Release Date: 10 April 2015
Developer: Fictiorama Studios
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Where to get it: Steam, Here
Price: £14.99 (Steam)
for the late post this week. Today's another look at the work I did
while at Pixel Judge and was the game I reviewed before Guns, Gore &
Cannoli, and Solarix which I posted a couple of weeks prior. Three
terrible games at the start of a new job and I was very much worried
about the fourth. Thankfully a bunch of quality games came along not
long after and you'll get to see those reviews in the coming weeks. For
now, enjoy another brief glimpse into my pain while I subjected myself
to the horrors of a bad point and click adventure for the sake of honest
usual, the images used in the review have been lost time time and bad
record keeping, got to have space to install all those games! Enjoy the
wall of text!)
Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is the product of a small indie
team and a pile of Kickstarter cash. It has a lot to live up to against
classic point and click adventures and the recent Telltale re-imagining
of the genre, so lets take a LOOK AT GAME and see how well Dead Sync
holds up to scrutiny.
The most striking aspect of Dead Sync, visible from the moment you boot
up the game is the art style, kind of a mix between cel-shaded and
faux-paper cut outs that manage to make every single character look flat
and uninteresting. The backgrounds meanwhile are beautifully painted
and detailed; they manage to convey the nature of the world better than
any Fallout texture or dimly lit ruin but stand in contrast to the
characters themselves who look massively out of place.
introduction sequence does little to endear the game to you, with a
voice repeating “wake up” while the main character makes Solid Snake
level comments against a black background. Thankfully the voice over can
be skipped in favour of reading the text displayed on screen but it's
not a good sign for a story heavy game when you're hitting the skip
button within the first five minutes. This tone carries on throughout
the introduction; once awake Michael has a talk with Rod, ostensibly to
set up Michael's motives and nudge you in the right direction but
actually to give you more practice in skipping dialogue as Rod comes
back not once but twice after saying he's leaving to provide more badly
later he means as soon as that line is over.
Near the beginning of the game, many of the characters you meet are just
as grating, with each having a little tic that feels engineered to
annoy; The Hunter's out of place “dude”, the homeless man's spitting,
the little boys whispering etc.
Characters feel very one-note, not entirely uncommon for the genre but
poorly disguised in Dead Sync, if you don't provide them with the
solution necessary to progress their dialogue feels less like
personality and more like a ham-fisted hint system. Sadly, experiencing
the rest of the game might be more than a chore – two game breaking bugs
had me restart the whole thing three times. I actually wrote a macro
for my mouse to just automatically rapidly click through the entire
intro because I got fed up of hearing it. When not broken however the
gameplay is pretty easygoing. Holding the space bar will highlight any
points of interest on screen and double clicking an area transition
allows you to instantly move to the next area without having to sit
through a walk animation, this alone feels like the best innovation
brought to the genre since the SCUMM engine.
wife appears to be a clone of him.
The story meanwhile focuses on clichéd amnesiac Michael and the state of
the world after the Great Wave, an event that decimated civilization
(or did it?) and heralded the arrival of “blankheads” i.e. severe
amnesia and the “dissolved” a disease that makes people's skin melt. All
of these concepts are thrown at you with little to no explanation
initially but talking to people around the refugee camp can yield some
answers, and this being a point and click game means you're probably
going to ask everyone everything whether you want to or not.Without
spoiling too much, Michael escapes the refugee camp on a quest to learn
the truth about himself and the Great Wave while gathering various
mcguffins either to rub against other mcguffins or for plot purposes. To
be fair, you do bare witness to a couple of fairly disturbing scenes
along the way but their effect is lessened by the bad voice acting and
character art style that makes the violence in South Park look
you'll ask yourself constantly.
Redeeming Fictiorama is their wonderful musical score. Alternating
between low droning and plinking organ sounds conveys the dull,
oppressive atmosphere and constant danger better than the gameplay ever
can. It isn't a bad listen outside of the game either, managing to be
pleasing out of context and perhaps all the better for it.
Dead Sync is a victim of its own success, or lack thereof. With better
funding and better talent the game might have become a stand-out for the
genre thanks to dealing with some serious themes while remaining easy
to play. Sadly hammy voice-overs, dragging conversations and characters
that are aesthetically displeasing are all sticking points preventing
the game from achieving even mediocrity.
+Atmosphere: The background art is lovely and grimy, single-handedly propping up the dingy atmosphere.
+Sound: The musical score is short but sweet.
Indie: It's a game from a normal indie studio funded by the fans.
It exists: It's a thing and it's real.
-It exists: It's a thing and it's real, sadly.
-Boring: The biggest sin for a game, it's not engaging.
Score: 1.5/5 “Go play Monkey Island instead.”