You Say You Want A Revolution?
Help Will Come Tomorrow is a survival game set against the backdrop of Tsar Alexander II’s 1917 abdication – You know, like so many other video games these days. This game was Kickstarted by the Warsaw studio: Klabater. The premise is: Your Trans-Siberian train is stopped in the middle of a tundra by rebels and you are forced you to survive in the harsh Russian wilderness. Klabater seems to like creating with innovative pitches which is a joy to see. On top of that, the history is accurate, if not streamlined at times (understandably so).
You manage four survivors from different backgrounds.
This is where the game adds some extra tension. This game has similarities to unfortunate situational, survival games like This War Of Mine or God Will Be Watching, meaning that you have to spin a lot of plates to try and keep everyone alive.
What this game does differently, however, is that it adds scores to each and every relationship in the camp. There are 9 characters in total, with unique reasons why they were on the train, and plenty of reasons why they may hate each other’s guts. Each character is either from the near-obsolete aristocracy, revolutionary Bolsheviks or the “I’m-just-trying-to-survive-and-would-rather-stay-out-of-this” neutrals.
Their background affects how they view others and ultimately how much they trust one another. Your actions and choices resonate with the other survivors. You better do an action sufficiently, otherwise people will dislike you. If you make two people who hate each other work together, it majorly affects group morale.
It’s a clever design that offers an element of choice.
Often your hand is tied and you forced into a hard choice, for survivals stake. It’s frustrating to get the balance right, but that is the major part of the gameplay. It’s annoying that you are limited by what your resources, so you may have which may make your decision for you. Towards the end of my playthrough, I had to make some incredibly brutal decisions for the good of the camp (although most campers were totally nonchalant about the decision).
The characters are initially hostile to each other which is slightly annoying. You are always kind of wishing for “Please just grow up” button and it is jarring why people who are reliant on each other are going out of their way to be rude to one another.
Eventually, you may get to the point where they enjoy working together, and it actually very satisfying. The game rewards long-term strategies and punishes spontaneous decisions. Did you send out a man alone to the wilderness without equipment? Well, you’re either going to get shot, get lost or get bees in your face.
The game binds these people.
From different classes and world view, to work together in a classless society. The message is really brilliant and nuanced enough to make it resonate. It shows you that people are more than their history or their label, and when all is stripped down, you have to help your fellow man. The message is endearing, until you start failing; as your middle-aged revolutionary threatens an old aristocratic lady for not getting enough berries that day. Even in failure, the message is still reinforced.
The narrative is told in an organic way, which is to exchange life stories over the evening campfire, but only if you select the right options. You get two opportunities every night to strike up a conversation. This could be to investigate a new place, to discuss clashing ideologies, or delve into someone’s past. It offers a really innovate way of storytelling, but the pacing suffers. Consequently, if you are bad at the game and you won’t be able to retrieve certain people’s story (on the account of their untimely death), but that is the price of the game.
It’s massively maddening when you fail, and you will fail.
It’s unfair at times, but equally it does reflect the harsh nature of the situation. It takes a while to get used to how the game operates, and even then you don’t leave unscathed.
The artwork is simple but really is effective; It looks good, and does the job nicely. There are some minor textual issues in the game: some words are misspelt or are obscured. These aren’t major sins, but they do add inconvenience to the game. I am willing to overlook these mistakes, but the communication in the game is through the textual medium, so there is a lot of extra polish than could have been added. It makes it harder to engage with the compelling stories of the individuals.
Are they compelling stories though?
I’m not sure how invested I was in the character’s backstories; I was more concerned about keeping them alive. I would fight for their lives, but I find myself skimming the monotonous paragraphs after a while. I didn’t find them that interesting.
I like the concept of this game, but I often find that these type of games are bleak. As a result, I’m not sure how much I will come back to this Help Will Come Tomorrow. It’s an addicting experience and felt very engaged throughout, but it’s just not wholly entertaining. This goes for a lot of survival games. Yet, I appreciate games aren’t exclusively to entertain, and as a piece of art is was great. I enjoyed my time with, but I don’t think I would rush back. With that being said, if survival games are something you love, this game offers a lot of replay value.
This game is a great addition to the survival game genre. It highlights ambitious storytelling and characters, but it occasionally lacks momentum in some areas to keep you fully immersed. If you like resource management with a lovely, historic landscape, then this game will be perfect for you.
Review code provided
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 21/04/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Strategy
Developer: Arclight Creations
Download link: eShop