When you first see Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow, the parallels to other FOX Digital Entertainment products like Simpsons: Tapped Out or Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff are immediately apparent. A cataclysmic event, in this case “perpendicular universes” colliding, has wiped out the world of one of our favorite animated TV series—and you, as the player, will have to rebuild it from scratch however you wish. There is a lot more lurking beneath the surface here than just building up your own version of New New York and unlocking Futurama’s infamous cast of characters, however.
Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow blends equal parts old-school RPG with the world building aspect that we’re immediately introduced to. Just like in the TV show, Fry and company will have to run errands for Planet Express, and with that comes space travel and even combat. Depending on how much you’ve built up New New York, you’ll open more slots in your party, giving you the ability to add in various other well-known characters. Whether it’s Fry’s not-so-trusted best friend Bender, or lesser characters like Hedonism Bot, whomever you take with you on the U.S.S. Planet Express Ship is up to you. Once you get to space, you’ll be able to collect exclusive resources that can then be used in the reconstruction efforts, and there are even branching paths, with some offering greater rewards but also coming with greater risk.
As we know from the show, not everyone in space is friendly, and depending on what planet you’re heading to you might come across some ornery locals. Every character has a basic attack and a charged up attack that can be trigged by tapping a meter that fills over time (Fry’s charge attack, for example, allows him to drop a giant pizza on enemies). There is an order of attack that progresses over time, and you can either automate the combat, letting time dictate the outcome of your battles, or tap away to speed things along and actually apply some strategy to the order of events (like focusing on one enemy over another). If someone falls in combat, don’t worry—returning to New New York will rejuvenate the party.
Also, in staying true to the show, players don’t earn experience that levels them up. Instead, they earn job chips that can be distributed however they see fit, allowing a stronger character to earn all the chips, and then give them to a weaker character back on Earth to level them up there. Much like the series would sometimes change art styles for special episodes, combat shifts from the cel-shaded visuals we expect from a game like this, to a 16-bit retro style, paying homage to the great RPGs of yesteryear.
Once you get to your space destination, there’s typically a dialogue sequence voiced by the all-star cast of the show which will offer you choices on how to proceed to hopefully achieve your objective. Depending on whom you bring along for the trip, you can also unlock different dialogue options, and potentially extra materials, if you’re lucky. If not, you should at least get a chuckle out of the exchange due to the heart and soul of the game drawing directly from Futurama’s executive producer David X. Cohen.
This all sounds amazing, and my brief hands-on time with the game definitely has me believing at this point that any fans of Futurama will be thrilled with what will be available right from the start. But, as with any free-to-play game like this, there’s also a monetization aspect. Fortunately, Worlds of Tomorrow borrows the same formula as what was used in the aforementioned Tapped Out and The Quest for Stuff, meaning everyone has access to the entire game right from the get go. Spending real-world money only expedites the construction of buildings and finishing of quests after an exchange for premium currency; you don’t have to spend any money if you don’t want to.
The last thing to really look forward to is that, beyond the city you’re building, there’s also a new level of customization—including inserting yourself into the game. You can build a custom head in a jar and carry it around like you’re Richard M. Nixon himself, you can be a human, or choose from an alien race made famous from the show—the choice is yours.
With a constant flood of mobile games dropping all the time, it’s hard to know which ones to choose. If you’re even the most casual of Futurama fans, though, Worlds of Tomorrow is probably worth a look considering it won’t cost anything to start. Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow drops today for iOS and Android mobile devices.