By: Jeff Cater
The Tomorrow Children is a brand new free-to-play game available on the PlayStation Network. In it, a vast catastrophic event has wiped the world clean of, well, everything. A group of scientists have created “projection clones” of little girls that serve to gather resources and rebuild society! All for free, and with your friends!
Controlling your clone is a cakewalk. You maneuver around with the left stick and look about your environment with the right. Accessing your tools is done by way of the d-pad, then highlighting your selection with the left stick and confirming it with the “X” button.
Tool in hand you will begin to mine resources for your town and other various forms of work. If you’re into the more manual labor speed of things, you can use axes, chainsaws, shovels, and other tools by walking up to an applicable surface and pressing square.
First thing you’ll likely notice about the game is the wonderful and awe-inspiring visual style. At first, “The Void” is just that; a giant grey expanse devoid of any features. Around town, guards and buildings look to be carved right out of wood with sharp angles protruding in strange ways.
At first it’s very dreary, but after a short while of building up your town and working the color palette widens considerably and you’ll be treated to some neat visuals.
For example, if you are mining on an island when it is about to expire the whole structure turns into flower petals that gently expand then lazily fall to the ground. Animation sets for the clone projections are pretty great, but the rigs for the hostile Izverg often seem a little limited and jerky.
I’m not sure if the language they use in this game is legitimately Russian or some sort of imitation, but the delivery of each piece of dialogue is chilling. The music is flowing, foreboding and fits the tone of the game incredibly well. I even found myself listening to the opening theme on YouTube a few times!
Well. The Tomorrow Children. Honestly there’s never been anything quite like it. Once you finish a short tutorial that gives you a basic rundown on the game mechanics, it unleashes you into the Void. Whether you choose to be a miner, a lumberjack, a mechanic, etc, is up to you.
You’ll also notice that other versions of your character seem to be showing up at random times to pick up resources or chop a tree; those are actually other players inhabiting the same town as you! Together you will harvest resources, build structures and participate in the town’s political system by voting for a mayor, and hopefully erecting a town fitting for the pride of the people.
There are monsters out in the Void as well, which you’ll often see flying high above, harmlessly drifting away. But there are several types of monsters (or Izverg as they’re called in-game) and they all have different traits, but the one that they share is that they absolutely hate getting shot at for no reason.
See, a lot of monsters will largely ignore your town unless it’s directly in the way of their current path. So if you see one of the Godzilla-looking fellows tromping around a bit out of the way, leave him alone and he will leave you alone. If you don’t leave him alone, he slowly meanders over while shrugging off turret-fire and preparing a serious Spirit Bomb that would make Goku wince.
The Tomorrow Children is great in that it houses many options for players to select, but that also may be its No. 1 issue. Why? Trolls. Trolls are rampant in The Tomorrow Children, and it’s not uncommon that a town you’ve been working to come crumbling down around you overnight.
Let’s say that you and a friend have been building up a garden to grow trees in for food (one of the rare resources). So you’ve gotten about 15 trees planted, all producing fruit, and all producing points for those players who decide to harvest them and turn them in. Well that’s too bad, because “Pu$$y_Gun_Bloodfart26” decided to chop down all the trees for wood.
There are a few ways to try to mitigate the trolls’ impact. One is to constantly use the Praise system to give them bad props and eventually lock them up in a cell. The other is to simply try to communicate ideas for your town better, but the game makes that (intentionally?) difficult to do.
In order to communicate effectively at all with any other players, one must buy an item called The Megaphone, which offers little explanation and even less incentive to buy because it takes considerable time to unlock it for purchase.
I dearly love The Tomorrow Children. The environment, the vague story line, the lovely visuals and super-chill gameplay, but damn if I didn’t get super-aggravated when I stepped foot into my town that I’ve spent days in only to see people actively trying to agro the monsters and needlessly chopping down our gardens.