- Developer: Arclight Creations
- Publisher: Klabater
- Release date: 21/04/2020
- Price: $19.99
- Review code provided by Klabater
Introducing: Help Will Come Tomorrow Review
One of the things that I hate most is not finding out about the crowdfunding campaign for a game that would be right up my alley until long after the time for pledging has passed. It’s not so much that I wanted to be the one to bring it to people’s attention, but more that I want to support the little guy. I had a habit of actively looking at that kind of stuff when I started college, but given my limited funds at the time, it was better that I stopped. That brings us to today’s game, one that I am sure that I would have backed on premise alone if I had known about it at the time. I actually took a look at the Kickstarter page, and was surprised that this was on the switch at all, since a version on the Nintendo Switch was a $15,000 stretch goal that was unmet. That was until I saw the campaign had raised $14,980.
Help Will Come Tomorrow sees you watching over a quartet of chracters (chosen from a potential pool of 9) who are just trying to survive in the wilderness of Pre-Bolschevik Imperial Russia after their train was attacked and crashed. Oh, and one more thing, it’s snowing, a lot. Each of the four characters that you are overseeing falls into one of three factions, which informs their view of each other and the way in which their situation should be handled. Additionally, despite the fact that these four are your survivors, they aren’t the only ones in the forest. During the first day, gunshots are loud and frequent, so wild animals aren’t the only reason to be cautious.
Each character has their own storylines which can be expanded on by the player through pursuing the topic in the nightly chats that the survivors have around the fire. Everything regards to this is well written and it does give the game a bit more personality than your average survival game, but I did have one problem with it. After selecting a topic, you might also be given the chance to select the way a character responds in the conversation, which I felt weakened things a little. I was giving my input on what I desired for the characters, yes, but I felt it took away from the interaction of the characters and didn’t allow me to get to know them quite as well. Additionally, after a few attempts at surviving, I found myself not being quite as invested in some of the characters. When Maria has shown up in the party a few times in a row, I’m more inclined to pay attention to one of the others instead.
I Suppose I Can Sleep on Pine Needles…
Given the premise, I think it’s pretty obvious that Help Will Come Tomorrow is a survival game, though it is one with a heavy dose of resource management. It’s up to you to make sure that your survivors are fed, warm, and hydrated. This is accomplished by building structures in the camp that will help them to better survive and braving the wilderness in order to find supplies (represented by a hexagonal grid). Each of your characters has a set number of action points that they can use in order to get things done, though some actions take less if you use more than one character to accomplish them. Characters also have a set of unique traits that you will learn as you play that can be helpful or detrimental. These traits are randomized each time you play, though, so even if one of them had a trait that made their hunger go up more quickly than the others, don’t expect them to always have that trait.
There is a risk to everything that you do. If trying to make a makeshift structure instead of a more sturdy one, there’s a chance you may fail, losing precious supplies that you might desperately need. The most dangerous thing to do is exploring, though. Each time that you search an area you run the risk that your exploring party might end up getting lost out there in the wilderness and have to stay away from the camp overnight, keeping whatever they had found to that point away for another day and, if enough people are gone, preventing you from having story progressing conversations around the fire. You might even have your exploration party brush up against those hiding in the forest who derailed the train in the first place and let’s just say getting shot at won’t help your party members much. There’s also the issue of your fire, which is a delicate balance. While you do need to keep your characters warm, the bigger your fire, the more visible to enemies your camp is.
There is a lot of resource balancing in this game already, but given the focus on the relationships and stories of the characters, their relationships are something you have to balance as well. This is represented by three different stats of how a character feels about another and can differ on both sides of the relationship. While what is here is nice, I found it a little odd that the factions didn’t seem to affect anything when you start up a new game. Everyone starts out at about the same level as everyone else no matter what faction they belong to. Given the ideas of class struggle that this game is trying to present, it was a bit of a wasted opportunity for that factor to not affect at least their initial views somewhat.
Can I Really Eat Moss?
Help Will Come Tomorrow is one of those games that it’s pretty easy to tell was built for PC first, with every other version being created off of that. There are a lot of cases where the controls didn’t always work exactly the way that I wanted them to, and sometimes where they are just… odd. For example, in the menu to create structures, you have to use the left stick and the directional buttons to navigate the two different areas of the menu. I found this frustrating enough to get used to, but what threw me off the most is that I navigated the top section with the directional buttons and the bottom area with the left stick. Take a look at your left joy-con and you’ll see why that was hard to wrap my head around at first. It’s not impossible to learn the controls by any means, but I can tell that this game is likely infinitely more comfortable to play with a mouse and keyboard.
The other issue is that a lot of the icons and text are very small. I played this one mostly in handheld, just because it would be hard to read from across the room at times. Even then, this isn’t a game that I could see being comfortable to play in tabletop mode if you wanted to sit back a little from the screen in order to share it with someone else. (The game has no multiplayer, but that’s not saying you and a friend can’t sit and make decisions together.)
In regards to difficulty, I’ve made several attempts at helping my party survive, and have failed each and every time. I was playing on the easiest mode by the way. It might take a few tries for your to wrap your mind around everything, because there is a lot to keep track of, and a string of bad luck can tank a run. I actually managed to essentially lock myself into failure, which was unfortunate. Characters can sometimes go unconscious if certain needs aren’t met or conditions taken care of. When they are like this, nothing can be done for the day unless they are cared for by another character. Well, it was incredibly frustrating that after I screwed up all 4 went unconscious at once. I wasn’t able to bring any up and they all stayed that way, dying over the next two days.
Despite all the issues that crop up in the design of the gameplay, I do have to say that the art direction is very beautiful. Each of the characters have their own unique art which lets you tell them apart at a glance. These have limited animation, but what’s there is enough to get the point cross perfectly. The only place where the design elements falls down is that the text boxes are rather small so there is a lot of scrolling to read things, but the art style and music more than make up for the flaws in this case.
Will Help Come?
I like Help Will Come Tomorrow a lot and I am looking forward to when my party will eventually survive and I can see their stories end. It’s been a wonderful ride so far. However, be warned that this game is currently not showing up in the UK eShop at the moment. When trying to find it by search engine, the page is there, but when you try to go to it the page will not be found. Additionally, searching in the UK eShop on the switch on switch does not yield any results either. It’s unclear if the game was taken down for some reason, but whatever happened, you might have to take a trip stateside to visit me if you want to play.
- Excellent art design
- Engaging management systems
- Good balance of risk and reward
- Wonky and sometimes frustrating controls
- Text and icons and quite small
- Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to salvage a run
VerdictA touching and compelling resource management game with wonderful art is unfortunately held back by messy controls.