When I think of Arc System Works and NIS America, I usually expect some crazy gaming concept and Happy Birthdays is no different. Telling the story of a young man who loves books, who came across a map marked with a cross. Thinking of finding a treasure, he instead found in the marked cave a bright light that took him to a strange place. This is where he made the acquaintance of an avatar called Navi that he can control at will and a cube claiming to be the creator of worlds.
This so-called creator informed our hero that he is the chosen one who will be able to help him to recreate the world. Behind it is a large map on which the avatar can walk and change things like the height of the ground, and thus alter many criteria such as temperature, atmosphere, humidity or the food chain to shape this world. You will, therefore, take control of Navi to create more or less deep water areas, mountains or plains, which will define the different environments of the map but also the temperature. The higher the terrain, the lower the temperature and vice versa.
in doing so, Happy Birthdays will have you juggle between “micro” and “macro” modes to modify and understand the evolution of your world. The mode “micro” is the one in which you directly direct Navi to influence the various elements mentioned above but also with the help of special objects unlocked in the game to evolve a species, reduce the humidity of the air, accelerate the reproduction of underwater species and so on. Your actions are limited because they consume the HP of your avatar that can be recovered in “macro” mode.
Each species will ask of you other conditions to be created, whether they are microorganisms, plants or even dinosaurs and humans (your ultimate goal in the game). In “micro” mode you will be able to capture the different creatures to acquire new information about them, in addition to the conditions fit for their creation and evolution. In addition it is possible to switch to a subjective view to find them more easily because the mini-map is really small and it is sometimes difficult to see where are the remaining organisms to capture.
Graphically the game is clean, but you are dealing with a weird children book style which is refreshing in its own way. The soundtrack is relaxing but by the number of tracks looping ends up becoming tiring. In the end, Happy Birthdays is a very interesting management game not only because it stands out but also because it is really informative. The design of the game is intelligent, with its cuteness it would give any child the desire to put his little hands, which, because of the high difficulty of the title, will force him to play with an adult, allowing them both to learn things in an original and entertaining way. This is an excellent surprise that I was not expecting to be that good, instead of the numerous god games and other Minecraft clones.
Happy Birthdays was reviewed using a Nintendo Switch digital download code provided by NIS America. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published (click here for more information about our review policy).
• An interesting sim management and god game concept
• Easy to get into
• Quite a fun family game if you have the patience
• Lots of things to collect
• Not as deep as you would expect
• Not much to do in the long run
• The soundtrack can get annoying