Kickstarter feels like it’s coming into its own now with crowd funded games starting to get into users hands in decent numbers. It’ll never do away with the publishing model currently used for the majority of titles, but it is helping to get more creatively daring games to market that might not otherwise see the light of day. Dead Synchronicity is one such game that hit its funding target nearly a year ago, and now the first part, Tomorrow Comes Today, is nearing release. Described as a dark point and click adventure, we’ve got our hands on the preview build and spent some time exploring what it has to offer when the full release comes to PC, Mac, iOS and Linux in April this year.
You play as a man called Michael in this uniquely styled, bleak and strange tale where you have no memory of who you are, where you’re from, or what’s going on around you. It’s up to you to explore and unravel the mysteries of this seemingly post-apocalyptic world, and help some of the strangers you meet along the way. Much in the vein of the classic Monkey Island games, this adventure relies heavily on environment interaction and logical thinking to solve the puzzles you’ll encounter, and given the success of the recent addition to the Broken Sword series and Randal’s Monday, not only is there an appetite for this type of game, they have to be high quality too.
The preview build of Dead Synchronicity wasn’t complete in that it was missing voice over work, but the mechanics and intended tone of the game are there. The fact that no characters were voiced might have actually helped embed the sinister feel as my brain filled in blanks on their behalf. You see, there’s something really strange going on in the world, a cataclysmic event has happened that only gets referred to as the “Great Wave” and it’s moved the Earth’s population back to the dark ages. People are becoming sick with an illness that earns them the nickname “the Dissolved” and has them whisked away by the police state authorities, and their nearest and dearest abused or shot if they try to stop it. There’s a huge fissure in the sky that spews forth an ungodly noise, and no one knows why. And then there’s the “slips” where Michael seems to phase out, or tune in to an alternate reality/future/past – what’s going on?!
If you’re expecting a light hearted and zany ride along you’ll be disappointed. Dead Synchronicity tackles some pretty serious and powerful subject matter – state endorsed brutality, forced prostitution, black market dealings, and suicide. To a degree you don’t really notice it because you’re focussed on the challenge of progression laid before you, and on the distinct visuals; it’s only on reflection later that the penny drops and that lightbulb above your head goes “Oh yeah… eww”. The music over the piece sets the mood as well – upbeat but a little disconcerting, and is composed and produced by two of the developers who perform in the band Kovalski. The whole game is coming from a tightly knit team that seem very focussed on what they want to deliver, and are working hard to get their vision across.
With 2 months remaining till release there a few things to iron out for the final version, but the majority of what I’ve seen is interesting and different, and left me with a lot of questions I want answering, as well as making me think a bit deeper than normally about what I’ve been playing. It’s also made me wonder if there’s something here that’s inspired partly by classic point and click adventures, and partly through social commentary on the recent austerity measures in Europe – particularly Spain, where the developers are based. We’ll have to find out in the full game.
Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today, developed by Fictiorama Studios and published by Daedelic Entertainment, will be released on 10th April 2015 for PC, Mac, Linux and iOS, and we’ll bring a full finished game review at that point. A preview code for Steam was provided for the purpose of this article.