Dead Synchronicity is a classic point-and-click style adventure game. Originally funded by Kickstarter it receives positive reviews on Steam and now makes its way towards Playstation 4. You play as Michael and awake in a post-apocalyptic New World with no memory of who you are, where you are and when you are.
Your first order of business is to get out of the room you are in. The mechanics learned here are present throughout the game – click on objects to interact or examine them to learn more about them. Michael’s inner voice at the start will be intrigued by examining an oven, stating that there looks to be something inside it, whilst interacting with it opens it up and reveals a pot (interacting with that adds the pot lid to your inventory).
As you journey through the game you’ll quickly discover that there is a third level of interacting – be clicking an object after selecting something in your inventory. This adds another dimension to the interaction with the environment but it is also a source of some frustration, particularly if you’re not especially well versed in point-and-click adventure games like me.
Before you’re challenged too much you’ll get to discover (with Michael who is also experiencing this for the first time) what the New World has to offer. Or what it doesn’t to be more accurate. Humans are dying – The Great Wave killed a lot of people, took out all power and sent Earth back to the dark ages. Humans who get sick are basically eliminated – there is little tolerance with a Gestapo-esque force maintaining order. Your first quest begins as you leave the cabin you’re in with the help of a man who rescued you, but after discovering that his son is ill and they’re keeping it a secret – you agree to try to find the medicine to save him.
Along the way you will need to resolve certain situations to progress. Searching through a tramp’s garbage can for resources requires you to distract him, you’ll need to craft bandages to aid yourself, and you’ll need to find a way out of the compound to get towards the bigger city. This is why my frustration peaked as there are some tenuous links between events and some not-so-clear clicking is required to join the dots between puzzles and inventory items, sometimes many screens apart. Adventure game connoisseurs will probably be fine with this but Michael walks very, very slowly and trawling across the various screens on an off-chance was a bit too much.
I really enjoyed the art style. The backgrounds could be dystopian oil paintings. They look fantastic and well suited both to this type of game and the setting. The character art is also good but clashes quite a bit with the backgrounds I think – it’s well animated but angular cartoon-ish. It’s very good, just a bit of a different style to the background although this may very well be part of the charm.
Special mention needs to be given to the voice acting. These games are made or broken based on their personality and character development. The voice work is clean and full of emotion – it sounds like the actors had a lot of fun recording these lines. Michael begins as a bit run-of-the-mill protagonist but quickly gets to vent his range as hallucinations and visions begin, hinting at his past and furthering the mystique of Dead Synchronicity.
Thankfully, for those who want to enjoy that the game has to offer but perhaps succumb to frustration as I did, there is a neat feature whereby holding down a button will reveal all of the interactive objects on any screen. That way you can get to explore everything without aimlessly clicking or have fear of missing anything out. This helped me on a few occasions but never really felt like a huge cheat since you will still need to work out what interacts with what.
This style of adventure game is not available in huge numbers on console. It’s fortunate then that Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is a good one. It’s a hark back to the classic adventure games where it’s a definite change of pace from the instant gratification of today, but some tough puzzles and interesting story hold your interest and make it worth playing.
Reviewed on PS4