Before We Leave is a chill civilization resource management sim from Team17 and Balancing Monkey Games. In the sim game, the player’s peeps have sequestered underground for generations after some catastrophic event. The remains of this civilization emerge from their bunker, having once again deemed the surface of their planet safe. At the player’s direction, the remaining inhabitants rebuild, recolonize, and expand into space beyond. Before We Leave is available via Steam, Epic Games, the PS5, the Xbox One, and now the Nintendo Switch.
What separates Before We Leave from other sims is its low-stress vibe. Players don’t have to worry about much in the way of natural disasters, just the occasional space whale attack. They won’t compete or battle with rival tribes for finite resources. This philosophical approach allows players to focus on resource management, expanding their colonies, and exploring the land and the worlds around them. Before We Leave is charming, fun, laid-back, and easy to come back to any time without losing a step.
At Before We Leave‘s start, players will need to lay down roads, farm fruits, and vegetables, mine for iron and stone, research ancient technology, and keep their citizens happy with clothes, shelter, and entertainment. They’ll be able to explore other islands with needed resources and different environments once they gain access to ships and then set up trade routes. Further on in the game, the peeps will discover and repair technology that will provide them access to the stars. Players will then manage resources between colonies on multiple planets. They’ll also need to fend off periodic attacks from space whales. Players will have to rebuild whatever was destroyed if they are unsuccessful in distracting these giant space mammals.
The vast majority of sims play better with a mouse and keyboard. But the developer did an excellent job of ensuring the player acclimates very quickly to the console controls. Everything players might need to create, and helpful data are easy to access and will become second nature very quickly.
The tutorial for Before We Leave is thorough and helpful, for the most part. There was an instance during the tutorial where it was unclear that the menu and window with data on Peeps, Resources, and Buildings needed to be called up. Perhaps an onscreen arrow prompt was missing or missed, but too much time was spent figuring out why the game would not move on to the next step even though all objective requirements for initiating the repair of a wooden exploration and colonization shop.
While the texturing on the Nintendo Switch port of Before We Leave isn’t as detailed on the PC, the game still looks good and recognizable. The game is roughest in handheld mode. The onscreen text is small and can be difficult to read on the Switch’s small screen. Players might find playing Before We Leave on a big screen TV more enjoyable. There is some periodic drift on the left joystick, which may be corrected by moving the right stick.
The soundtrack for the game was composed by Benedict Nichols (Omno, The Falconeer). Players could easily listen to the soundtrack separately and relax their way to the clouds. The songs enhance Before We Leave‘s relaxed, upbeat vibe. A playlist of twenty-seven OST songs is available for listening on Balancing Monkey Games’ YouTube channel.
Before We Leave for the Nintendo Switch is an imperfect but still enjoyable port of the building/resource management sim. While there are some issues with the port, it’s still an engaging, low-stress resource management sim where players can rebuild a once great society and see some space whales. The game is now available on the Nintendo Switch for $19.99. For more information on Before We Leave, visit the official site.