Happy Birthdays – Review
Follow Genre: Sandbox, God
Developer: Arc System Works, Toybox Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
Plarform: PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Tested on: Nintendo Switch

Happy Birthdays – Review

Site Score
Good: Realy cute style
Bad: requires you to wait a bit sometimes
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

NIS America already has a whole bunch of awesome games and a while ago they also released a new original game called Birthdays the Beginning. This game’s idea came from Yasuhiro Wada and he made it a reality together with Arc System Works. Now not too long ago a Nintendo Switch version was released under a different name: Happy Birthdays. We got a chance to test this version of the adorable god game. Happy Birthdays was developed by Arc System Works and Toybox Inc. and published by NIS America. So with our trusty Joy-Con controllers in hand, we were ready to create new life.


The story is told a bit weirdly and the main character doesn’t have a name to make it seem like you are the one in the story. For as long as you can remember you’ve loved books and sometimes you would borrow books from your grandfather. One day, between the pages of a book, you find a map with a red cross on it. Your inner child immediately thinks “treasure map”. The area on the map you recognize as the area around your location. So you decide to go and find out what the red cross represents.

After walking for a while you think that you must have reached the place of the red cross when all of a sudden a weird light appears. This light is extremely hypnotizing and it makes you follow it like you were a puppet. Following this light, you arrive at a cave entrance. Once you follow the light inside you seem to lose consciousness. When you wake up you see a huge cube and also a smaller one along with a creature you don’t recognize. You then learn that the small cube is a being that is called Navi. The strange creature is your avatar. Navi then explains that it needs help. It is its job to birth life on worlds like the cube. However, something seems wrong and it isn’t able to do anything on its own. So it called you here to help.


Happy Birthdays has a really adorable cartoon art style. The small story part of the game before you meet Navi has a completely different style. This art style is a beautiful storybook art style. You only see this art style again when you try to get to your own world. Whenever you’re working with the Navi you see the cuter cartoon style. The animals are really well designed and even though they are more “cutesy” they still stay true to the original animal it is based on. Inanimate objects are smoothly designed and although they don’t appear as cute, they are still in the same cartoon art style.  The cube itself has blocks in different kind of textures. These blocks sometimes change texture depending on humidity. Besides the cube, you also have a beautiful starry sky as background.


Music in Happy Birthdays is relaxing and calming. The soundtrack is always a bit more on the background as there are a lot of sound effects present. Every animal has a sound effect that you hear as you come close to it. Waterfalls make a falling water sound which sounds louder as you’re closer to the waterfall. Moving terrain also makes a sound effect as well as flying around. However, the music doesn’t really suffer as it fits in with the playstyle of the game. You’re often just checking out your animals so it’s nice and relaxing then. If the music was too overpowered, it would have probably clashed with the sound effects.  There is no voice acting present in the game as speaking is only done by Navi and this represented by sound effects instead of a voice.


Happy Birthdays is a Sandbox, God Game where you try to create life on a cube world and in the end create a more advanced human civilization. Before you start the game you get the choice of which kind of world you want to start with. The recommended starting world is a green plains world, where some animals are already present. As you start the game Navi nicely explains the basic controls and as you unlock more things it explains them as well. If you get stuck in the game because you can’t remember what to do you can ask Navi or search in the menu for a more detailed explanation.

To make life on the cube world you need to keep an eye on three things: temperature, terrain, and propagation or extinction of already existing organisms. The terrain in your cube world can be either raised or lowered. Raising terrain will decrease the temperature and lowering will increase it. The more sea you have the warmer your little cube world will get. Some organisms thrive in warm temperatures while others prefer a bit colder. Once the temperature reaches the right degree it will help organisms be born. Besides temperature and terrain, you will also need a previous organism to adapt to a new environment or to be mutated to create new organisms. The starting organism is plankton.  Each organism has a different set of conditions that need to be met before it can be birthed. These conditions can be checked by looking at the inspection window and searching for a specific organism. However, the organisms follow a nice family tree so you can’t just jump over an organism you would always need the previous organism on the branch to create the new one. Sometimes quite sadly one organism needs to go extinct before a new can be born. Mostly it is because new organisms need a lower temperature that the previous one can’t survive in.

While playing the game you have two modes you can view the world from Micro Mode and Macro Mode. In Micro Mode, you can look closer at your organisms and you are actually present on the world. Macro Mode gives you more of a space view of your world. In Macro Mode you can start the time and reload your HP, that you need to perform actions. Starting the time lets organisms evolve and be born while also letting you keep an eye on how your organisms are doing and what the temperature and moisture levels are. You can either normally start time which refills your HP bar or fast forward which decreases your HP. Sometimes you have to wait a bit before you have enough organisms to be born so new ones can also become born.

While in Micro Mode you can raise or lower terrain but this decreases your HP so if you do it too much you will need to reload by starting the time in Macro Mode. As you start out your cursor will only be one block so you would only be able to raise or lower one block at the time. Your starting HP is also not very high. So at the start, you will need to reload quite a lot. Luckily as you level up you are able to increase your cursor. Raising or lowering terrain quickly can sometimes be a bit tricky depending on where you position the camera.

Capturing new organisms is also a must in Micro Mode as this adds them to the library fully and also gives you stars. Stars are used for skills that help you create new life. When you go from Macro Mode to Micro Mode it always puts you at the same spot. It might have been nicer to start off where you last were in Micro Mode. In Micro Mode, you can also change into Viewing Mode which allows you to look at the life in your world without lowering or raising terrain. A nice extra of Viewing Mode is that you can see where stars and uncaptured organisms are located without the clutter of the other organisms.  Looking at the creatures you helped create up close is quite satisfying.


Happy Birthdays is a really fun game that can be a bit slow at times but is immensely satisfying when you see new organisms being born. The game might not be a 100% correct on how organisms were born but it is still pretty educational. Different playstyles will also unlock different creatures as you yourself make the terrain and change the temperature. So not every player will unlock the same creatures. Happy Birthdays is definitely a game that people of all ages can enjoy. So if you want a game where you can relax and give birth to awesome organisms (including dinosaurs) then definitely give Happy Birthdays a try.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Happy Birthdays - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

The one and only slowqueen! -student multimedia-

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