Before We Leave 2HR


2HR, Before We Leave

By: Jason Siu


3 min read

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before we leave screenshot

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What is a 2HR?

A 2HR is a "2-hour review," where we pick a game that's available on Xbox Game Pass and play it for two hours and two hours only. Why? Because we feel like you can learn a lot about a game within two hours. And for many gamers, the first two hours of gameplay can determine whether or not they'll continue playing a game. It's also the same duration of time you can play a game on Steam before you can no longer request a refund. The goal of a 2HR is quick content (we try to keep it under a 5-minute read time) that will give you an idea of whether or not a game is worth playing or even downloading, if you are an Xbox Game Pass subscriber. It can also be helpful for those who have a bandwidth limit with their ISPs.

Before We Leave Verdict: Continue Playing

I’d like to continue playing Before We Leave, as the initial two hours seem to just scratch the surface on what the game has to offer. I could be wrong about its depth, but briefly exploring the objective-based mode leads me to believe there’s some challenging fun to be had.

What Kind of Game is Before We Leave?

Before We Leave is a casual simulation game with some strategic elements and a greater focus on resource management.

What Games are Like Before We Leave?

In terms of games I’ve played, it’s like a much more casual and less punishing version of Frostpunk or some of the Anno series games. It also reminds me a bit of Offworld Trading Company, along with various casual simulation games and theme park builders.

Who Would Enjoy Before We Leave?

Gamers looking for a casual city builder/simulation game that isn’t too punishing in sandbox mode, but enjoy the challenge of managing limited building space and resources.

Who Wouldn’t Enjoy Before We Leave?

Flat earthers, since the planets in this game are round. Also, those looking for in-depth micromanagement might find this game a bit underwhelming since your “peeps” can’t die.

There are some pretty interesting concepts in Before We Leave that I hope to explore more in depth in the future.

Before We Leave Two-Hour Review:

In my two-hour playthrough, I mainly focused on completing the tutorial, but I did take a few minutes to explore the other game modes to see what else Before We Leave has to offer. Like many games in the genre, there’s a bit of a learning curve as you figure out what buildings are necessary to maintain your economy and progress through the tech tree. It’s a fairly standard city-builder game: grow your population, sustain them, gather resources, learn new tech, build more sophisticated buildings, gather the next tier of resources, and unlock more tech.

You start off by building on a single island, before exploring the rest of the planet to set up colonies on other islands. That’s when the game really opens up, with the ability to transport resources from one island to another. Some resources are only available on specific islands, which means transporting them all back to a single island in order to conduct research is key. The game may seem basic up until that point, when it then reminded me a bit of Factorio, where you have to get resources from point A to point B in order to progress. It’s a neat twist on the city builder formula.

After going through a bit of the tutorial, I checked out one of the objective-based modes that unlocked all of the tech in the game. In that particular challenge, you have to explore and set up a base on the fourth planet before space whales show up and destroy your hard work. I decided not to wait for the timer to tick down to experience exactly what the space whales will do, but it was interesting to see all the tech that is available to you further along in the game. After colonizing the islands on a single planet, you eventually have the capability to launch a spaceship to start colonizing multiple planets. So not only would you be transporting resources from island to island, you’ll start having to manage resources from planet to planet.

Since it is meant to be a more casual game, managing your peeps doesn’t seem all that difficult—although that may not be the case in other modes or later on in the game. But at least initially, it doesn’t take much to keep your “peeps” happy and since they can’t die, your only real penalty is how long it takes them to gather resources or construct buildings. Now, that does matter in objective-based game modes where you’re racing against the clock, but when you’re in the sandbox mode, it’s probably welcoming for some that managing your population isn’t the main focus.

There does seem to be a good amount of depth to Before We Leave, and plenty to explore in the game. I’d be willing to spend a couple dozen hours into it to see the space whales and what else the game has to offer.

Before We Leave 2HR Playthrough Video

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With over 20 years of online publishing experience, Jason Siu is currently the Content Director at VerticalScope and used to spend most of his time writing about cars. His work can be seen on websites such as AutoGuide, EV Pulse, FlatSixes, Tire Authority, and more. As the former co-founder of and West Coast Editor of Modified Magazine, he has also authored two books for CarTech Books. In his spare time, he founded FullCleared to indulge in his passion for writing about games. Although Jason is a variety gamer, he generally prefers RPGs.

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