LifeisXbox’s Before We Leave review | After its original release back in 2020 on PC (and consoles later), developers Balancing Monkey Games of Before We Leave finally decided that it was time to expand to yet another platform, the Nintendo Switch. In this game, you build a civilization, let it rise to glory, and in the end expand to other planets to do just the same thing. With past releases spread over different platforms, the game received some positive feedback so I was more than happy when I got the chance to see what they did in this non-violent city builder / RTS.
Most Memorable Moment
I think my most memorable moment was when I first got the chance to go to another planet and start over there. It felt like a good accomplishment. Of course, I had some stressful moments along the way. But they kept me on the edge of my seat and I survived them all.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Non-violent gameplay | Let’s start with a major one, well in my eyes at least. Before We Leave is an RTS where you don’t have to fight or conquer anything. Amazing, isn’t it? Okay so now that’s out of the way let’s go back to the beginning of the game and have a look at what you need to do. In Before We Leave you will control a group of Peeps (that’s the name of the civilization in this game). With these Peeps you will need to start a whole new civilization starting from scratch, so for example you will need to gather some wood and build a hut. Along the way, you will discover new technologies and be able to evolve and build various buildings. But it isn’t that easy. You also need to keep your Peeps happy, because unhappy Peeps aren’t as efficient as happy Peeps. When you have progressed enough you will be able to build a space station and take off into the great unknown, discover a new planet, and start over again. You will even be able to make trade routes between settlements.
- Sound | At first I wanted to combine this part with the graphics section of this review. But since I placed that in the mixed zone and I have definitely no mixed feelings about the sound, I decided it deserved a separate mention! The sound in Before We Leave is actually amazing. It gives a calm and relaxed vibe and it even made me feel calm and relaxed during my playthrough. This feeling got even better when I heard the fantastic sound effects used in the game. From chopping wood to building, it all has a unique sound that matches with the vibe the developers wanted this game to have.
- Design | Before We Leave looks absolutely amazing. The design is fantastic and the unique use of hexagon tiles provided a challenge at the beginning but along the way, I learned to really appreciated them. By looking at the various buildings, you can easily tell what building is what and what is happening on what tile. But gameplay-wise it wasn’t always super handy. Where most RTS and city-building games are flat and you have a clear overview of what is happening, that’s not the case in this game and I struggled a lot with that in the beginning. Especially when there is a lot of thing happening at the same time, I got a little violent in this non-violent game. (Okay that was maybe a bit exaggerated but you get the idea). But again, the graphics in this game are good, very good even, and fit the feeling this game is providing perfectly.
- Relaxing? | I kind of mentioned it already in the previous point but Before We Leave can be quite stressful. Where most of the time the graphics and music and gameplay are relaxed and you actually enjoy playing this game, it can all turn around in just seconds. And then all of the sudden, it is not so relaxing anymore. This in combination with the not-ideal performance on the Switch caused me a lot of stress and made me close the game a couple of times. Okay, yes it is part of the gameplay that bad things happen but sometimes you don’t even have a grip on them, and it’s frustrating.
What we Disliked
- Performance | Playing Before We Leave on the Nintendo Switch was fun but it saddened me to see that the game wasn’t really optimized for it and it felt more like publishers thought `oh we are not on the Switch yet, let’s just port it for that`. The controls were sometimes difficult with the joy-cons and the small text on the Switch screen wasn’t a party either. This in combination with long loading screens took down the whole positive vibe the gameplay gave. I hope they fix this in future updates but I think it is something we will have to deal with. If you can look past it, this is a good game, but know that the performance is lacking.
How long to beat the story | Around 20 hours
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