The Tomorrow Children review – X Marx the spot

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.

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