Misery in Point and Click format.
You ever have to sit down and listen to a longwinded story from a complete stranger? Not because you wanted to, but some reason or another forces you to endure their endless rambling. You try your best to tune in on the details but only pick up on their awkward overuse of the word “dude” or their out of the blue reciting of suicidal poetry about people in the park. If you answered no, and these are scenarios on your bucketlist of things no one would ever ask for, then Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today can make that happen. This point & click adventure game is set in a post apocalyptic wasteland with kids in peril, a main character with a fuzzy past, mundane problem solving and a mysterious group making people disappear, with the main plot being centered around a diseased group known as “The Dissolved”.
The game opens with the main character, Michael, being awoken by a disembodied voice and finding himself in a horrible new world with no memory to guide him. You’ll wish he just stayed in bed, though, because the two most glaring issues that keep this game from being enjoyable start in soon enough. Within the first few lines of dialogue, the voice acting is noticeably subpar, and other than a select few lines, it hovers between mediocre to purely cringe worthy. The overly specific and drawn out dialogue can be bad enough on its own, but the wooden and robotic acting from the main character to some of the cartoonishly over the top supporting cast doesn’t mesh with the somber tone and serious tale the story is trying to tell. How are you supposed to invest in stories about locations like “Suicide Park” or the concept of “dissolving children” when the cast sounds bored to death? The repetitive use of certain words, phrases and even whole explanations border on hilarious and maddening, The really unfortunate thing about this is that point and click games really need to compel people to want to engage in these conversations, but here it’s mostly a chore, made even worse by the fact the navigation isn’t much fun either.
Before I get into that, though, I will mention that the art style worked much better for the tone they were going for, and the music often did its job, too, usually being just audible enough to give a sense of uneasiness. The game may be dreary more often than not, but the striking character designs and environments still have some standout sections, and the use of vibrant colors in an otherwise bleak palette help elevate some of the more dramatic and violent moments. It doesn’t always work out, as some of the more imagery heavy scenes begin to just feel like a bunch of random stuff thrown at the screen with wordy sci-fi babble narration, giving it a cheesy science class educational video feel.
Now, as I said, the other side of the coin for point and click games is the exploration/puzzle solving aspect, which usually consists of frantically clicking everything on the screen you can interact with. While the game is nice enough to give you an option to put purple dots over points of interest, it doesn’t solve the key issue; which is sluggish walking and very obnoxiously layered quests.
By this, I mean you’re often asked to bring or use a specific item somewhere, often knowing right where to go but being forced to jump through several more hoops that just result in more feet dragging and bland dialogue options. And I use the term options very lightly, since all of it is usually required to push the story along. This essentially boils it down to breaking up the main character’s responses and just waiting to press each one. The only real choice in the matter is which piece of info you hear first. This is basically all that’s done for the 4-5 hours it takes to beat, all leading to a considerably unsatisfying ending.
Normally, the loop of explore, talk, explore, etc. wouldn’t be much of a criticism for a game in this genre, but the fact that the essentials for an enjoyable point and click adventure like engaging dialogue, interesting characters and a world you want to find out more about are poorly executed here. Even with the painfully slow walking, I would have been more motivated to do what was asked if I truly cared about what happened next, or actually wanted to hear what people had to say, but that was hardly the case. If the game was less serious and didn’t have allusions to the holocaust and other emotionally heavy themes, the hokey deliveries and bad dialogue would be a bit more forgivable, but here it just consistently takes you out of the experience. Simply put, for a game that spends so much time on putting the pieces together, it spends more falling apart.