Hands-On Preview: The Tomorrow Children
As online multiplayer and the social aspects of gaming have intertwined more and more each generation, developer Q-Games is taking the approach of a “shared” gaming experience quite literally, all seen through the studio’s upcoming new venture, The Tomorrow Children.
During our time at E3 2015 this week, we had the chance to spend a bit of time in the oddly charming world of The Tomorrow Children, a brand new PS4 exclusive coming from Q-Games, previously of the well-loved PixelJunk series. Much like those titles, The Tomorrow Children is all things odd and quirky: however, it’s already showing that it may just be one of the more unique titles to be gracing the PS4 this fall.
Taking place in a pseudo-surrealist mix of a setting – a post-apocalpytic 1960s-era Soviet community – The Tomorrow Children puts players into the role of a member in the community seeking to work with other players to strengthen their community and build it to its very best.
Combining the need to gather resources a la Minecraft with a unique art style and setting, The Tomorrow Children certainly has one of the more “out there” concepts of a game compared to many of the games we were able to play on the show floor of PlayStation’s E3 booth, but it’s all the better for it. Playing as a character reminiscent of a wooden doll, players will run and explore an area known as “The Void” for resources to strengthen their community and assist other players, though there are plenty of dangers waiting along the way.
During our time with The Tomorrow Children, we were able to experience the beginnings of what seemed like a tutorial level for the game, introducing players to the basic mechanics of mining for resources, gathering supplies, and helping to build, repair, and upgrades buildings in the community. Fitting with the game’s Soviet influences and Communist undertones, resources gathered by the player are always dumped into various collection areas to complete objectives and upgrade buildings.
Similarly to titles like Journey and Bloodborne, The Tomorrow Children is played in single-player but also features more passive multiplayer features to enhance the sense of working together in a community toward a common goal.
With the community in disarray following government experiments leaving much of the world in a ruined state, players will explore areas of The Void while also seeing other players wandering around. Though you won’t be able to interact with other players (at least as our demo indicated), you can still at least see ghost-like player avatars chipping away at other aspects of the community, whether it’s in fortifying and upgrading buildings, assisting with resource gathering, or helping to defend the town when danger strikes.
It’s difficult to get a proper measure of what the title will offer so far given its nature: getting into a game so focused on player discovery and learning what abilities/resources offer takes far more time and insight than what a 10-15 minute demo can offer, but there is still plenty to admire and enjoy from what we were able to go hands-on with in The Tomorrow Children.
Those that have already dug countless hours into the likes of Minecraft will surely find lots to enjoy in The Tomorrow Children, and while Q-Games’ title definitely shares some similarities, it still manages to find some unique angles thanks to the unusual (but distinctive) visual style and its community-oriented goals. Fitting with the game’s Communist themes, The Tomorrow Children is all about bettering the community rather than just the player, and every action done and resource gathered aims to build something bigger and better.
However, around every turn there are also dangers waiting to tear it down: giant, almost Godzilla-like monsters pop up occasionally forcing community members into action and take up arms when a deadly creature strikes. Aside from threats of monsters, players also have other environmental hazards to be aware of, such as entering sections of The Void without a vehicle or transportation always being a threat, or requiring a source of light (such as nearby plants and lanterns) when entering dark passages or tunnels.
Aside from the variety of resources needed to be gathered for better materials to upgrade the community, players will also have access to a wide range of tools and utilities at their disposal in The Tomorrow Children to help them reach harder-to-reach areas or make their progress in an environment slightly easier. While general items for mining resources include a pick ax and jackhammer, others are there to aid player mobility such as a jetpack, or a glowing egg-like crystal that can instantly create a bridge for players to reach across large gaps or wide stretches through The Void.
In the slate of PlayStation’s daring indie titles that excel at bringing new ideas and concepts, The Tomorrow Children easily shows one of the PS4’s more unusual titles set to hit the console this year. Yet, while its concept and mechanics are difficult to nail down exactly in a short amount of time, The Tomorrow Children combines socially-oriented gameplay and teamwork together well with its lucid, intriguing style and visuals. Even against some of the heavier competition coming to PS4 this fall in a busy holiday season, The Tomorrow Children is already shaping up to be an investing, original game that will be more than happy to welcome you to its community, if you’re willing to put some work into it.
The Tomorrow Children will release for PS4 in Fall 2015.