Birthdays the Beginning – Review
Follow Genre: Sandbox, simulation
Developer: ARC SYSTEM WORKS, TOYBOX
Publisher: NIS America
Platforms: PC, PS4
Tested on: PS4

Birthdays the Beginning – Review

Site Score
6.8
Good: Great graphics, hours of evolution fun
Bad: Music might get boring rather quick, no decent story
User Score
8.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)

While growing up, you certainly had some lessons about how life evolved from tiny cells to bigger creatures and eventually to dinosaurs and so on. Some games, like Spore for instance, take this evolution as a starting point or some ideas for a game. In ‘Birthdays the Beginning’, you will have a sandbox to evolve in, so get that shovel ready.

Birthdays_the_Beginning title

Story

Evolution on itself has a rich history but that on its own might not be enough to keep you interested. If you are hoping to find some deeper meaning or a detailed narrative in this game, you’re going to be disappointed. At the beginning, you’re reading one of your grandpa’s books when you find a treasure map. As you’re a child, you go on an expedition right away. Upon arriving on the spot, you see a shining bright light, beaconing you to a nearby cavern. After you regain consciousness, you meet a small cube called ‘Navi’ and it seems it has a task at hand which it is not able to fulfill. You will need to help it with your avatar and then you’re able to go but it might not be that easy.

It would have been nice if there was some more details or story added to the game. Yes, evolution is awesome but packs not enough panache to keep you on the game, especially when you’re stuck on a certain level of evolving.

Birthdays the Beginning

Graphics

Realistic images aren’t found in Birthdays the Beginning, but you’re greeted by some cute, fluffy drawings that will make your day brighter in a jiffy. If you thought that you would meet ferocious dinosaurs, you’re quite wrong. Instead, the game throws some fluffballs with teeth at you, making you melt immediately. Expect some rather colorful worlds with lush greenery and crystalclear water.

The overview of the world is a different story, as it is a lot cleaner and industrial-like. This contrast is rather nice, as it really gives you the idea you’re working in a sandbox. On the other hand, it reduces the immersion in the game.

Birthdays the Beginning

Sound

At the beginning of the game, everything is rather quiet as there isn’t much life to fall back on. Although your friend Navi is there, there aren’t any voices to be heard but more technical, Sims-like sounds. Depending on where you are in the evolution, you will hear several cries and moans from the animals that are inhabited in your world.

There is some background music provided as well, although it is rather soothing and doesn’t really stand out. Expect some more classical tones while crafting your perfect world. It would have been nice if there was a bit more diversion, but that’s just something small.

Birthdays the Beginning

Gameplay

Birthdays the Beginning is a sandbox evolution game where you have to recreate the world as we know it from scratch. At the start of the game, you will be guided by Navi. You start with a clean slate and thanks to some changes, life is born. To influence the temperature for instance, you will need to lower or raise the surface by flying around with your avatar and performing some kind of magic. When you create some mountains, the temperature will drop while going below ground level will create more warmth. The oceans or rivers also have their influence on the humidity for instance. If all the right circumstances are met, new life is born. Depending on how you shape the world and if you have the specific elements in place, it is possible to change history. Maybe the dinosaurs weren’t extinct and lived aside humans? Everything is a possibility, as long as you have the right settings.

One of the most important aspects is the ecosystem. Getting something brand new is fun, but you don’t need to forget that a species needs food for it to survive. Just letting everything go with the flow is not a good approach as your world will stagnate or even decline. To be honest, it is good that the game provides a tutorial at the start but it’s not that extensive. You have to find your own way but it might get quite tedious and confusing at the start. If you don’t do it the right way, you will probably have to start over again unless you want to put a lot of work to get back on the right track.

Birthdays the Beginning

At least you will have some items at your disposal. You will be able to help some of your creatures by adding some fertility while others will create clouds for extra humidity. These items can be found by evolving your world. Another perk is that you level up by collecting several species to your encyclopaedia. This means that you will gain more points to spend shaping or to fast forward the world, while you will also be able to shape multiple squares on the field simultaneously.

When you’re in the micro mode, time stands still. You’ll be able to fly around all you want and change everything to your heart’s desire. Going to the macro mode on the other hand will give you the chance to start time and let your alterations sprout to new life. You can also speed up so you can back into the game faster to change some things anew.

Birthdays the Beginning

Next to the story mode, there is also a Dino Challenge and Free Play. As you can imagine, in the Dino Challenge you will need to get to the dinosaurs race as fast as possible. In Free Play, you can choose any setting you want and freewheel on your creations. Also, you can share your work with other players, so don’t be a stranger and spread your world!

Conclusion

Birthdays the Beginning will take you on a trip through history, where you need to evolve species to get to humanity. Of course, depending on the settings, it could be that you make your own history. The world is nicely drawn, providing beautiful animals and sceneries. Music wise, you’ll be treated by some more classical tones, while the ambience will grow if you get more life. In the end, the game provides a lot of hours of fun, but the lack of a decent story might turn you off rather fast.

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Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Birthdays the Beginning - Review, 8.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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