If you remember the controversially loved Maxis game called Spore then you remember a game that was actually quite fun and had a whole galaxy of experience at your finger tips. It was a joy to behold and while the creationists in the world absolutely protested the poor game, it had some support from the late Robin Williams. Mojang’s Minecraft on the other hand is and was the end all be all game for creative freedom and was spurred on by an amazingly successful, if not prolonged development cycle. It allowed many a creator to thrive and blossom and it spurred an very odd and yet functional e-sport series. So what do you do when you combine both into one? Well, you get the new game Birthdays The Beginning a game made by ARC SYSTEM WORKS & TOYBOX Inc. while being published by NIS America; the latter of whom graciously provided us our Steam review code.
Now the game is available for both PC and PS4 machines of choice, we opted for the PC version cause who doesn’t love it when NISA pushes a current release on that sweet, sweet Steam platform. The actual game is pretty simple in its game play, but gives the players total freedom in crafting and shaping their cubed world. The game does have a heigh and lower limit to how far or high the player can shape their world, but the cream of the crop is the actual family tree for the various creatures (bother fauna and flora) that inhabit the cube world you have crafted. The game challenges you to keep pressing that tree of evolution while trying hard to maintain a balanced ecosystem and not killing off too many species.
Think of this as a cubed shaped, cosmic petri dish from which you take your made science and cast down life and hellfire; lots of hellfire. Just remember that to progress you need to properly cultivate your ecosystems and species. Now while we love getting to ability to birth little tiny human communities, the Dinosaurs are what sell this game for us. Close off everything else and just give us those amazing and hulking creatures of legend. It is frankly a childhood dream to be able make a world in which Dinosaurs truly ruled the Earth. Now restricting yourself to just this period in evolution will of course make the game terribly stagnant. Now we have gone on long enough on how much we love birthing life, but how does one truly achieve this.
First you start with your blank canvas and the game does a phenomenal job at giving you a blank template, something to start fresh with. You can opt to play with both keyboard/mouse or controller and we would HIGHLY recommend you use either your Xbox-One controller or PS4 controller if you are jamming over on Steam. The actual controller controls for this title is intuitive and the most comfortable as it is how we opted to spend our time playing this title. The triggers will stack or lower and your D-Pad will control cursor size or item selection. Using items is key to the world generation experience and will often make or break your ecosystem through the use of heating and cooling items. Temperature is key to the survival of species and plants that inhabit your world.
If it is too hot you might just wipe the entire surface ecosystem, leaving in its wake a scorched ecosystem. The same can be said of environments that become to cold for most life to flourish. You spaceman avatar will be the one showing force of godly ability as you spend your days inhabiting this avatar. You aren’t entirely alone, you have your trusty and annoyingly familiar Navi to help guide you in collecting species for adding to a photo album (I.e. species charting) and giving some helpful ecosystem building tips. Once you master most of the basics, this friend of yours really just fades from conscious existence and hardly pops back up.
And once you master the basics, well you are done. There is nothing more beyond what you started out with, aside from a few special items and interactions with these things called, “Humans” That is not saying that there is not any inherent replay value here cause there is. The game presents the same species, but it leaves it to your capable hands to craft a world that speaks uniquely to you. Sure this isn’t everyones idea of a fun filled time and frankly it takes getting used to; at the same time it is just nice to create. Having that game that allows you to mellow out and just have fun can be worth its own weight in gold. That is what I feel lacks from many games these days as they become more engrossed in providing such a visual experience that they lose sight of what is important. Thankfully Birthdays The Beginning keeps that focus and runs with it. The game can be enjoyed for 39.99USD on both the PC and PS4 platforms.