?

Answer: Not yet, but it is planned for the future. For now, you have to play on a Keyboard and Mouse.

Question: Is I Am Future coming to consoles?

Answer: A console release is planned at some point; no concrete information has been said, but the devs have said sometime around the full release, there are plans to port to Switch, Xbox, PS5, etc.

Play Log

I played through this game for 10 hours on PC and reached the party marking the current end of the game’s content. I tried running it on Steam Deck, and it ran terribly. I got 14/20 achievements so far, and I want to return to complete everything eventually once it’s gotten a substantial bit of new content.

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