Birthdays the Beginning (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 05.05.2017

Review for Birthdays the Beginning on PlayStation 4

Something always felt rather empty about other god games, huh? Sure, the player controls the layout of empires, helps plant and animal life to grow, and often bends the laws of physics to their whim to get what they want. Still, none of them have ever brought to the table a cosmic petri dish to layer with absolutely adorable little critters with quite the same depth as Birthdays the Beginning. This cosmic power, though, doesn't come without some substantial prices attached.

At the beginning, there's a lot to take in. The player is greeted by Navi, a little alien who guides users through the tutorial. Navi, much like her Legend of Zelda counterpart, at least in name, has a nasty tendency to talk and interrupt too much. At first, it seems really irritating, but it makes sense once you realize all the game expects of you.

Everything on this floating intergalactic cube is the player's to control. Elevation, water, grasslands, temperature, weather patterns, the list is theoretically endless. As you begin to contour the land, life forms begin to emerge. All life does in fact begin in the sea, because water is truly limitless. The depth of the water, the flatness of the terrain, all of these matter in creating creatures.

Screenshot for Birthdays the Beginning on PlayStation 4

Navigating the game is a mixed bag. Speaking of Zelda, the menu transitions sound a lot like those from Nintendo's series. Not really important, but kind of funny. Regardless, the player can either proceed in Macro or Micro modes. Macro mode is zoomed out, which is where the player monitors their world. Micro mode is where the bulk of gameplay is spent, but Macro mode is the only mode where time will flow. Time needs to flow for the various species to grow.

Interacting with the world has a vague Minecraft feel. While the player doesn't have the kind of control the voxel juggernaut gave users, it still feels like the world is special to you. Character decisions make a tremendous difference. Making a river too bumpy means certain life forms can't thrive. Making a mountain too tall prevents certain greenery from growing on top. The world is truly the player's to mould and shape as they want.

Screenshot for Birthdays the Beginning on PlayStation 4

It helps equally that everything is so grounded in science, and actually works in the way it's supposed to. Organisms thrive on real scientific principles, and that level of depth is impressive. As new organisms emerge, the player will need to capture them. This allows them to level up. Levelling up doesn't matter very much, except that any change to the terrain takes away HP. You'll need to head out into Macro mode and let time proceed as normal to get some of that HP back, or take certain curative items to proceed.

All of this works well enough, which is why it's a shame that there's not more room for experimentation. Players can manipulate organisms in a variety of ways, but this may just keep them from their goals. Terrain can be manipulated, but again, if it fails to meet certain expectations, the player may find themselves wasting time on something they won't get credit for.

Screenshot for Birthdays the Beginning on PlayStation 4

Another issue is the tutorials, which seem endless. There's not much the player can find out on their own when the game is constantly answering any questions for them. Interestingly, and to the game's credit, it seems very aware it may be holding your hand too much. The tutorials will occasionally knowledge their mistake of over-explaining every detail.

For everything they tell the player, it's really easy to forget. Not that it matters, as consequences seem few and far between. Some species will go extinct three or four times in a minute with no real damage to the player. All of these complaints don't ruin the experience enough to say steer clear, but they do make the experience feel more like raising a world in a version of Mother Nature that's significantly nicer.

Screenshot for Birthdays the Beginning on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Birthdays the Beginning is highly recommendable as both edutainment and a god game. There are little issues that crop up that are annoying, but all in all, it's a great experience. There's a breadth of life to be created here, as long as you're going for what the game wants.


Arc System Works


NIS America


Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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