Balancing Monkey Games invites you to take a break from the day-to-day, and whatever hardships that may bring, for some relaxing world-building amusement. Referred to as Peeps, these human-like inhabitants come forth from the planet’s crust after a previous war leaves it in shambles. From the ground up, it’s time to build a new world and leave for another. Explore new islands, construct communities and thriving ecosystems, and chill out to a beautifully orchestrated soundtrack. Before We Leave lets you control the pace and keep the stress down on this hexagonal shaped experience. For those looking for a break from Demon-slaying and online trash talk, this may be the right fix.
“Peep” Into A New Society
Players new to the genre, will find an elaborate tutorial that takes it’s time introducing and explaining what to do. Start with simple roads and houses. It’s so calming to watch more and more Peeps emerge from the central hub and find things to do as more roles become available. Though the player may feel like the game is on autopilot at first, that feeling isn’t here to stay.
Eventually it will be time to learn how to research new building constructs, and resource farming methods. You’ll then be preparing shipping routes and interplanetary space travel. Though it may take a couple of hours to finish the first planet, the tutorial never feels like a slog. This is in-part due to the clean and nonintrusive interface that Before We Leave utilizes. It’s easy to navigate around to learn and explore.
There really aren’t that many issues to deal with, aside from resource management and infrastructure problems. There is no war, or politics, or famine, or any sense of impending doom when resources are low and and/or not being distributed responsibly. You will, however face the infamous “all buildings must face a road” ordeal that many players and reviewers of the genre are all so quick to point out. A pro-tip is to really focus on where your roads are going first and build the city around it. It’s like comparing London to New York City. You will also need to focus on the travel distance for your peeps to carry resources to and from, as well as other logistics. These issues are manageable and have no lasting outcomes, aside from halting production.
Wait, How Do I Do That Again?
While Before We Leave may give the sense of the game playing itself, there may be a point where the player will start to feel the training wheels being taken off. You will start to realize that more and more minor fixes and research becomes necessary to progress. Once the iron smelting plants, wool fabricators, and school systems are required, the small logistical problems can stack up. It can then become tedious to go back and diagnose what to do. Thankfully, there are online walkthrough videos and forum posts to save the day for literally any game. After such an in-depth learning experience it’s easy to forget some of the tips and necessities learned in the early game. This, of course, can be a completely subjective issue. Other players may easily have no problems planning out and retaining everything, so there’s nothing game-breaking to report.
Sit Back And Relax
What immediately draws attention is the opening theme upon a first boot-up. The music is heartfelt, exciting at times, and overall melancholic throughout. So many stringed instruments and pipes draw a medieval village and contemporary countryside vibe. When playing games with a lot of patience or grinding involved, the soundtrack becomes important to help keep the player immersed. And Before We Leave does just that.
Chill out and listen to the tunes as you watch your Peeps work hard together with the tools they created. Imagine a utopian society as such existing today. You may even look up the OST online to study or read to at the end of the day if you’re too tired for a game (I listened to the OST while writing this review).
Games that are information and infrastructurally heavy may be intimidating, but Before We Leave provides a safe space to learn and make mistakes. It’s a nice little title for those wanting to get into the simulation realm and escape. With some of the best music of it’s genre, players will find comfort in the adorable aesthetics with little major problems to encounter down the road.