When it comes to Point and Click adventures, our collective mind can’t help but go back to the days of Monkey Island and, a few years later, Myst. Hordes of players would sit by their computers and consoles, armed with patience, a pen, and a notebook and spend hours upon hours trying to solve the riddles and challenges that those titles had to offer. Coming back to the present, Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today aims at giving both veterans of the genre and newcomers the same level of challenge, in a dark and gloomy post-apocalyptic environment.
Developed by two Spanish brothers known as Fictiorama Studios and published by Daedalic Entertainment, Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is a 2.5D Point and Click Adventure title set in an unknown post-apocalyptic city that revolves around the character of Michael, a man with no memories of his past. After waking up in a trailer, Michael discovers that the world as he knew it was wiped out by a phenomenon the people refer to as the “Great Wave.” In a world that is now hostile to him and where all commodities, principles and ideals he followed went up in smoke, Michael sets off on a journey to discover the truth about his past, understand his present and change his future.
Dead Synchronicity retains most of the typical characteristics of the Point and Click genre, with a few innovative changes. Players control the main character, Michael, by clicking on the portion of the screen they wish the man to move to. Once the player comes across an object that can be manipulated or interacted with, they can decide whether to pick it up or examine it closely by clicking the corresponding mouse button. While the latter option will have Michael commenting on the item, the former introduces the inventory system, one of Dead Synchronicity’s most important and useful features.
Michael can carry a variety of items in his pockets, which can be combined and used to solve the puzzles or interact with the other inhabitants of the New World. Items can be collected, examined and traded with NPCs in order to progress through the story. Among the items found in the players’ inventory, an old notebook plays an important role in the game, as Michael will automatically write down any important details and observations he will come across during his journey. Interacting with other people might bring up special dialogue options and allow Michael to discover more details about the world and himself.
The art style featured in Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today leaves no doubt on the effects the Great Wave had on cities, spaces and on humanity as a whole. Each detail and graphical design choice is put in place to induce a sense of anxiety, and highlight the frailty of human existence in this hostile environment, two feelings that will accompany the players throughout the game. It is not uncommon to walk through collapsed buildings, destroyed cities and blood-stained neighborhoods where people who have lost all hope simply loiter around waiting for things to change or for their final moments to pass as they slowly die, but the choice of colors and drawing style deliver an environment where forms are no longer defined but presented as oblong shadows and husks of their former selves.
Further reinforcing these feelings, Dead Synchronicity features a dynamic and beautifully crafted soundtrack that includes more relaxed jazz pieces along with intense tracks aimed at keeping the players on edge. This mix delivers an immersive gameplay experience, which is sure to keep players hungry for more. The game also includes a fairly decent voice-over for all dialogues, which eliminates the need of reading long chunks of text, which might keep some players away.
As with any story-based adventures, one of the focal points of this title is the narration and its overall quality. Fictiorama Studios delivers a well-written plot that makes good use of an overly-exploited theme such as post-apocalyptic life, and manages to make the game enjoyable, albeit not offering any kind of innovation. Tropes such as increased violence, lack of an established order or an organized form of government are still present in Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today, but are presented alongside more sensitive and adult-oriented topics. Mental illness, exploitation of the weakest strata of the population, suicide, sexual violence, and religious fanaticism are only a handful of the topics that can be found in this title, and are discussed in an enthralling yet relatively neutral way, just like the studio has done with its previous creations.
Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today indubitably is a good title, which lives up to the promises the studio made to this project’s Kickstarter backers. Narration, visuals and sound assets, as well as solid gameplay come together to create an enjoyable title that keeps players glued to their chairs and hungry for more, while they slowly slip into Michael’s clothes and get used to the New World. The game has some minor problems that won’t affect gameplay, but might result annoying to some players. Among the others, the most important is the fact that, although the game offers branching dialogues with NPCs, progressions seems to be linear at times, and it is almost always clear which items to look for in order to unlock the next segment of the story. The game will still retain its level of challenge, as no hints as to how the specific items can be acquired will be shared with the player. That said, Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is a solid, well-developed Point and Click Adventure game that is well worth your time and money, and that also has all the right tools to become a classic.
Original Author: Alessandro Cossidente