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Your Future Self Review

Your Future Self Review

Your Future Self Review

Do the Time Warp with yourself in this looping text adventure

Category: Reviews
Written by: Cindy Kyser on May 8, 2019
Developed by: Contortionist Games
Published by: Contortionist Games
Release Date: March 8, 2019
Genre: Text Adventure
Platform: Windows, Mac, SteamOS + Linux

Although my life as an adventure gamer began with text-based titles like Zork I, Planetfall, and Bureaucracy, I admit that I rarely play them anymore. Stepping into a game with pictures somehow seems more real to me and the part of my brain that visualized so well in the past has atrophied slightly. So, I was a bit unsure about playing Your Future Self.

It is a text-only game with an interesting premise. Thirty-five years from now, you commit (what appears to be) a heinous crime that kills thousands. Advances in the field of time travel have provided you with an opportunity to have a discussion with your future self to understand what happened. Your objective is to modify the future by convincing your older self that its actions were wrong. This will change your destiny by altering your personal time stream and, in so doing, avoid the future crime. If your head is spinning, you are not alone!

The game opens as you are told that you are participating in an experiment and that you and your future self are joined in a time bubble. You have arrived from the present and your future self has arrived from 35 years in the future. Thus begins a very long and repetitive series of verbal interchanges between you and your future self. Other than brief interruptions by hackers and those conducting the experiment, gameplay consists of click and read, click and read, click and read…

Unlike the text games of yesteryear, there is a bit more going on in Your Future Self than mere conversation. The screen tracks and scores the current you and the future you on three dimensions: rationality, empathy, and assertiveness. It also tracks the insights that you have gained by speaking with the future you. When responding to your future self, you can respond rationally, empathetically, or assertively. Depending on how receptive your future self is to your approach, the encounter is either judged to be a “SUCCESS” or a failure.

Behind the scenes, there is an algorithm that is determining success and failure and tracking the three dimensions of rationality, empathy, assertiveness for both you and your future self. I never quite understood the logic and initially, it felt like a guessing game. My successes were few and far between because my future self was hard to read. Although scores for a trait such as empathy may be high, this does not mean that an empathetic response will succeed.

Your Future Self offers a “helper” feature that displays the receptivity of your future self along these three dimensions. I know that this is a form of cheating. However, my mind-reading skills, across time, were not up to par so I took help where I could find it. The area indicated by the green box in the screenshot below is only visible when the “helper” is on. By knowing which trait your future self is most likely to respond to, you improve your odds of choosing the correct approach. Note that this does not guarantee you a successful encounter. Your future self may be highly receptive to two dimensions and you must pick the right one to succeed. Your progress is displayed across the middle of the screen, with a box for each response. Boxes display a yellow line for “SUCCESS” and a red line for failure. Insight is monitored and increased as your success rate improves.

Yellow text is used for your responses and red text is used for your future self. Text appears on the screen, one character at a time, as if it is being typed in real time. I soon learned that I could click when the text started and have the entire response displayed. I no longer had to wait for content to appear, letter by letter. Since many of the conversations are repeated multiple times, clicking twice to speed read was a real time-saver.

As you chat with your future self, you learn more about the “crime” committed and begin to understand the rationale and the events that led up to it. Your conversation is routinely interrupted by a 3rd party hacker who speaks to you in green text. When hacked, you have a choice to listen or to “change the outcome” by disconnecting and returning to your original conversation. This places you in a dilemma. You want to listen to the hacker but staying online with him until the intrusion is noticed (and you are interrupted by the experiment team) means that your conversation with your future self is going to loop and restart from the beginning (“Resetting Loop in 3…2…1”).

Despite the repetitive conversations and endless clicking, I found myself being drawn into the story. I became curious about the role of the hacker and how things would play out. In 2 hours, I reached the pivotal decision point: Do I sympathize with my future self (and condone the action) or do I convince my future self that it was in error?

I make my decision. I am going to side with my future self and sympathize with the decision made. I state my intent and those performing the experiment go nuclear and insist I change my mind. I decline to take their advice. I dig in and refuse to acquiesce. The game ends and I appear to have completed chapter 2.

Keep in mind, there is not an explicit save feature in Your Future Self. Instead the game autosaves at key moments. I restore my game and find that it has been saved just prior to ‘the decision.’ This time, I do what is expected. I go for the jugular and I crush my future self with a wave of judgement, self-righteousness, and ad-hominem remarks. My future self’s esteem is at an all-time low and the game ends again. This time, it appears that I have completed chapter 3.

I restore my game and surprise! This time, the game has autosaved after my decision and left me with a one-way path to repeat the ‘chapter 3’ ending. Game over (again). The list of Steam achievements indicates there is a chapter 4 and 5, but I have no way of progressing. I check the Steam discussion board and find that, although many players are finishing the game, I am not alone in my predicament. Several days later, I am asked to send my saved game file to Contortionist Games. A few more days pass without a reply and I remain stuck.

Since I have no idea how to avoid the dead end, I am not willing to invest a couple more hours replaying Your Future Self from the beginning. Should an answer arrive and I find a way to finish the game, then I shall update this review and raise the score assigned. For now, it’s game over for this adventurer!

Grade B-

+ Time loop with your future self is an interesting premise
+ Surprisingly engaging for a looping text adventure
Repetitive conversations will make you cringe at “Resetting in 3…2…1”
At present, autosave creates a dead end for some players and the full game experience becomes unavailable without restarting the game from the beginning


System Requirements
MINIMUM Windows:

OS: Windows 7 SP1+
Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 640 x 360 32 bit
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 1200 MB available space


OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or later
Processor: Intel Core Duo
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4850, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM
Storage: 150 MB available space

MINIMUM SteamOS + Linux:

OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, ATI Radeon 4870 HD, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM
Storage: 150 MB available space

Cindy Kyser

Cindy Kyser

Cindy’s love affair with gaming began when she opened a mailbox in front of a white house and took the first step in a long series of adventures. ‘Back in the day,’ Cindy was a regular contributor to JA and an active member of the online gaming community. She has attended several E3s and has had the pleasure of spending time in person with both Ray and Randy. Her all- time favorite adventures include the Tex Murphy series, the Gabriel Knight series, and The Longest Journey. She also enjoys RPGs and her list of ‘best ever’ includes Fallout, Asheron’s Call, and Planescape Torment. Â Frustrated with the cost of rising PC system requirements, Cindy decided to switch to console and tablet gaming. Although you can teach some old dogs new tricks, she discovered that console controller dexterity is a skill set that she is lacking. Her results with tablet gaming were not much better. With the exception of a few gems such as The Room and Forever Lost, there is a limit to how much one can play Candy Crush and Hidden Object Adventures. Having proved that pure escapism is worth the investment, she has a new gaming laptop and is back to her search for the perfect adventure. Â After spending most of her life in Los Angeles and Atlanta, Cindy escaped the stress of urban life and moved to rural Arkansas. To show that she has become a true Arkansan, she has taken up deer hunting, wears pink camo, and put a chicken coop in her backyard. On a stressful day, she can be heard yelling ‘Woo Pig Sooie’ when all else fails.

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