Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Tomorrow Children: PS4 Review

The Tomorrow Children: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Developer : Q Games

The Tomorrow Children is an oddly beguiling affair.

Mixing the red peril with Minecraft leanings and a hefty dosage of Jigsaw, with the premise and the idea of communism, the fact it’s an online open world sandbox seems delightfully and wilfully, amusingly wry.

Set in a world where the Soviet Union has somewhat gone awry and the world’s become enveloped in a kind of dystopian void, it’s wilfully perverse when it comes to its game mechanics and raison d’etre.

You play a girl, whom you later learn is a Projection clone and is therefore able to function within the white wide expanse known only as the Void. Armed with only a satchel, you stumble around the void until a TV set on a stick rises slowly from the white nothingness….and a disembodied address comes your way, with some instructions and some vague level of menace. It’s like Jigsaw from the SAW movies has been trapped within the TV screen and is working on bringing the Russian world back to life.

Basically, in a nutshell, it’s up to you to re-build the world and create a glorious utopia again – and the ethos of sharing plays a big part in that. As the TV set receded into the distance, a massive structure rose up out of the ground and the glorious leader granted me a pick-axe to smash my way into the building and to do his bidding.

What transpires though is that you need to have some inkling of how to solve some basic puzzles and employ some lateral thinking as too much time in the dark sees your projection clone start to twinkle with green static. Given a portable lamp is a clever touch, but how to use that when you have to carry metals from within and with only one set of arms is a puzzle that may take an ounce of simple thinking to solve.

Here’s the interesting thing about The Tomorrow Children though; it seems to thrive on a pool of economies rather than a one for themselves ethos. The metals I gathered were taken out of the complex and dumped into an area that was marked “Storage” – before I was granted access to the subway and a personal upgrading for the work I’d done. It’s quite clear the Red philosophy permeates every pore of the DNA of this game.

Taking you on the subway to what would appear to be the hub of the game brings you into an area that resembles, in part, a monopoly board. Divided up into portions and with bits going on around you, there’s plenty to do as you start to absorb yourself into this world.

From the wry Russian humour to the fact you’re told to "Line up", there’s an air which pervades The Tomorrow Children that shows it's something a little wilfully different
The Islands prove to be the key point to this game as you get to visit them and mine for resources. Building your own town and visiting others seems to be a raison d'etre too - but in parts, most of this game is about you doing your job and conforming to the socialism ideals.

There are creatures waiting to attack you – the Izverg seemed determined to make my life a misery. Attacking one seemed to link it as an albatross around my neck and it would merely follow me and attack. Even if I was in the middle of another interaction with someone else – which is more than a mild irritation given how I was unable to continue with what I was doing.

In among the propaganda films and the Russian ethos, there’s an inkling that The Tomorrow Children is something different and is shaping up to be an indie that’s more than just quirk. But it takes time to feed into this and to build your own attitude as well - it looks beautifully rendered, but it's not a world that cries for you to spend time within. It may not be to all tastes, but The Tomorrow Children is worth spending some time in - it feels more like a missed opportunity than a fully formed ideal, but it';s certainly a sign the indie sector can shake things up.

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