Birthdays the Beginning


Birthdays the Beginning is the newest game from Yasuhiro Wada, the mind behind the original farm-sim Harvest Moon. You still build something out of nothing in Birthdays, but instead of growing radishes you’re growing lifeforms: from single-cell plankton all the way up to dinosaurs and humans. Check out our in-depth review of Birthdays!

You’ll have fun and figure most things out if you go in blind to Birthdays the Beginning, but the game doesn’t do a great job of explaining the process for developing your world to its fullest potential. Let me clue you in on a few tips I wish I knew at the start of the game. Trust me, your Dimetrodons will thank you.

1. The climate only changes if you progress time.

In Micro Mode, time stands still. Lifeforms will still roam around, and you can make changes to the land and environment. However, some changes won’t actually show until time progresses in Macro Mode.

If you’re altering the land to raise or lower the temperature, the temperature will only start to change when you move time forward. The temperature on the left side of the arrow tells you what the temperature is right now, and the one on the right shows you where it will move if time begins.

Also, using items like Rainclouds and Sunlights won’t show their effects on the environment until you progress time, so keep an eye on those areas to see how they’re changing.

2. Making rivers is trickier than you think.

This one took me a while to figure out. Anything -1 T or below in your world is salt water. It automatically fills in when you lower the terrain low enough. Fresh water only comes from the River Source items, and you need both types of water for different types of lifeforms.

The land in front of a River Source will only turn into a river if it’s the same level as or below the source. This sounds simple, but often when you try to make a river at 0 T, you’ll lower the terrain to -1 T, where salt water begins. Sometimes, to make a river stay fresh water, you have to raise the land in front of the source and then lower in back down. Then do that to every tile connected to the river until you’re done.

You can check the mini map to make sure you’re using the right type of water. Dark blue is salter water, and light blue is fresh water.

3. You need water at all elevation levels.

The game tells you you need all levels of land to build the right environments for a wide variety of life, but it doesn’t explain that you also need water at all levels.

Water will soak the land to grow grass more easily, but some plants and animals actually require a fresh water source at Highland elevation in order to evolve. Go through your Library and check out how varied the “birth” requirements are. You’ve got your work cut out for you.

4. You won’t 100% an episode if you force evolution.

At some point Navi tells you “something good might happen” if you evolve lifeforms without using an item, i.e. a Seed of Evolution, to do it. What Navi doesn’t tell you is you won’t 100% an Episode (mission) of the game if you use a Seed of Evolution.

Try your best to shape the land and use other items to alter the climate in order to bring about evolution naturally. You’ll be closer to that 100%, and you will feel much more satisfied.

5. One button makes finding new lifeforms a lot easier.

Newly evolved organisms show up on the mini map as pink blinking dots, but in a thriving world with dozens of colored markers, finding new lifeforms can get confusing.

If you press in the left joystick, you’ll enter View Mode, where the only things on the mini map are new organisms. You can also get a closer look at the ground, air, and water to make finding smaller organisms much faster. You can also turn off the UI in this mode to get nice, cinematic videos and screenshots.

Are there are other tips you’d add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Birthdays the Beginning is out now for PS4 and PC via Steam.