The Tomorrow Children got a lot of attention at E3 last year due to its interesting gameplay-focus on players interacting and working together, but it was the art style which really garnered attention. The strikingly harsh Soviet Union-themed aesthetics are about as far away from the likes of Minecraft you could get, but this is still a game about building. Unlike Minecraft, you’ll must be a good, little Soviet worker and obey the social economic rules of the game before you go mining to the center of the earth.
We got some hands-on time with The Tomorrow Children’s closed beta, which began a young woman who appeared to be a citizen of the Soviet dystopia of the game’s setting. An endless open void was all that surrounded her, save for a small screen ahead. Upon interacting with the screen, a sinister looking man instructed us to go and explore a strange, cube-shaped structure that rises out of the ground. Given the leader’s creepy look, and the fact he constantly gives you commands, it’s safe to say he is the ultimate ruler of this dystopia.
Once you’ve equipped the pickaxe, you can then make your way to the cube-like cave. A bit of exploration will soon yield you a lamp, which is used to guide your way through the dark until you come upon some veins of ore deeper in the cave. Your mined ore can be stored in your backpack, and then you’ll exit the cave and deliver the resources you’ve found.
It’s worth noting that it seems spending too much time in the darkness will cause your character to die, and so you must always make sure you have a lamp with you. Other sources of light can also be found, including some glowing mushroom-type plants you can pick up and carry along with you.
Upon delivering your ore in the designated spot, you can then take the subway into town. Towns are an interesting aspect of The Tomorrow Children. From the looks of things, each town is governed by the players who reside there. To become a resident of a town, you need to build your own house, which in turn requires you to have earned a residence permit. It seems a permit is earned once you’ve gathered enough resources for your creepy leader. For the sake of the beta, you’re given a permit from the get-go.
The catch with towns is that only so many people can live in each one. The first town you enter could be full, so you may need to travel to several more towns before finding one that has space for a new member. Each town has a different name, but it was disappointing to find they all looked very similar. It’s possible that towns will evolve and grow as more players contribute to them, but during the beta they were mostly interchangeable.
Upon finding a nice spot and activating your permit, your house comes tearing up from the ground. On the outside, the residence appears to be identical to everyone else’s, and you can’t actually go in and explore it. Entering your home only brings up a screen which allows you to mange certain things like the clothes you wear.
After building a crib, players can explore the town. Every town was very small and consisted of only a few main buildings. (Again, this may change once more people are around to contribute to building.) Each town seemed to be in the middle of nothing save for large creatures that can be seen in the distance. Stray too far from the safety of your town, and you’ll start to get swallowed by quicksand. All in all, trying to strike out on your own doesn’t seem like a life-friendly approach.