Good of you to join us comrade! You’re just in time for orientation. We will soon be sending you to a brand new town in the void, a place of riches, friendship, community and more than a dash of abject terror. There you will start to rebuild our shattered world and bring hope to an otherwise desolate, featureless, near insanity-inducing landscape. This concludes orientation. I do have time for one question but as I know what you all want to ask I’ll just say it, no there will not be food or drink provided on the train. You now have five seconds to board before constable Olaf unceremoniously punts you on to the aforementioned, zero-refreshment train. Best of luck!
The Tomorrow Children is a very unique game. Starting with the art style is completely one of a kind, you’ll witness sights ranging from incredible and beautiful vistas of the “islands” to the very sinister looking characters and creatures inhabiting the void with you, some working with you and some seeking to destroy you (the guy with the big beak at the top is actually the one who gives you the game’s tutorial). Yet, despite this stark contrast, it works. Maybe in the same way The Last Of Us can one minute have you desperately trying to stop a mushroom man from eating you and the next you’ll witness Ellie seeing giraffes for the first time. The opposites balance and somewhat ground each other. The, almost oppressive, feeling of taking a bus, where you stand in perfect lines with other players while all facing a TV screen showing propaganda, is countered by then stepping off that bus and being met with an island like the one below and leaving you with a feeling of wonder and excitement over having the freedom to explore and exploit that island however you choose.
It is hard to apply a genre to this title that, ironically for a game about building a cooperative communist-esque society, does not conform to any one given genre (or to just about any standard in gaming really!). In my mind, it has in fact made a genre of its own by taking pieces of existing categories to make something new and fresh. It could even be said that, because you can contribute in the way that suits you best, your idea of what the game is could be a bit different, and yet equally valid, to someone else’s!
You must help maintain and develop towns, small bastions standing against the vast nothingness of the void. By locating and extracting resources in the weird and wonderful islands that appear near your town, you keep your civilians fed, buildings powered and maintained, as well as ensuring growth and progress by building new structures and getting more civilians. More than this however, these materials mean your protection. Towns must have defenses like turrets which will need either power to keep your Command & Conquer style Tesla towers up and running or metal to produce the ammo for the manned turrets. Without these it will not take long for the Izverg, the monsters that inhabit the Void and seek to keep it a featureless wasteland of white, to overrun you and start razing all your hard work to the ground. All your hard work will be rewarded with points called Toil which contribute to your level and is converted into a currency called Ration Coupons at a building called the Ministry of Labor. Toil is earned through extracting resources, storing them safely, repairing buildings and pretty much any other way of contributing to your town.
As the image above shows, you won’t be doing all this on your own. The Tomorrow Children is a multiplayer game and unless you choose a town that has no other players in it, you’ll have people working alongside you to help tame the void. This is however, where we find another of The Tomorrow Children’s oddities. For a lot of the time you won’t actually see the other players around you. No it isn’t a No Man’s Sky situation, they are actually there but you only see other players when they are performing some actions. The times you’ll see other players include when they are using tools, queuing, riding vehicles, picking up or dropping off objects or emoting. You can also blow a whistle which, as well as revealing yourself to others, gives you a glimmer of where other players are around you.
Is making other players hard to see weird for a multiplayer game? Absolutely! But as should be clear from what you’ve read so far, this game is not afraid to take risks visit the weird! The thinking behind this is so no one feels obligated to do any particular action to task because other players might be watching and judging what you are doing. This actually adds to the freedom of approaching the game how you want to approach it. It may not be ideal in every way but it is a novel approach that I absolutely respect for its effort to let players do what they want to do. It has only been a problem for me when trying to teach Gordi how to play while in game with him but I still managed to cover most things.
So will you enjoy this multiplayer, RPG, adventure, strategy? Well the honest answer is maybe. I really enjoy this game and I plan on coming back to it for a good while but as I said when I started this review, this is a very unique game and I think it can be somewhat niche in appeal. The good news is, it is free to find out if you will enjoy it as The Tomorrow Children is Free to Play. This does mean there are microtransactions but the game can never really be at risk of being Pay to Win as you are not competing with other players but working with then. On top of this, though putting some money in for premium currency will speed some things up, it will also help out others and you’ll still be relying on other players whether they are paying or not. Everyone has to pitch in to build up towns and complete them. It is also a bonus that you will actually find premium currency lying around every now and then near places you’ve been working! My recommendation is to try out playing for free and if you enjoy it either keep at it or consider the £15.99 Frontier pack for the game which gives you some premium currency and a number of useful items including getting earlier access to “Rezidenty” status letting you build a house and vote for town mayors which provide various buffs to players.
The Tomorrow Children has a great dedicated community and is a one of a kind game that I think deserves a shot. It has been misunderstood due to how obscure it is but given time you will make sense of the game and its systems. Stick it on download and fire it up for a bit when you have a chance, it maybe won’t be for you and that’s totally fine but maybe it will be and it’d be great to have even more citizens out here in the void. If you have any thoughts or questions about the game please do leave us a comment. I may do a longer more in depth post about the game since I’ve only scratched the surface here and I want to help make the game that bit more understandable and accessible. In the meantime folks, watch the skies! They’re filled with manta ray looking Izverg dropping bombs!