Thursday, 08 June 2017 09:14

REVIEW: Birthdays the Beginning (Playstation 4)

Written by Brett Hale
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At first glance it appears to be directed to a younger audience, but it’s not the case in my opinion. It’s developed by Toybox, and published by NIS America and only available on PlayStation 4 and Windows.

This game is as if it was baking a cake, add a little Minecraft, a dash of cities, a dab of megalomania... It lacks a story, there is a tiny prologue that you’ll read prior to starting the game, but it makes just as much sense if I was to read it backwards.

“There’s lots of stuff I don’t know.
The stuff that everyone knows is just a small piece of this mysterious world.
I entered the cave deep in the forest, as if invited by the light, and I saw a giant stone cube floating before me. Next to it floated a small stone cube-like object, and a creature I had never seen before”

Then the game begins. It’s quite an odd start but that’s how it was.

btb1

its focus is to replicate the world we live in. First you must create a landscape/terrain, then the evolution of the Dinosaurs will begin, but it’s a long while before it kicks off you’ll eventually make it all the way to human civilization. Aliens even make it into the game. It lacks actual characters, there is an avatar spacesuit looking character that you can happily name & there is also a being which acts as an advisor called Navi. But those two are pretty much it.

First thing’s first, this game is far more complicated than I first anticipated. Tutorials are there to guide players on what to do and how things work. However, Birthdays the Beginning’s is a mess. Nothing is ever said in a clear way that is easy to understand. I can only imagine younger gamers trying to wrap their heads around it if I had trouble understanding it. It’s as if they put way too much content in and didn’t figure a way to ease players into it. If the purpose was to educate gamers, then they failed to do that.

Creating life should be something fun, but it’s more work than it’s worth in the end. There are no interactions with other players, it’s solely single player only. It is a shame they couldn’t have included a second player option. What you can create isn’t limitless, but it’s not far from it. You can build anything from mountains, waterfalls, rivers, plains and even big seas. Now when it comes to having your terrains high or low will also change the temperature, the higher you make a part of your terrain the colder that section becomes, the lower and the warmer it’ll go and this is key for growing organisms.

btb2

I don’t want to burst you’re bubble but you can not only create but you can also bring extinction into the game. You can even freeze time or fast forward the time of your worlds. The game does seem to take its sweet time on moving into the “good parts” of the game... The start I found boring and I didn’t know if this was a game I could honestly play for more than a few hours without growing tired of the gameplay. Sizes of worlds start at 31x31,63x63 and the biggest being 127x127. The start menu has a lot involved. Avatar stats, a more in depth look into your cube stats, a library of your discoveries, control and other game options also.

You may be the “God” of the game, but the game is heavily evolution based. I made a world for a good while totally forgetting to see if the game had auto save before exiting the game, thus losing my world I spent a long time creating, only having to do the BS tutorial all over again.

btb3

What’s a creation game without an overcrowded HUD. You’ll be able to see your day cycle number, and play time. All factors of your cube and your avatar level and HP, next to that is your items that can be placed in your cube world. Character animations or even the world didn’t impress me. There isn’t much on the gameplay that I could say I truly enjoyed, and visuals were a downer, as well as the sound for the game were nothing to praise.

Birthday the beginnings tried to create a game that was all about creating a world in a mirror image of the one we live in, including aliens, dinosaurs, animals and a human civilisation. But it wasn’t able to do it in an exciting way that had me wanting to play more and more. The slow progress was its biggest killer. Trailer’s and early gameplay had me believing this was a game for kids, but I don’t think any kid I know has the attention span to play this title.


Game Info

  • Review Score: 2.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: May 9, 2017
  • Platform: PC, PS4
  • Age Rating: ESRB Everyone
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Publisher: NIS America
  • Genre: Strategy, Action / Adventure, Misc