The concept of Till Tomorrow is a familiar one; protagonist washes up on a deserted island and attempts to stay alive in a dangerous wilderness. This preview build, available through App Lab, doesn’t show too much of the future content. It seems as though the development team are happy to let you wander around, experiment and explore. However, they also hint, through dialogue, that a loose story will guide players through the future release.
So, for now, it’s worth wandering the island and playing around with the crafting system, in between horrific deaths. I died a few times while attempting to set up camp. The first time was due to dehydration. Of hunger. One of those two, the sections of my watch that inform me of my health were all looking pretty bad right before I croaked.
The second time I died was while chopping down trees; I aimed to use the wood to build a campfire but a venomous spider had other plans. The third time was also due to venom, this time from a snake. It seems that in Till Tomorrow, everything wants to kill you. For my fourth attempt, I chose to start the game on ‘leisure’, which is much like peaceful on Minecraft – no beasties to murder me, but also no need to monitor my vitals (fatigue, health, hunger, thirst).
With imminent danger on hold, I could truly explore the island. As this is a limited experience, there’s not a vast amount to do beyond basic survival. I started out by creating tools; I could use my knife to slice the top off coconuts and guzzle the milk; my axe chopped down trees into useable sticks; the pickaxe allowed for breaking down mysterious gems in a cave.
There’s flora and fauna to examine, harvest and eat – yes, you can eat the snakes – and looking through the crafting manual, there’s plenty to unlock as you earn experience through actions. As a survival playground, Till Tomorrow lets you manipulate plenty of items for a good level of interactivity, but this early look does lack full immersion. For example, swinging an axe at a tree produces a satisfying thunk sound and topples the tree, but it lacks any tactile feedback. Given the level of detail elsewhere, I’m hoping these actions get fleshed out nearer a full release.
On the flip side, there are some great mechanics that give a sense of realism, despite the cartoon aesthetic. When I’d finally built my campfire there was no clear indiction of how to produce fire. Of course, all it took was holding a stone in one hand, flint in the other and crouching by the pile of wood while smacking the two together.
Till Tomorrow is a game I will be keeping my eye on. There is a great deal of potential, not just for crafting and difficulty in surviving, but also in the story. The wrecked ship which sits just off the coast, the mystery of how we’re the only survivor, plus the huge skeleton of a monstrous creature, there’s a good chance this title will strike a great balance between narrative and survival.