Happy Birthdays - Nintendo Switch Review

Happy Birthdays - Nintendo Switch Review

Quick Glance - Happy Birthdays 

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  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Players: 1
  • Achievements: N/A
  • Retail Price - $39.99

High Level Premise – Environmental life simulator

Graphics/Style – 3-D isometric, world within a cube.

Music/Soundtrack – The music is calming and allows the player to become immersed within your world. Not distracting one bit.

Story – You are an avatar that has been summoned to create life within an environmental cube.

Replay-ability – High; There are tons of species to unlock and secret items to obtain. 

Time Commitment – Unlimited, be careful this game will suck you in! Keep modifying your cube as you see fit.

Value – High; It's a very deep game with lots to unlock. There is lots of value in a game allowing you to come back over and over again with always something new to find.

Favorite Element – Triggering a Happy Birthday for a new evolved species to add to my database.

I have been video gaming a long time. At least 30+ years of my existence here on this Earth, I have been exposed to video games in some form or another.  Lately it has felt like the same old stuff gets rehashed time and time again. Retro platformers, third-person adventure games, first person shooters can only diverse only so much between each other before making the genre feel stale. Quirky games make video games feel special, different from the norm. Games like Pressure Cooker, Cubivore, Parappa The Rapper, and Ribbit King are just a few that bend genre stereotypes and provide a unique experience for the player at their time of release.

Happy Birthdays by NIS America is well within its right to be labeled amongst those quirky games, to provide a simulation experience that is vastly different from everything else in the Nintendo Switch marketplace today. You are an avatar that has been summoned to a cube, a biosphere (but with straighter edges) that can grow and evolve life within the cube's environment. It is your goal to shape the terrain and ultimately all aspects of the environment to grow specific types of life. Anything from plants, to fish, to dinosaurs, and even humans can thrive (or go extinct) within your cubic biological masterpiece.

Within "Macro" mode, watch life on the bar to the right increase and decrease depending on the changes you made within the cube.

The game play is simple yet complex. Move your cursor around the cube and modify the terrain as you see fit. Everything you do directly impacts the environment and has an impact (both positive and negative) for different species of life that are found within your cube. For instance, by raising the terrain, you make your cube's overall temperature colder.  By lowering terrain, you can make it warmer.  This may make some species thrive and evolve, or it may kill some off completely and making them extinct. If you have ever played any of the old Maxis simulations like Sim Earth or Sim Life, this concept will come very familiar to you.

All sorts of new life awaits you, if you meet the right conditions.

By creating new life you celebrate their "birthday" by capturing the life form and adding it to your database. The more diverse life forms you create or evolve, allows new life to be created. Everything is based off of a tech tree where environmental and species requirements must be met before a new species birthday can occur. Patience is key with this game, and even though you can fast forward time, it comes at a cost of your avatar's health. However with that patience comes with the reward of unique lifeforms that are created throughout your journey within the cube. There are rewards for discovering creatures such as expanding the size of a cube, or landmarks that you can build such as bridges and even cosmetic rewards such as flags of various countries for you to decorate your cube.  Happy Birthdays may not be for everyone, kids especially may have a hard time learning the ins and outs of creating and sustaining life and manipulating environments. However, as an adult this is definitely a game you should be checking out as it breaks off from the norm. Now get out there and start celebrating some birthdays!

After creating life and "capturing" it, you can gain more detailed information on how that creature thrives so you can work toward creating the next step in evolving that species.

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