The Tomorrow Children

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Tomorrow Children Game Poster Image
Community crafting game has bloodless violence, boring play.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Encourages cooperation. Working together is smartest, quickest way to get things done.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player-controlled projection clones work without complaint for good of town. They make praising, disapproving gestures to show what they think of other clones.

Ease of Play

Figuring out what to do, how to go about doing it takes time, but tasks themselves are pretty easy, intuitive controls.

Violence

Players can use cannons, guns to attack giant lumbering monsters that fall to ground when defeated. No blood, gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Free-to-play game, but players are encouraged to use real money to purchase game currency to make crafting easier, speed access to key tools.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters can consume a drink called Void-Ka to receive attribute enhancements.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Tomorrow Children is a downloadable community-based crafting and village-building game. Players work together -- communicating through simple in-game gestures to signal approval and disapproval -- to create, populate, and defend towns. Combat against giant monsters involves cannons and shotguns, but there's no blood or gore. An alcohol-like beverage called Void-Ka confers beneficial status enhancements if consumed. Note, too, that players will be encouraged to spend real money on in-game currency to speed their progress.

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What's it about?

THE TOMORROW CHILDREN puts players in the shoes of a "projection clone" who inhabits a featureless plane called the Void. The Void was created in an alternate history in which the USSR conducted an experiment that destroyed the world, ruining the surface but merging the minds of all mankind. Projection clones now toil under a communist manifesto for the good of the community, mining virtual materials to craft virtual towns within a virtual domain. Several clones -- each controlled by a different player -- exist within the same town, working together to defend it from roaming monsters as well as construct buildings, monuments, and other objects necessary to complete the settlement. They'll also find Russian nesting dolls which, if brought back to a machine in town, can be transformed into AI citizens who will help look after the village. There's no final objective or means by which to win or beat this game. Players are instead encouraged to move from town to town and contribute to the construction and development of each.

Is it any good?

This game is fascinating and not much fun at the same time. The Tomorrow Children subtly examines Leninist ideals that see the community placed before the individual, and it does so in a bizarre world filled with semi-authentic-looking Soviet videos and propaganda posters. That it takes place in a strange kind of featureless virtual reality populated with doll-like clones and Godzilla-ish monsters only adds to its captivating mystery.

But once you move beyond this eye-catching veneer, there's just not much interesting to get up to. You'll start most sessions by taking a bus out to a dig site where you'll mine a little, and then head back to town to build whatever your town needs, perhaps stopping briefly at a treadmill to run and generate some power for the village or occupy a cannon turret to take pot shots at any monsters lurking nearby. You might get a thumbs up or down from one of your fellow villagers, or you may need to stand behind her in line to use the crafting station. None of this is particularly satisfying or compelling. And without much in the way of identifiable long-term goals -- or the ability to craft anything more than the limited set of objects the game provides -- there's just not much reason to keep playing. For better or worse, The Tomorrow Children is a lot like a real communist regime: Better in theory than in reality.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about online safety. What would you do if a stranger approached you within a game and began asking questions about who or where you are? What would you do if they began insulting you or other players? 

  • Discuss the differences between crafting and creation in games and in the real world. What sorts of steps do games typically include and leave out when they offer players a chance to build or create things? Are these omitted steps fun or satisfying when you're building things in the real world?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 4
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Paid (This is a free-to-play game with in-game transactions. But for the first few weeks after launch players will only be able to play by purchasing the Founders Edition for $20, which comes with a couple thousand Freeman Dollars -- an in-game currency that players must buy with real money.)
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Release date: September 6, 2016
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: T for Use of Alcohol, Violence

For kids who love creating

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