Before We Leave is a city-builder with planet-devouring space whales


City-builders aren’t usually my jam, but Before We Leave has planet-devouring space whales. It’s a “mostly non-violent” game about helping colonies hop between cute little planets, building wooden spaceships and salvaging ancient tech. It came out last week in early access, and everything about it looks soothing.

Apart from the whales. Obvs.

Here’s the launch trailer, in which there is a strange paucity of explicit space whale.

You’re managing a tribe of people who’ve spent several generations hiding underground, who are now eager for niceties like sunlight and the conveniences of modern technology. It’s sort of low-pressure, in that “there are no weapons”, and “no battles with neighbours for control of resources”. It bears repeating, though: space whales. Exactly how they can mess you up isn’t clear, and nor is exactly what you can do about them. But yep, annihilation at the flippers of celestial cetaceans is very much a thing.

If you do manage to deal with them, eventually you’ll be running an interplanetary network of settlements. I do like having a grand goal to work towards, and all of this sounds novel enough to tempt me into a genre I normally steer clear of. Plus, it is well pretty.

Developers Balancing Monkey Games haven’t said when they’re leaving early access, or what they’re going to add before they do. It seems they don’t know themselves – they say they’ll spend the next few weeks bug-fixing, and then start “planning a roadmap”.

You can nab Before We Leave from the Epic store for £16/$20.

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