Birthdays the Beginning is a relaxing game. It’s something that starts small and cascades down as your world developers further. Yet, it is never overwhelming. It feels more like you’re a observer with the power to occasionally shape your world, making it a better place. You have all the time to do whatever is needed to reach certain objectives, with optional goals to accomplish certain tasks at each plateau. You can speed things up or slow them down, knowing that even if your choice isn’t the right one, it could still lead to a desired outcome.
There isn’t as much direct influence as you’d expect in Birthdays the Beginnings. Most of the time is spent watching and waiting. You’ll have an specific plant or animal to raise in the cube. After you do a little bit of terraforming to create the correct conditions, you wait for that lifeform to appear. The number of mountains and amount of water present in the cube determine the overall temperature and conditions necessary for kinds of life. You also need certain levels of land. Maybe you’ll need more shallows or seas for aquatic lifeforms, mountains for creatures on land. Once you feel like things are right, you can pop out and speed up time to see if nature takes its course.
This isn’t to say there is no way to alter the lifeforms and land. From time to time, items will appear in the cube or be given to your character by Navi. A Primordial Drop, for example, is the first item you get and adds water to your initial world. The Broth of Life, once placed in the water, will make lifeforms appear at an increased pace. You might get a river source, which will let you create a snaking stream and waterfalls. A Seed of Evolution or Mutation can be used on a plant or animal to try and get a new form of life to spawn. You may even get things to increase the level of moisture or offer other environmental alterations to take effect more quickly. Even when you do opt to use an item, there is still a waiting period. It helps you appreciate how much time life takes, even when you are more directly involved in the matter.
But really, Birthdays the Beginning is a waiting game. You’re hoping for creatures to spawn and thrive, resulting in even more species appearing and finding your cube to be a suitable home. Early objectives will see you trying to get minor lifeforms like Phytoplankton, Stromatolite, and Pikaia, but eventually you’ll need actual creatures like dinosaurs, trees, and animals. Once you use your abilities to warp the land to your liking, it comes down to continually checking the Cube Status and Library to see what land, water, and temperatures you need to continue expanding your cube and unlocking additional episodes. You’re hoping for something new to appear, even if it isn’t the plant or creature you need, so you have an excuse to fly in and capture its information. You have to be patient.
This may not sound exciting, but it’s more enjoyable than you would imagine. Birthdays the Beginning is a very soothing experience. There’s not much stress or pressure. Creatures may go extinct, which is a shame, but it isn’t the end of your world. Life goes on. Perhaps you could use that as a learning experience and alter the environment to prevent that from happening again. And once you have a thriving community, things happen at an increased pace and give you an excuse to be more active when it comes to capturing creatures and terraforming the land. You have time to do what you like and, honestly, usually enough energy for your avatar to duck inside the cube often to tweak things whenever you’d like.
Birthdays the Beginning is a game that takes time to enjoy. People who are patient and willing to continually adjust and tweak a landscape can be rewarded with a thriving world. It takes some time, but some pretty novel things will happen. You’ll have a little ecosystem filled with creatures you can watch and learn about. It’s quite pleasant, As long as you’re willing to give things time and constantly refine your environment with new landforms, you’ll be able to see all sorts of plants and animals.
Birthdays the Beginning will come to the PlayStation 4 and PC in North America on May 9, 2017. It will come to Europe on May 12, 2017.