Before You Buy “Before We Leave”

Before We Leave is a new civilization builder that launched on Microsoft Windows on May 8th. The game puts you in control of your people, called “peeps,” who’ve been living underground for generations due to an unknown catastrophic event.

The Premise

Upon coming back to the planet’s surface, they are left to rebuild their civilization with only the knowledge of growing potatoes. The surface land they’re met with is a landscape that contains ruins of old buildings, but mostly just nature. All seems simple at first, but with the growth of a new community, there will always be challenges and maybe some space whales. Housing, transportation, food, water and many more systems will need to be implemented and altered as the peep population grows. Threats of pollution, climate change and interplanetary threats will also loom closer as the peep society evolves. 

What Do You Do?

The gameplay starts simply with just a few peeps emerging from the ground on an island as you create houses over the hexagonally divided land. You then need to create potato fields and wells to supply the peeps with food and water. As your population grows, you’ll need to expand to new lands. In these regards, it’s very reminiscent of other civilization-building games like the Civilization franchise. You’ll have to research new energy resources, new crop and farm options, engineer new means of travel, etc., to try to accommodate and satisfy the needs of an ever-growing civilization. The expansions and innovations you create can also backfire, though. Energy sources that pollute the environment can make life for your peeps unpleasant. Balancing your growth and peep happiness can be quite tricky. The thrill of expanding to uncharted territories and eventually new planets should keep players engaged throughout the game.

An Impressive First Rodeo

Monkey Games studio’s first swing in the indie game industry is a unique and impressive twist on the civilization-building genre. The atmosphere of the game is intentionally non-violent and meant to “relax and entertain” the players while additionally “building a positive and uplifting community that reflects [Balancing Monkey Games’] ideals.” This is reinforced in the gameplay with no conquering or battles taking place. Nobody is fighting for resources, and there’s no need to prepare a peep army. Peeps are also unable to die even when they’re not taken care of very well. They just become less useful and disgruntled. These aspects, in tandem with more limited options than other more intense civilization-building games, may deter hardcore players of the genre. But even though peeps cannot die and skill trees aren’t as large, it doesn’t mean you won’t feel any pressure while playing. The more you decide to expand, the more things you’ll need to manage, requiring more responsibility. Failing to meet your peeps’ needs can result in red alert messages taking over your screen. But when the sight of space whales is promised, maybe handling some stressed peeps isn’t so bad. For more celestial, aquatic mammal news and gaming articles, check out Just Gamers and their gaming articles

Written by Trevor Forrest