Game Review: Before We Leave (Nintendo Switch, PC, XBox)

Team 17 was a favourite publisher of mine during the Amiga days and with the exception of Alien Breed (I could never get into that), I loved a lot of their output, especially Worms so it was a surprise for me to know they were still going today. I’d always been a fan of the ‘god sim’ games like Sim City and Populous, so was keen to try Before We Leave although from just screenshots, it looked odd, but they only tell you about the visuals of a game.

What is Before We Leave?

The plot of the game is that centuries ago, humanity went underground to escape a galactic disaster and have just returned to the surface to find a desolate landscape.  You have to rebuild your world the best way you can.

When you load the game, you are given the option of a tutorial. I normally avoid these as I prefer to go in blind but thought I’d give it a go. It gives you a very limited version of the game to play in order to get used to controls and how to start rebuilding the world.

Sounds Familiar…

Before We Leave reminds me more of Microsoft’s Age of Empires more than any other world building sim, as it involves you getting people to cut down wood and gather other materials. You also need to build farms so you can feed your population. As the game progresses, you can send your people to explore ancient ruins and start to build different buildings and structures like research labs, elevators so you can go to upper levels. To be able to learn new skills, you will need to build a library and from there, a school.


As the game plays, you can hear voices of your population talking and going about their everyday business. There is also a nice musical soundtrack which sounds like Irish folk music in places.

Graphics wise, they’re detailed although the people don’t look much like people, but it serves their purpose. The game world isn’t flat but round. You can move the camera around the area, rotate it and also zoom in and out. There is also an option which lets you focus on a particular place.

Exploring The World

As you advance in Before We Leave, you get to send a ship out into the wild blue yonder to find new lands to colonise. There is even polar ice-caps, but you can’t colonise them. When you find new islands, you will have to restart the process of building a new town from scratch. But you will also have to learn to adapt to new environments like deserts and need to research clothing to accommodate these.

The game can be slightly tricky to get to grips with, but when you get into the game, you can find time really flies by. Talking about time, you can select the speed in which the game plays – either very slow, or rather quick. This helps as you’re not watching (for example) buildings being constructed at a snails pace or research being done very slowly.

Before We Leave is a nice addition to the ‘god sim’ genre and I can see myself carrying on with this game for a long time to come. Very much recommended.

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