The Let's Play Archive

The Submachine Series

by Carbon dioxide

Part 10: Submachine: Future Loop Foundation

Part 10
Submachine: Future Loop Foundation

Click here to play the game yourself.

The second of three side games, this is a weird one. It was created as a promotional game for Future Loop Foundation, which was the artist name of English DJ Mark Barrott, according to Wikipedia. Back in 2007, when this game was released, playing it on the Future Loop Foundation website would unlock some hidden stuff on the site. The website has been dead for a long time now, though.

This game is very short, and I would consider it the least canonical of all the side games.

The HD version of this game, simply called Submachine: FLF HD, was released in 2014 and is significantly different. It has a lot of extra rooms and puzzles, and all the references to Future Loop Foundation have been removed. It also has a new soundtrack by ThumpMonks. I'll use the HD soundtrack for this update, because I don't have an easy way to get the FLF music and ThumpMonks is better anyway.

The theme of this game is 'memories'. FLF created a project called "Memories from a fading room", and I suppose this game fits into that.

We start off in the Ward. Starting the tape player, the game's music starts playing and a key gets dragged inside.

Thumpmonks - Submachine FLF - The Ward
In the original game, this was a sort of strange ambient track with some annoying sounds mixed in. I'd say the new version captures that feeling quite well.

Anyway, we use the Key to open the door and step outside, and almost into a bottomless void.

I don't know who we are or why we're here, but we seem to be some kind of mental patient? Around the back corner we pick up a Knife.

The Knife lets us cut open the stitches in the walls of our room, and the Keycard falls out of one of them.

We can finally escape from our room. Let's go right first.

A projector. Not very useful without anything to project.

Down the ladder we find a door that takes us nowhere. Further down we go.

At the bottom there's a ball that squeaks and jumps when we click on it. It's still there in the HD version, so it doesn't seem to be a FLF reference. I have no idea what it is about, it has no further purpose in the game. Possibly an in-joke by Mateusz?

More importantly, there are a few runes on the wall to the left. We're done down here, let's explore the top section of the Ward.

A part of the mechanism that lowered that bridge to our room, and another door to the right.

We can open the lockers in this storage room.

We find the Slide in a random locker. By the way, in the HD version this room is called "Morgue" instead, which makes things a lot more morbid, especially considering the changes Mateusz made in the next section.

The Slide goes into the projector and shows us some photograph. Clicking on it takes us to the next section, the Memory Bank.

Thumpmonks - Submachine FLF - Memory Bank
The original game uses the same music as the Ward for this section, but in the HD version, there's a separate song.

Clicking on this picture allows us to quickly return to the Ward. But let's go through the door on the right instead.

Through the door and then left, beyond the owl drawing, we find this device with headphones. It allows us to select a rune, but most of them just give us noise. Let's leave that alone for now.

We can click on the stuff on the ground to look at it directly. These are obviously references to FLF stuff.

In the HD version, all of these photos, including the Slide we saw, have been replaced by black-and-white photographs of people from a number of different ages. If you hover over them, descriptions such as "Father", "Grandmother" and "Great grandfather" pop up. The HD game is still about memories, but I'm assuming those pictures are of Mateusz' family (this is not confirmed anywhere, but I can't think of any other explanation). It does make the fact he turned the storage room into a morgue quite sad, though.

Back in the main corridor, there's another door further to the right.

Inside, there are more pictures that are probably important to Future Loop Foundation.

A neat little touch is that the entire game has rounded edges like that, to give it an old photographic slide effect.

This is at the far right of the main corridor.

We can punch in numbers on the panel, but none of the notes on the ground work. What we actually need is the patient number, 3218, which isn't actually random as far as I've noticed. The original version of this game can be beaten within 2 minutes, if you know what you're doing. The HD version takes a few minutes more, because of the extra puzzles.

As soon as we hit the last number, the screen zooms out to show us a new corridor sliding into place. What's with this place and shifting walls?

Behind the new corridor, we find an entire movie theatre. This place makes even less sense than many of the places we've visited in previous games. Anyway, we can't do anything here yet, so we need to backtrack to the left end of this corridor.

Where we can take the stairs down.

This corridor has more doors. Inside the first one we find a tv.

It shows FLF's logo. In the HD version it just shows static.

Beyond the tv, there's a device which unlocks when we select the right runes. These are, of course, the runes we found on the wall back in the Ward. And these aren't randomized either.

This lets us grab the movie reel. The game ends when we put that into the projector in the movie theatre. Did I mention this game isn't very difficult?

There's a little bit more to explore, though. Behind the next door we find a panel that requires a three-digit code. This is part of an optional puzzle (which is no longer optional in the HD version).

We don't have that code yet, so let's continue on for now. To the left, we find another FLF photograph.

And to the right of the final door, there's one more picture. When we click the light switch, it makes a weird chirping sound.

I actually didn't make the connection at first, but the chirp is an owl's call. If we go back to the owl picture, we find the three digit code, which we use on the panel, to get a single rune. None of this is randomized, so you can even solve this optional puzzle by memorization.

Wait a second, perhaps that's the point, it would be in theme with this game.

Anyway, this is the rune that activates the 'jukebox'. In the original version, this unlocks a second song, which is a slow guitar solo. In the HD version, this song starts playing:
Thumpmonks - Submachine FLF - Jukebox

And that's everything. Let's finish this game.

The projector plays this short loop of film.

Ending posted:

It's all coming back to me now...

And I almost remember my name...

I know where I must go now...

... To find the root of all of this.
This narration was changed a bit in the HD version. It outright says "I remember my name now" and it doesn't specifically mention the Root anymore.

I honestly don't think this game is very interesting for people who aren't fans of Future Loop Foundation. On top of that, while most Submachine games are referenced by later games, by having similar architecture or whatever, that barely happens with FLF. There's some of it in the exploration game Submachine Universe, but that's about it.

In the next game, The Root, the game starts with the protagonist waking up. Because of that, I like to think of this game as a dream. It isn't actually a part of the Subnet, but it did help stir the protagonist's memories. And as they said in the ending narration, they now know they need to go find the Root.

So, see you next time for the next game in the main series: Submachine 5: The Root