The Tomorrow Children: Phoenix Edition is aptly named, rising from the ashes of the original, short-lived version. While roughly the same game you remember from 2016, this iteration removes the free-to-play structure, introduces new features, and refreshes the experience in a number of other ways. Whether these changes are enough to make the sport shine in 2022 is another question.
See our review of the original Tomorrow Children for more details, but here’s Cliff’s Notes: Collaborating with other players online, your job is to find Matryoshka dolls, revive them in your city and venture into the void to save the remnants of humanity . , and rebuilding society with any resources you collect. While the game had great presentation and the co-op nature of the gameplay was interesting, it ultimately felt too slow, harsh and frustrating. Frankly, all of this is true for the Phoenix version as well, though efforts to smooth things out make it easier to recommend than before.
Improved on-boarding means you’ll understand the basics better, new equipment like grappling hooks and special zero powers make exploring the islands a little easier, and progress is generally a little faster. If touched by enough players, the monoliths on some islands will expand the area, providing even more resources to discover. Playing in backwards compatibility on PS5, it looks good and runs perfectly at 60 frames-per-second. Perhaps the best part is the peer-to-peer online play and even an offline mode, which negates any threat of another server being shut down.
Unfortunately, the game’s issues run a little deeper. Like the 2016 version, the gameplay is harsh, slow, and monotonous, and it’s sometimes unclear how to proceed. Inventory space is an almost constant headache. Building your city is hard work, which is probably done intentionally but isn’t a lot of fun – especially when giant monsters inadvertently roam around and destroy your buildings. Fighting back can seem futile and isn’t particularly satisfying. It’s tough, because its collaborative, general-target nature has great potential, and the Phoenix version actually makes several improvements to the overall experience, but its cold, repetitive core holds it back.