(DISCLOSURE: This game was given to us as a review copy by the developer. We have no current or prior financial ties to the developer nor any current or prior personal relationships with them.)
The metaphorical phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover” can be a fickle beast in the circles of the indie scene, especially for reviewers. On one hand it’s difficult to see a game promise cool, new ideas from a developer that doesn’t have any kind of major history in games to work from. Judging their game by screenshots and what video content has been produced for it is honestly sometimes all a consumer of any kind can do. However, some games that are truly diamonds in the rough are often missed because of just how much a bad cover hides a truly good game. Supposedly Wonderful Future by Dmitry Zagumennov is one of those games.
Players take the role of Michael, a co-founder of an up and coming tech startup, who was given an offer by a mysterious woman named Jackie. She claimed to be from the year 2048 and chose Michael in a lottery to spend five days in the future. She describes it as a world that is socially better and technologically superior with such benefits being a smaller poverty gap, full sensory VR, medically induced eternal youth, etc. Reluctantly, and with many questions, Michael accepts the offer and suddenly wakes up in a dark and disturbing home. It’s found very quickly that these new technological and societal changes have quite a few kinks to them that have made things arguably more dystopian than utopian. Over the next few days, it is up to Michael, under the surveillance of the Jackie’s employer LIFE+, to bring an outsider’s perspective to the problems of the world of tomorrow.
The plot pads each day with its own separate scenario that the player can bring their own perspectives to and range from deciding the purpose of how to treat children in a world where no one ages to the effects VR addiction can have on one’s psyche. Where Supposedly Wonderful Future treats these scenarios with care is preventing every problem from having a definitively correct answer, and most importantly leaving the conclusion to the player’s imagination. It doesn’t indulge the player in what happened to who they interact with and the ramifications of their actions more than what is reasonably necessary. This can be a powerful narrative direction that can either leave someone justified in their opinions or afraid that they made the wrong decision and ultimately questioning their beliefs.
The gameplay does not innovate in any way outside of being a typical point-and-click adventure. There are dialogue boxes with various branching paths and decisions to make. There are various pieces of the environment that can be interacted with and changed to the discretion of the player. Supposedly Wonderful Future shines in this regard by emphasizing a quantity of little, inconsequential things to interact with. For example, in Michael’s main office had a dart board that allowed the player to throw darts a few times with Michael giving his own introspection per throw. One dart misses the board and the whiteboard to its left had a note that is erased and changed from “26 days without a hole in the wall” to “0”. Little touches like that are thrown around the game and are a nice touch without removing the importance of actual plot devices themselves.