Siobhan Keogh is the NZ Herald's gaming blogger.

The Tomorrow Children: 'A rare lapse from a great sudio'

A scene from Playstation 4 game The Tomorrow Children.
A scene from Playstation 4 game The Tomorrow Children.

As someone who thought the "dystopian document thriller" Papers, Please was a great game, you'd think The Tomorrow Children would be right up my alley.

After all, both games are overtly political viewpoints on Russia, both games ask you to do things you're not 100 per cent comfortable with, and in both games work is king.

But The Tomorrow Children is developed by Sony's incredibly successful Japan Studio, which created classics like Ico, Legend of Dragoon and my personal favourite Tokyo Jungle. It couldn't just be a little indie game - it had to be more.

In The Tomorrow Children, you play a young girl surviving in a post-apocalyptic universe called "The Void".

It's pretty apparent why it's named that as most of this world is a blank white space.

Out of this blank white space emerge islands, and as a diligent worker in a socialist society, you're expected to do your bit to rebuild society by mining these islands for resources.

These islands are the best part of the game, because they seem to be constructed of giant objects from our destroyed world. I mined an island made of giant sushi pieces, for example, and one made of the baubles you hang on Christmas trees.

I saw one island made of a man's horrified face as giant missiles rained down on him. The grim art style does a lot to enhance the sense of foreboding you feel, even when the islands are especially pretty.

Mostly, you just rebuild your own town. The Tomorrow Children is in a persistent online world, so you share your town with other players and all work together to turn it into something beautiful - or not.

A scene from Playstation 4 game The Tomorrow Children.
A scene from Playstation 4 game The Tomorrow Children.

At times, a giant Godzilla-like creature will attack your town, so you have to build defences against it.

The treatment of people as nothing but worker bees is both a clever way of examining the crafting-survival genre of video game, and a ham-fisted commentary on socialism.

But unlike many entries in that mining-and-crafting game genre, there's not much that's enjoyable about working in The Tomorrow Children. Mostly, work is mildly irritating. You never seem to have enough inventory space, you spend forever waiting for things to happen, and after a while you discover very little that's new or exciting.

As entertainment, The Tomorrow Children is dull. As a piece of politically-motivated art, it's ham-fisted at best. I think I'll go back to playing a pomeranian in Tokyo Jungle.

The Tomorrow Children

Platform: PlayStation 4
Rating: Unrated
Verdict: A rare lapse from a great studio

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 29 Sep 2016 20:31:39 Processing Time: 592ms