It’s happened to the best of us. One minute you’re minding your own business, the next you wake up in the middle of an apocalypse. Let’s hope you’ve got some smelling salts and your favourite teddy bear because it’s bound to be a bit of a shock. But at least unfortunates such as Rick Grimes and that Peaky Blinders bloke from 28 Days Later could remember their lives before it all went down the u-bend. Poor Michael remembers absolutely zip. Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is a point-and-click adventure about a man who wakes up in the aftermath of a global tragedy – the Great Wave. A rip in the sky, a huge explosion and a deadly disease has turned sweet old planet earth into a cess pit of death, violence and poverty.
The games starts in what passes for a refugee camp where Michael meets his first friend, and from here he begins a journey to find out what really happened to the world and to take back his identity. In the tradition of all good point-and-click adventure, you point, click and stuff happens. If you were or are a fan of these sorts of games on PC and do sometimes worry about how they translate onto console, you’re going to be backside-over-boob ecstatic to learn that Dead Synchronicity’s control system is pretty much pin-the-tail-on-the-ass spot on. You can wave the cursor about with the left stick or, with added efficiency, you can use the D-pad to snap the cursor to any objects of interest. Snapping the cursor certainly beats putting yourself through any tedious cursor “sailing” from one end of the screen to the other. The inventory can be opened in a similar manner and if you don’t feel like waggling your cursor all over with hopeful and clueless optimism, the back trigger buttons highlight anything worth taking a closer look at.
Just like in the days of yore (also known as yesteryear, olden times and let’s change disks every four minutes), you progress by collecting items and using them to solve puzzles. This usually involves trying to obtain items to give to a character in order to get another item which helps with the next character, and so on. Sometimes in these types of games this style of puzzling can be somewhat random and bizarre, but while Dead Synchronicity certainly has its whacky moments, there is a lot of logic at play, which makes the puzzle-solving extremely enjoyable. You get genuine pleasure from your eureka moments rather than a big sigh of relief when you finally combine banana with magician’s hat and use on dead Jack Russell.
The dialogue is multiple choice, but generally speaking you’ll end up having to exhaust all options before moving on. Again the D-pad snaps the cursor straight to the dialogue options, making this process as quick and streamlined as a PC. The voice acting comes across as a little bit cheesy at first, but I suspect it’s deliberate. It seems to fit the dialogue well and stays in-keeping with the game’s old school feel. Despite not being a comedy, you can definitely feel the influence of games such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle.
Dead Synchronicity is not a kids’ game. The subject matter, scenes and language is absolutely not for miniature people. It’s very much an adult storyline so don’t be deceived by the cartoonish graphics. Just wait until you both step inside the local park and meet Rose and you’ll see what I mean. The game’s plot is in equal parts both mysterious and disturbing. It’s one of the best examples of story-telling I’ve seen in a point-and-click for some time. It’s well-paced with a good balance of in-game exposition and cut scenes. The only thing that lets it down is the very abrupt ending. After some extensive research (forty-five seconds of Googling) I realised this game was originally released as part one of an episodic series, which explains a lot. I’ve not seen any sign of the next part, but I do hope it does well enough to pay for one, because I would happily gouge out eyes and trample old ladies for a part two.
I would estimate you need at least ten hours to complete the game, more if you get really jammed on some of the puzzles, but during this time the storytelling does a great job of keeping itself relevant, not revealing too much and ensuring boredom never sets in. There are twenty five trophies to collect including a Platinum and most of them are completely missable and are earned by doing weird things with your inventory. The game rewards you for trying bizarre actions and getting it completely wrong. If you can swallow a few spoilers, there are some good trophy guides around, and if you follow them carefully, the Platinum will plop straight into your hands with one playthrough.
Excellent mechanics, bold and crisp graphics, logical puzzles that are challenging but not completely round the bend, there’s not much to complain about. Add to all this a chilling and brutal story, Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today becomes one of the best point-and-click-adventures on the PS4, even despite its rather abrupt end.
S J Hollis Rating – 8/10
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