IntroductionDead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today, developed by Fictiorama Studios, is a point and click adventure with a story built on dark tones and environments. As you awake to a new world (one that is a futuristic post-apocalypse), you find yourself in a concentration camp. But what exactly happened? Who are you, and what all have you forgotten since "The Great Wave?" Take Michael through this sinister new world, solve puzzles, interact with those who have also survived. Previously released for PC in 2015, the game has now made its way to the PlayStation 4. You can buy the game on Steam or PlayStation Store for $19.99
StoryLooking into darkness, you hear a voice saying "wake up, Michael. it's time to wake up." The response doesn't change as you attempt to question it about what is going on. You somehow push through the coma-like state and wake up to a man who introduces himself as Rod Atkinson. As you take a look at your grimy and broken-down shelter, he begins explaining to you there was "The Great Wave" that has left a massive impact on society, destroying communications and power, and leaving only a handful of individuals left. It wasn't a nuclear bombing or other typical fallout ideas, but rather a large natural disaster. Following this was/is a pandemic known as "the Dissolved" where the infected would eventually begin to have their bodies destroyed from the inside.
Walking outside of the small shelter, you quickly learn you are inside a "refugee camp," even though it is truly a concentration camp. Take Michael on a journey to find the answers about his past, learn about his new cognitive powers caused by the Dissolved pandemic, experience dark and gruesome environments and interactions, and do everything you can to survive. To highlight this before going further, the story hits a brick wall at the end, seemingly unfinished. This doesn't take anything away from how dark and mature the adventure will be up until this time, but can easily make you feel let down with the experience as a whole.
GameplayAs a point and click adventure, you'll find all the expected genre traits; object interacting, puzzles, character interactions, and general story relevant (and many times irrelevant) scenarios. As you traverse the different rooms and environments you'll be able to interact with almost anything. The design is simple in nature and doesn't flood the areas with too many items (yet still nicely detailed), so usually it's very easy to distinguish what can be grabbed or examined. You'll have two different buttons that are used for this; one will be used to examine something, allowing the player to hear Michael narrate his thoughts and ideas regarding the object of interest, and the other will allow him to grab/use it in one form or another. He will narrate anything and everything, but grab few things.
Inventory allows you to collect a bunch of items, some will need to be used to progress past your area and onto the next part of the story, and some will have essentially no significance. If you get stuck in a room or area (which you will), you'll be able to pull up all of the points of interest with a press of the button, highlighting everything with a purple dot. I learned it's best to grab absolutely everything you can because you never know when you'll need it; sometimes required items were completely unexpected and you would be forced to backtrack. Puzzles feel pointless far too often, regularly asking you to complete tasks that defy any real person's basic understanding of life, like maybe reach through the open window to grab the items you need instead of finding a crowbar to pry the whole door open. There is a "free-roaming" aspect of the game where you move between each area by taking the cursor to the edge of the screen in a respected direction, but nothing extensive.
You'll find that you can interact with everyone you encounter, whether to mess with them, pick their brains about prior events, or to help them somehow. When you begin talking to someone, the camera zooms in and will show you the different responses available. Everyone is given a voice (in more details below), just as they are given a unique character and backstory. There's a lot hidden throughout the game in this regard, meaning you could really dive into some of these sub stories and interactions. The game loses a perfect opportunity to capitalize on this, though, with character subplots that just kind of fade away, never to carry anymore influence throughout your adventure. Overall, everything ran incredibly well and I experienced little to no hiccups in the performance regarding gameplay.
Sound and GraphicsThe sound is a mixed batch of pros and cons. The music is strong in a retro apocalyptic rock sense, reminding me of horror/thriller movies where the introduction would scan across bloody murders and police evidence with a heart racing rhythm (and perhaps a little anxiety). The voice acting was either hit or miss; the protagonist Michael had a great voice full of emotion and genuine confusion regarding the world. There are other notable characters with good voice acting but many secondary characters felt as if their speaking was completely opposite from what was going on.
One scene in particular, close to the beginning of the game, depicted the military coming into the camp to take away a resident. When the two other family members tried to plea for them not to, it sounded too calm and emotionally detached. A moment as heart wrenching and sad as anything could be, and it felt casual. These will occur mostly outside of Michael's moments.The artistic design choice is one built in cartoon-esque fashion but with morbid and dark tones. The game almost looks like a moving painting full of detailed environments and death. I found the whole setting to be perfect for such a dark and sinister story.
ConclusionThere's a special uniqueness that Dead Syncronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today offers in regards to a broken-down society in post-apocalyptic times, but it missed a chance to deliver something truly amazing with a few bad story-related choices. The fact that it ends on a complete cliffhanger is to say the least; it seemingly just ends. It simply ends just as you are about to have questions answered, and find a saving turn of events. The characters, who you can easily become interested in, lose significance rather quickly at times. These are fairly bad for a game built around a story-driven experience, but if you can understand those things before playing, there are a lot of good qualities to find. The interactions you do have are meaningful and dark. You feel the dread of the military, and you can feel the anxiety of survivors on edge. I was encompassed into the environment from the start.
The puzzles, while they can become confusing and somewhat tedious due to some backtracking and general confusion, are covered up with many interactions and observations that you can make with nearly everything and everyone around you. You feel there's actually the world to take in rather than boring generic puzzle after boring generic puzzle. I'm sure the game will have a sequel at some point, and has a prequel out now that can be played for free. You'll find roughly 5-7 hours within this indie title, depending on how stuck you get at times, but hopefully you can seemingly progress through and enjoy the experience for what is.
|+ Immersive post-apocalyptic environments||- Story fails to conclude properly|
|+ Excellent voice acting by the protagonist||- Puzzles become confusing at different stages|
|+ Great art and design||- Supporting characters lack emotional voice acting|
|+ Intriguing story and psychological experience|