Visit a dark future where humanity has all but been wiped out as you struggle against the odds to make your way back home.
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: KOEX studio
Publisher: KOEX studio
Release date: 15 January, 2020
Horror games, particularly those of the indie variety, are perhaps the most hit-or-miss genre in gaming. Diving into these titles is a mixed bag of twenty underwhelming titles for every shining gem that you find, though those gems often make all of the effort worth it. There Is No Tomorrow breaks out of the mold of this philosophy as it fits neither extreme; it’s not going to establish itself as a classic but it isn’t a waste of space on your drive either, as long as you set your expectations realistically.
Ode To The Classics
Those with experience with the horror classics of the past will quickly identify plenty of There Is No Tomorrow’s inspirations. Many of the monsters remind me of Silent Hill with their appearance, mannerisms, and audio, though throwing in a touch of Dead Space might not be too far off the mark as well. Stealth is important as enemies are strong enough to be a threat if they get their hands on you, though your firearms are extremely powerful for the genre and can off most foes with a single headshot. It’s possible to use a takedown on enemies that you’ve managed to sneak up on, though the animation isn’t all that impressive as it’s only a slight variation on your normal attacks that cracks them in the dome. The stealth mechanics are a nice addition to the classic formula, but there’s nothing particularly new with them that will surprise a semi-regular gamer.
Two aspects of the classics show themselves here that I wish hadn’t, namely checkpoints with too much distance between them and harsh inventory management. Checkpoints can be far enough apart that you lose a significant amount of progress if you die and this is only made worse by actual autosaves only taking place after the completion of a level. This means that you could potentially lose an hour or more of your efforts if you have to shut it down, it crashes, or you suffer a game-breaking bug (more on that later).
There are a few additions that I do enjoy for being less prevalent in the game’s peers though. For one, you can kick the average enemy to push them; it’s good, clean fun to kick a horrid abomination into a bottomless pit “This Is Sparta!” style and it has the effect of preserving your weapons that usually lack any real durability. Listening for enemies is another nice touch, when you do so nearby enemies will highlight in red, revealing their location and giving you a jump on them whether you plan to sneak past or just off them entirely. This helped to preserve my health frequently, though a part of me wonders if this was just put in as a workaround for the lackluster audio design.
There are a number of issues that arose for me as I played There Is No Tomorrow. Right off the bat, there was no controller support which I would’ve greatly preferred, though it seems that it may be implemented soon. The animations are a bit undercooked but not terrible as long as you temper your expectations for what’s on offer here beforehand. There are a few obvious visual glitches that I’m surprised are still present as well, specifically one that causes the corpses of your enemies to jump around when you open and close your inventory.
That said, the greatest sin committed here is the very basic and seemingly incomplete audio. Many things that should make noise don’t and even otherwise tense moments suffer from a disconnect due to this. I watched one monster repeatedly pounding on a door though there was no audio involved in it whatsoever. I feel that the monster, in particular, should make far more noise which would allow you to detect them via audio instead of the ushered in ‘listening’ mechanic. The atmosphere could benefit from some serious improvement as well, even if it’s something as small as a looping background track that changes based on the level. There is a complete lack of voice acting in the game, though this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem other than the fact that the writing has spelling and grammatical errors to spare that tarnish the otherwise decent narrative.
There Is No Tomorrow is an ambitious and impressive achievement for a single developer but it consistently feels like it’s still under development. From its basic visuals and audio to its occasionally buggy nature, I can’t recommend it over the other excellent horror titles that are out there waiting to be played. However, it isn’t a terrible game, even if it has its problems. If you’re the type that likes to dive in with both feet and surprise yourself with indie horror, you could do much worse than this one. I will say that I hope that KOEX studio has learned from the experience as I could see future games being excellent if they continue to build on what I’ve seen here.