Before We Leave is a cutesy, world-building game. It features hexagonal spaces which form a world, and I fell in love with its visual style immediately.
Set in a world once humanity had nearly been extinguished, the plot sees the first people emerging after many years of avoiding the surface. This new civilisation dictates that you help sort things out to get humanity back to flourishing.
Everything is very simple. Resources are needed for certain things, houses are needed for people, more people equals more resources. Little icons tell you how much of everything you need, and the ability to zoom in and out (and around) the planet gives you total visibility.
As you start to place your houses, you are notified of the importance of buildings being connected. The city-builder’s curse, that all must be connected to a road is present here, although the hexagonal tiles made me have all kinds of niggling frustrations as some tiles just devolved into a mass of brown pathways pointing in every which direction. Still, it’s important for your ‘peeps’ to get around.
Peeps are what your people are called, and they bobble about quite happily, minding their own business and doing bits for your community. They have their own personalities and preferences which is cool – despite building a new civilisation, you’re very much operating on a small scale here.
They will all have little jobs, and working out their most efficient routes from the housing to their jobs becomes important. Similarly, the little explorer ones are important to help find resources around the world – and construction ways for them to get around also come into play (such as building a lift next to a cliff face so they can scale it).
So what’s the goal? Well, there are no enemies here, no major catastrophes to deal with. Essentially, you’re trying to repopulate and to do that you need more space. Building the capability to fly into space and discover other (randomly generated) planets is the name of the game, which isn’t super challenging but requires some thought.
That’s kind of all there is to it, and I mean that as a compliment. Before We Leave is a peaceful, calming but thoughtful game. After the world is trashed, the ability to start again and ponder what the world 2.0 might look like under your control is an interesting one, but ultimately it’s an enjoyable one too.
Reviewed on Xbox Series X