RFM is a roguelike real-time tactics game set in a groovy retro-future. The art zings! It’s nifty! Your home base apartment comes with a spin on a Grover door and a lovely corner sofa. There’s probably a conversation pit buried in there somewhere. Meanwhile, the music starts all Pink Floyd and then gets very EVA. Those thick, radioactive and distinctly French guitar sounds.
I’m in love a bit. The game plays out on a series of procedural battlefields. There’s a grid and countdown timers, but enemies don’t wait for you to take a turn to take one themselves. Everything is forewarned, but it can still give you that panicky sense that real-time tactics game deliver so beautifully. I fret endlessly as I move around the grid, switching between dash and handgun and a sort of magic explosion, juggling my own timers and trying to stay alive.
The gimmick – and it’s by no means unique to RFM – is that you can pause and plan and play the real-time game a bit like it’s turn-based. This is the key to staying alive, if you ask me. Enemies may look like jagged swipe-files of color, but they are deadly. In my first few goes I died very quickly. Then I learned to stop and freeze and think about what I was trying to do.
RFM is out next year, and promises secrets and depths that my cursory play of the demo cannot hope to uncover. But I’m going back in, because this promises to be great. Do check it out.