The Tomorrow Children generated a lot of buzz when it was first unveiled. Its odd world and peculiar childlike characters made this one of the more interesting games to look out for this generation. It was a title I was particularly looking forward to, especially from a visual standpoint, but unfortunately, even though it’s still in its early access, looks can be deceiving.
The Tomorrow Children takes place in a world that’s been destroyed by an experiment gone wrong. All that is left is the vast expanse of nothingness, inhabited by menacing beasts known as Izverg. In order to rebuild civilisation, you take on the role of a projection clone, an entity whose sole purpose is to work and fight for the good of mankind. The start of the game has a character that looks like Jigsaw from Saw, vaguely explaining to you the basics of the game and world, and from that very moment, it’s immediately intriguing. The concept of working together with other clones plays into its communist and Soviet-Union themes and I was immediately sucked in. The setting is unique and the game’s odd visual style really works in its favour. While the aesthetics is definitely my favourite thing about the game, it’s also unfortunately the only good thing about it too.
Fundamentally, The Tomorrow Children is a resource gathering game with survival elements. Being tasked with restoring different towns, you’ll be gathering various resources needed for the maintenance and expansion of your new, temporary abode. The actual gathering happens on weird and wondrous islands off in the distance that are procedurally generated. The Islands themselves are interesting and come in the shape of massive faces or pigs and even huge feet sticking out of the ground. Here, you’ll chip away at the environment, mining for minerals and cutting down trees for wood in the process. The other major reason for visiting and exploring these islands is to retrieve Matryoshka Dolls, which get converted into people (weird, I know, but it’s an unusual game to begin with) and fill a population quota needed to ‘complete’ a town.
There’s nothing too out of the ordinary once you really get into it and though it looks aesthetically different to all of the other games of its ilk, it’s still all about mining, digging and cutting your way to some pre-set goal. There’s the usual crafting system in place as well as some really light and awkward combat. Other minor mechanics such as propaganda, while unique on paper, doesn’t really add much to the overall experience. Once I got over the novelty of its unique look and setting, the boredom quickly set in.
While I do think this genre is completely oversaturated, I don’t really have a problem with these kinds of games. I enjoy the feeling of pride and accomplishment you get from building things that are directly influenced by the amount of effort you put in. I can’t really judge this game harshly for not being anything more than standard, but it is that very core and important concept of accomplishment that The Tomorrow Children fails so miserably at.
The idea of a shared multiplayer world where people work together to rebuild a town is an interesting one but in its current form, it also comes with some serious downsides. Most of the time you’ll be entering towns that are already well on its way, so by the time you arrive, there’s not that much for you to do besides gathering resources for the town, or fighting off the odd baddies. What happened most of the time I played is that I would enter a town, spend a few hours working with other people, contributing to the resource pool and population quota and then call it a day for that session.
When I’d log back in the next day, the town would’ve already been completed, and I’d be sent to the main menu to choose another town to join without even having the chance to so much as walk around the completed roads I helped paved. The only time I really witnessed a town being completed was when I joined one that had almost reached its goal. Even then, it meant nothing as I hardly did anything of actual worth. Sure, I got to see a nice cut scene of everyone dancing, but after that, I’d just get kicked out and would have to choose another town to repeat the process. I actually felt worthless within the game and I feel like I had wasted my time. In all honesty, it was really frustrating.
If that wasn’t enough, the game is an absolute slog to get through. Thankfully I was given the Founder’s Pack (which is the paid version and is the only one available right now) for review which gave me some of the in-game currency (which can be purchased with real money too) that I could use to purchase some premium items. This really helped in alleviating some of the monotony as standard equipment, such as the normal pickaxe for instance, takes ages to yield resources when you’re mining. Even then, the end result was still tiring and wore me out.
To travel to each island, you’ll have to wait for a bus that’ll take you to your destination. Miss the bus and you’ll have to wait for the next round. Once you board the bus, you’ll have to sit through the ride to the island. Once there, you can carry on with your tasks but your inventory only has 3 slots initially for you to carry resources in, so you’ll be doing a lot of backtracking to drop off what you currently have in the loading area and then running back to pick up what’s left. When you’re done, you have to wait for the bus again, and then ride it back to town where you’ll carry all the resources to their designated areas. After all of that, you’ll have to stand in line (if there’s one) to clock in and get your wages. Lastly, if you want to craft something before repeating the process, you can use the workbench but if someone else is using it, you’ll have to stand in line as well. Once you decide on what you want to craft, you’ll have to solve a sliding puzzle first before the process is completed. That’s basically the story of how The Tomorrow Children slowly drove me insane.
Over exaggerations aside and even with other players helping you, it’s still a tedious process to endure and it’s at its worst at the start of the game as there is not a lot of in-game help on how you should go about things or even clear direction on what it is exactly you should be doing, so you’re more than likely going to flounder about during the beginning hours. A shame really as it has the visual art style to set itself apart from other games as well as an interesting online platform and some unique ideas. Maybe it’ll be a much better game in the future, but unfortunately, as it stands, The Tomorrow Children feels like a laborious and tedious job, and I’m just about ready to hand in my resignation.
Last Updated: September 21, 2016