Relaxed city builder Before We Leave has a promising early access release

Sometimes you want to play a game like Anno, or Settlers, but it’s just a bit too much. There’s wars and guns and hardcore economic balancing to deal with. Before We Leave feels like the solution to that problem, a city building game where people emerging from long isolation underground rediscover and explore the unfamiliar world outside. As you build you unlock new resource chains and spread to new continents, then entirely new worlds, while contending with resource scarcity, pollution, and hungry space whales. 

We first heard about the game last year, and developer Balancing Monkey has now released the game into early access. It’s specifically billed as a non-violent game, which isn’t uncommon among city builders, but is pretty rare for games in the resource-chain style of the Settlers or Anno series. The challenge here is more about setting up good supply management, rather than sabotaging your rivals’ industries or competing over building space. Here’s the launch trailer. 

Having spent an hour or so with the release build, this one is pretty promising at its low price. The game delivers a lightweight economic strategy experience that’s not so taxing you get tired while playing, nor so tightly wound that I felt the need to break out a calculator. The hex-grid layout system had me skeptical at first, but felt good in action as you place buildings next to each other for ever-bigger bonuses.

You can find Before We Leave on the Epic Games Store for $20. 

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