Are you playing the sandbox evolution game Birthdays the Beginning and find yourself confused or at a standstill because the next lifeform won’t evolve? I’ve already written up a few tips I wish I knew before starting this game, and now I have some more for you.
For more details on Birthdays the Beginning, check out my full review of the game.
1. You don’t get easy re-dos.
If you alter the land to make, say, a large mountain and aren’t sure if you like it, it’s not so easy to say, “Ah, I’ll change it later if I don’t like it.” Before you know it, that mountain will be swarming with trees and animals that require the low temperatures of higher elevations. If you end up deciding the mountain isn’t in the best location, you have two options: 1. Change the land and kill off the lifeforms, or 2. Keep the mountain and work around it.
To be happy with your cube world in Birthdays, you must either plan ahead with your land-shaping or get used to the fact that some creatures may be sacrificed for your precious aesthetic.
2. Don’t move on to new objectives too quickly.
Throughout your first playthrough of Birthdays the Beginning, Navi will automatically update your “goal organism” when you evolve your current one. Evolved a Coelacanth? Time to move on to the Ichthyostega. But what Navi doesn’t explain is there are dozens of other lifeforms you could evolve instead of heading straight to the next objective.
There are over 200 organisms to evolve in this game, and only a handful of them are given as objectives. If you reach the environmental conditions for one lifeform and immediately start changing the climate for the next one, you might alter things too drastically for other occupants of your world. You could end up making your beloved T-Rex go extinct too quickly or get the temperature too low to evolve those pretty dragonflies.
Take your time, go through the evolution tree, and make sure you aren’t getting too objective-oriented.
3. Don’t make shaping the land harder on future-you.
When I first started playing Birthdays, I didn’t have a coherent plan in mind when raising or lowering the land. I was simply having fun messing around making an ocean, adding random deep sea areas right next to shallows without a care in the world.
Soon, however, I figured out organisms need room to grow. A small strip of -2T water right next to -16T deep sea isn’t conducive to thriving life. So I had to start raising and lowering the land again to make a viable environment, and it took forever because of how careless I was at the start of the game. Raising one block 3 levels here, lowering the block beside it 6 levels, raising the next one 2 levels, etc.
Don’t be like me. Make broad areas of shallows before moving on to the sea and eventually deep sea. Your fishies and your sanity will thank you.
4. Check your food supply.
The library in Birthdays the Beginning tells you a range for an organism’s required temperature, moisture, and elevation level. It will sometimes explain that your next dinosaur evolves when X organism and Y organism are thriving, or that it eats a certain type of plant. But sometimes that dino just won’t evolve, even though you’ve maintained all its requirements for 500,000 cube years.
This is a flaw of the game you have to account for while playing. Be aware that life feeds off life, so even if the library entry doesn’t tell you, you’ll likely need to have plenty of food around for most organisms to evolve. Predator/ carnivorous animals need prey animals, and prey/ herbivorous animals need plants to eat. More complex organisms need more complex food, so pay attention to the evolution tree as you move forward.
5. The “science” gets easier.
This is an evolution game, yes, but you don’t have to be a biology major to understand the science side of things. Organisms are listed by their scientific Latin names, which is definitely confusing at first, but the names ultimately don’t need to be understood. Most lifeforms’ descriptions actually give you their common names, and you can tell what type of creatures they are from the animated shadows.
The temperature and moisture level numbers also seem overwhelming at first, but–similar to the Latin names–they don’t need to be fully understood. After about 20 minutes of messing around an evolving a few seaweeds, you’ll realize the numbers you need are easy to reach, and it doesn’t take any scientific knowledge to get there.