The Tomorrow Children is a brand-new crafting game for the PlayStation 4. Can this game stand out from far more popular games like Minecraft or is this game destined to fall into “The Void”?
Crafting games are a peculiar thing. You either love these types of games or you loathe them, it seems. I happen to like this particular genre, it allows freedom and creativity like few others in gaming. The Tomorrow Children breaks that freedom a little bit and the result is mixed.
The task at hand is to rebuild towns in a post-apocalyptic world by mining for resources in the outskirts of the cities you’re rebuilding called, “The Void”. You control a clone girl starting off with a few items to complete your list of tasks. You obtain regular mining gear like pickaxes, shovels, and a lantern. After a quick mining tutorial, you’re off on the subway to your first city. That’s where The Tomorrow Children started to lose me.
The game just plops you off the subway and into the city. It’s definitely tough to start off in the world with very little to go off of and I had a hard time with it at first. I don’t think games need to hold your hand, I do however think that I should know what I’m looking for and how I need to obtain it. I walked around the city for a good 20 minutes trying to find clues as to what I was supposed to do. I tried to generate electricity for the city. I picked up a resource on the ground and got thrown in temporary jail. Not once was I informed about what the consequences or rewards for my actions were. Things just happen and that’s how you start to figure the game out.
After awhile, you start to get the hang of things. There’s a bus that comes and takes you to an island to mine resources. One bus that is. This bus is on a pre-determined schedule and you can’t skip the travel time. So you wait with nothing to even look at because it’s a blank world. I got to the island and mined some resources (you have to wait while your using your pickaxe or shovel too) and started to throw them in the big cargo looking area at the back of the bus. Big mistake. These resources fell off. They were actually supposed to go in the loading area. Loading area could mean loading people or objects. Apparently, it means both. It wasn’t clear and that meant that all the resources I just mined were now lost. Another teachable moment that could have been avoided.
I can’t mention the actual gathering of resources without mentioning the backpack limit. You have 3 slots in your backpack to start (4 later on). This means you can only transport 4-5 resources at once (if holding them in your hand). If the gameplay wasn’t repetitive enough, this one make it worse. Consider the fact that you have to transport this from the island to the bus, then from the bus to each individual pile and you can understand the frustration. It’s extra work for absolutely no reason. It’s not as if this game had to be realistic. If there has to be a limit, at least make it something better, like 50.
The way that The Tomorrow Children tries to differentiate itself from the competition is the use of its asynchronous multiplayer. You’re constantly trying to achieve town goals and working together to make a thriving city. It’s a good concept in theory, but this game would have been a lot better if there was actually an incentive to team-up with someone. Instead of that, players are left on their own to gather resources, bring them back, build, and repeat. You see random players on occasion, but they just seem like the projections they are because there’s no actual interaction. Everyone is working towards a goal, but I never felt that way.
The city-building itself doesn’t have any more depth to it. Most of the time, the city you’re in already has everything it needs and all you need to build is a turret or apartment building. I expected to go in and build mega-cities and that is nowhere near what is found in The Tomorrow Children. There are times when you actually do need to build something and you can’t find the resources for it. Islands don’t just spawn every type of resource. It’s random and sometimes you won’t see metal for a long-time and instead will have a surplus of coal. At that point you have to play the all-too-familiar waiting game.
Crafting these dull structures requires you to complete a tile-sliding puzzle because, why not? There’s no rhyme or reason for this, it’s just how it is. If you don’t want to do that, you can pay money to do it instantly. It was at this point where I really started to feel like this game wasn’t the game I thought it would be. There’s no reason for a puzzle here, just let me build my hard-earned structures!
These cities never felt like I contributed to them or made them better in any way. There are elections where you can elect a leader that will give the city certain buffs on different types of stats. It never felt like these did anything. None of the stats felt like they did anything. You’re bombarded with numbers and nothing is ever explained. Worse than that, you can slave away on a city only to come back hours later and find that it has been restored and you have to start a new one. What’s the point? What is the incentive to completing a town?
As you can tell, The Tomorrow Children was not worth the time it took to write this review. The repetition in this game is so unnecessary and I’m really disappointed that there wasn’t more to this game. I went in with pretty high hopes and as I played through, I realized that the fun-factor was non-existent. Boring gameplay, too many micro-transactions, and no pay-off sink this one for me.
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by PlayStation for review purposes*