Tuesday, May 29, 2018

"Happy Birthdays" Review

"Minecraft" has spawned an entire cottage industry of clones, with few managing to come close to approaching the cultural influence and community size. Even the venerable Lego license couldn't come close to doing so with "Lego Worlds," but big guns continue to fire at the Microsoft-owned behemoth.

The Switch exclusive "Happy Birthdays" is the latest contender to the throne. Bright, colorful and brimming with creative options, the world-building sandbox has enough to offer to turn plenty of heads. Coming from the mind of venerable dev Yasuhiro Wada ("Story of Seasons"), the game challenges you to conjure sweeping lands of mayhem and mystery.

Taking hints from the glorious failed Will Wright experiment "Spore," "Happy Birthdays" lets you evolve ecologies from single-cell organisms to romping dinosaurs and soaring birds of prey. You tweak the paths that your worlds follow by manipulating key branching points. As god games go, "Happy Birthdays" is among the more lighthearted variety.

While the lack of a focused narrative may leave some gamers confounded as to which way to go, those in the mood for freeform world-building and exploration will find all the tools and distratctions they'll need to form a new obsession.
Publisher provided review code.

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