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11 Aug 2022

REVIEW: Before We Leave - Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
I originally reviewed Before We Leave for its original PC release, so I was looking forward to seeing how well this game would port to a Nintendo Switch, well wait no longer it is here, and I am checking it out on a Switch Lite.

"Before We Leave is a non-violent city building game set in a cozy corner of the universe."

As with all city builders, your job is to create a society, and help it grow, and expand. Your people are known as "Peeps", and they have spent generations underground, since their civilisation is lost, you will slowly help them grow, expand the settlements, discover new as well as lost ancient technologies and eventually even leave the planet and colonise new and wonderful places.

Everything is very laid back, the mechanics of the game are very simple, the planet your play on is based on hexagonal tiles, each tile represents an area you can build on. You start off with everything very basic, and as you go along, you will find that you can research new ways to do things, everything from the way you build roads, to the buildings and so on.

One of the things that makes Before We Leave stand out, is the look of the game, as I said you play on the whole planet which has kind of been shrunk down, you will start on small islands, create shipping routes to other islands, and eventually leave the planet and go to the next.

You will start off playing with a pretty cool and detailed tutorial that will help teach you everything you could possibly need to know. It does this in steps, and at no point will you feel overwhelmed.

Since I originally played the PC version I already had a good understanding of the game, and where as originally I was slightly frustrated with the tutorial, and the placement of some buildings that had to be put in specific places, I had a good idea of what to do, so those frustrations are gone, but it is worth mentioning as not everyone will have played the game before.

City Builders are practically always developed to be played with, with a mouse, obviously with a Switch Lite there is no mouse, so it is the available joystick and buttons only, since the worlds are based on hexagonal areas that you can build on, this actually made control slightly easier than it would have been otherwise, so this was a big positive. However one slight negative was the camera angle control using the bumper/trigger buttons, zooming in and out is easy enough, but that accurate control you get on a PC is just not possible on a Switch Lite. Not a massive problem, but for perfectionists trying to get the exact camera angle you want is a bit of a pain.

As city building games go, this is pretty cool, it looks great, it sounds great, it has some original touches, it is easy to pick up and play, and things do get more complicated and detailed as you grow, that it keeps the challenge going.

The Good
Looks great, easy to play and learn. Works well on the small screen, perhaps better than I expected.

The Bad
The camera angle is a pain, as I mentioned.

A Fun city builder, that fans of the genre will love.

I scored the original PC version a solid 8/10, I give the Switch release a 7.5/10, a few small issues with the camera angle, as well as trying to read very small writing on the screen takes the score down slightly, but other than that a very good City Builder game.

Review by Jon Donnis

Out Now on Nintendo Switch 

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