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Test: Before We Leave: a peaceful hybrid at the crossroads of the 4X and the city builder


Exploration, Extension, Exploitation, Extermination. These are the 4 notions around which the 4X revolve. Time-consuming turn-based games, the Civilizations and other Endless Space have in particular a warrior side that does not suit everyone's taste. Before We Leave, he borrows many elements from the genre, but pours almost as much into the city-builder, all with a pacifism of all times to say the least restful.

Before We Leave Trailer

Bonzommes at work

Before We Leave: a peaceful hybrid at the crossroads of the 4X and the city builder

After an apocalypse that we imagine to be nuclear, humanity has taken refuge underground to survive. Over centuries and centuries, even when the cause of the catastrophe was forgotten, a handful of survivors, the Bonzommes in the text, chose to resurface and make a new start and, why not, set out to conquer space. Vast program that will take place on a spherical map partially hidden and divided into hexagons, on which it will be necessary to manage your resources, the happiness of your inhabitants, to shape a long production chain and, naturally, to explore the surroundings in search of knowledge, which will allow you to progress in a technological tree leading you to storm space in order to find new planets to colonize. Here, no risk of invasion, diplomacy or open war, no direct threat hangs over your little universe that will have to be managed at your own pace.

Before We Leave: a peaceful hybrid at the crossroads of the 4X and the city builder

To start, you will naturally have to provide for the most basic needs of your Bonzommes with your meager starting resources. Building huts for them, two potato fields (on fertile hexes only), a well and a lumberjack hut will be enough to unlock some new constructions useful for the evolution of your colony. The evolution in question is mainly based on two central elements: the explorer's cabin and the library. The first allows the Bonzommes who work there automatically to explore the surroundings. On the sphere is indeed a handful of “old technologies” which, depending on their color, produce blue, red or green knowledge. Once enough knowledge has been gathered, understand "science points" and you will be able to access the technological tree from your library. The latter is of course very similar to what you can find in any 4X and, if it is not organized by age and the progression within it is not backed either, its ramifications allow gradually to build more and more advanced technologies.

The production line as a common thread

Before We Leave: a peaceful hybrid at the crossroads of the 4X and the city builder

Thus, from the work of wood, you will quickly pass to the work of stone, iron then glass and fuel to progress in your conquest of space. However, the game is built in such a way that it is not possible to stay on one and the same island to gather all the resources useful for your expansion. It will therefore be necessary to build ports and take possession of another archipelago which will provide new raw materials, but also and above all technologies of the past in the right color. Indeed, most of the islands in the game only offer one technology color per island. But as you progress in the technological tree, you will have to combine several to unlock new constructions. It will therefore be necessary to ensure that production is solid enough in your island of origin to be able to send resources to neighb oring colonies that do not have them

. On paper, this could have given rise to a fairly complete import / export component, but in reality, the functionality remains essentially limited to the shipment of knowledge of this or that color, being sometimes faster and more reliable than just repeat the construction scheme of the original island on the newly colonized one. Indeed, with the exception of a handful of resources, each island has enough basic resources to be autonomous in terms of production, reducing the obligation to trade on a large scale.

Before We Leave: a peaceful hybrid at the crossroads of the 4X and the city builder  Before We Leave: a peaceful hybrid at the crossroads of the 4X and the city builder
Before We Leave: a peaceful hybrid at the crossroads of the 4X and the city builder "src ="

However, nothing prevents you from specializing an island in the manufacture of specific products, it is even rather recommended. A colony can, for example, multiply the making of high-end clothing and export it to other islands, decent clothes having a favorable impact on the morale of your Bonzommes who will greatly decrease their production if they are not satisfied with their living conditions, which must constantly be improved. Don't expect to be a rolling economy tycoon if after a few hours you only supply potatoes and rags to your settlers. They will need a varied diet, entertainment and luxury goods to be fully satisfied. On this side, Before We Leave turns out to be quite complete. The buildings are quite numerous, the production chains very clear and accessible, despite an interface that is not always very ergonomic, and the whole is served by an absolutely delightful artistic direction, which haloed Before We Leave with an atmosphere peaceful and relaxing, ideal for those wishing to play a management game without pressure in which the fatal error jeopardizing the proper functioning of your production is always easily rectifiable.

A detrimental lack of scale

Before We Leave: a peaceful hybrid at the crossroads of the 4X and the city builder "src ="

Conceived as a large sandbox in which you should play at your own pace, Before We Leave however lacks a few objectives other than that of colonizing a new planet (and which therefore involves repeating the pattern adopted on the planet of origin) and fill in the technology tree. If the long-term game has some fun surprises in store, which we will not reveal here, once the production chain has been completed and solidified, a certain routine takes hold and highlights a certain lack of scope in Before We Leave. Finally, once the tutorial is finished, the objectives belong to the player, who can also add handicaps at the start of the game and launch into a randomly generated universe, but fans of clear and defined objectives may remain hungry.This is unfortunate, because the concept of expansion of the game, its borrowing from the mechanics of 4X had the potential to retain its audience for hours, but the test is not completely transformed.

The notes

+Good points

  • Visually charming
  • Peaceful, relaxing atmosphere
  • Accessible and rather complete management
  • Loans from 4X and the conquest of promising space …

Negative points

  • … but which does not upset the gameplay loop in fact
  • Lack of long-term goals and diversity
  • Interface not always ergonomic

Endowed with a delightful universe, a peaceful atmosphere and a philosophy halfway between 4X and city-builder, Before We Leave recites with discipline the mechanics inherent in the genres from which it is inspired and enjoys a concept interesting but struggling to express its full potential. Once the space conquest accomplished and the technology tree filled, Before We Leave struggles to retain the player who will be content to repeat the same mechanics from one planet to another, without real stimulation other than that of creating the production chain perfect. Pleasant for a handful of hours and offered at a low price, Before We Leave remains a pleasant experience which however lacks a bit of scope in the long term.

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May 17, 2020 at 5:00:02 PM

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