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Before We Leave

Posted by GG Goblin On May - 27 - 2020

A beautiful colony-builder that doesn’t stay on the ground.

 
Before We Leave is a poignant title that may suggest to gamers something involving righting wrongs and saying goodbyes to loved ones in an emotional way. However, Balancing Monkey Games’ Before We Leave, which launched recently on the Epic Games Store, is actually a colony building game. It may be somewhat unexpected, but the relaxed pace and beautiful visuals can still offer the sort of emotional resonance that explains the title.

 


 
Before We Leave is a post-apocalyptic colony builder, but not the sort of post-apocalypse that players would be used to. In the face of the offending apocalypse, the Human inhabitants of the starting planet moved underground. While they were gone, the planet has obviously recovered, leaving a beautiful, lush landscape with the occasional relic from the past. It is this planet that the underground survivors, known as Peeps, emerge and start the long job of rebuilding society. The biggest problem is that their time underground has resulted in them forgetting all but the most simple requirements for colony creation, and so they must learn as they build.

 
With a few Peeps coming out of the ground, the player must first guide them to build some shelter and start sorting out sources of food and water. Genre veterans will know straight away what to do, but a fairly robust tutorial will ensure that anyone can pick up and start playing the game. The world is presented as hexagonal tiles that are linked together, and as most buildings needs to be placed next to a road, many of these tiles will end up being turned into roads. The player can only see the tiles that have been explored, but it will not take long to uncover the entirety of the starting island. This limited space means that placing buildings and roads will take some consideration as the colony grows and expands.

 
Research will lead to new buildings and new technologies as the player progresses, many requiring the remnants of the previous civilization. There is a laid back pace to Before We Leave that will lead to a much more relaxed game than many fans of the genre would expect. As the player continues to make the best use of the tiles for placing buildings or roads, and expands across the island, they will eventually be able to repair a boat found on the coast and then head off to explore the rest of the planet.

 


 
This is perhaps where the games visuals really start to shine. Before We Leave is a beautiful game which is rich in colour and really enjoyable to look at. However, once the player sets sail to explore, the true beauty of the planet is revealed, with tiles being placed as they are discovered, and the sun creating some truly incredible sights. The fact that it all runs so smoothly only makes it all even more impressive.

 
Quite quickly, the player will find another island to colonise, and then starts the process of expanding and researching again. While resources can be shipped over from the starting island, which will continue to tick over and still need input from the player, the new colony is starting again, albeit with access to researched buildings. New resources will give access to new buildings and so the journey continues.

 
But it doesn’t stop there. The whole planet is available to explore, and more colonies can be started. However, eventually the player will research the ability to leave the planet altogether, taking to the stars and colonizing completely new planets. While the core gameplay will remain the same upon reaching new planets, and the player will still have to check in with the original settlements as they set up shop in the stars, there is at least one special new element to take into account, but I will not spoil that surprise for potential players.

 
The biggest problem that Before We Leave faces is the lack of complexity. The game is very relaxed and player who are used to much more complex colony builders could find it a little boring. There is no real sense of threat for the player, with the worst that can happen being that their colony comes to a stand still due to poorly managed resources. For the newcomers, Before We Leave is very accessible and easy to enjoy. There may be some points in the later game where new players could get a little lost and struggle to know what to do next, but generally the game is easy to understand and play.

 


 
Before We Leave is the cosy afternoon of colony builders. The beautiful visuals and calm gameplay make for a really enjoyable experience that will take the player to the stars. Veteran players may find the risk-free gameplay a little too laid back, but for a peaceful colony building experience, bringing Peeps back to the world, Before We Leave would be a great choice.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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