Title: The Mims Beginning
Developer: Ultimate Games
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 24/11/2019
Price: £7.19 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
The Mims, hard-working aliens with six eyes, have been scattered across the galaxy. They reside on different islands isolated in space, with their goal to survive against the environmental disasters and predators that threaten them. However, instead of being one of these aliens, you are the god-like figure that must help them survive!
There are two game modes available to play, which are story and survival. Pretty self-explanatory, but the story mode follows a series of different scenarios with an overarching storyline. The scenarios include staying safe from infectious Mims and finding a cure, paying a toll to bandits to earn your keep in their territory, and powering a machine without losing electricity. There are some humorous cut scenes to portray the story too.
I enjoyed having these different objectives to carry out, though the overall goal was the same. Keep your Mims alive, grow plants to convert into biomass to power your buildings, and don’t run out of crystals which are the form of currency. At first, the UI and controls are overwhelming even after playing the tutorials. However, the more you play, the more you pick up.
You are in charge of providing buildings to help the Mims’ wellbeing. These include houses for them to rest in, silos to upgrade the amount of biomass you can gather and bio centres to research animals or plants. A spaceport can then be used to trade animals for crystals, which you need to build things. You can even construct defence towers to ward off predators.
One of the most important buildings is the PSI tower, which gives you your powers. The more you upgrade it, the more powers you unlock. These can be anything from fire to burn enemies, or healing all of your Mims. Keeping your Mims happy is essential so they can carry out their tasks and avoid dying!
You can either use the touchscreen or your joysticks to select the three menus that can open on the screen; buildings, plants and PSI powers. There is also a bar at the top which shows you the amount of Mims and animals you have, as well as your currency and objectives. Though the tutorial teaches you the basics, throughout the levels so many new features or objectives are introduced that sometimes I didn’t know what I was meant to be doing.
The strategy concept of the game is also something that you need to be aware of. Like many simulation or strategy games, currency and what you build is a major element. Run out of money too quickly and it’s likely you’ll get stuck, unable to complete the objectives and meaning you’ll have to restart the level. I definitely think the game can benefit from some more hints along the way.
In survival mode, you can choose your difficulty or customise it completely. There are actually lots of elements for you to change, from what predators appear to what scenarios cause you to win or lose, so there is an end goal to this game mode. The higher the difficulty, the less Mims you have and the more dangers you will encounter.
Using your skills from the story mode, you must survive as long as possible until you reach the goal or lose, for example by having your Mims die. From my other game reviews such as Frostpunk and Planet Zoo, I have talked about my love of a sandbox mode and I quite enjoy the grind of providing a functioning place to ensure survival. It is pretty much the same as story mode, just without the specific objectives and storyline.
However, I played more of the story mode than the survival mode, largely due to a very huge problem that I have with this game…you are unable to save.
Where’s the save button?
I thought I was doing something wrong, or being stupid, so I had to look up where I could find the save button. Only to discover, that there actually isn’t one. This is such a massive issue, particularly with a simulation game which can require hours of grinding.
Some levels in the story mode were fairly short and you could complete them in one go, say an hour. However, some could take a few hours, which meant if you wanted to save your progress, you could not exit the game. This then meant I couldn’t play any other game on my Switch unless I wanted to forfeit the time I’d put in.
It’s perhaps even more of an issue when it comes to survival mode, which is specifically for grinding and seeing how long you can last on the game. There’s almost no point in playing this unless you plan on not using any other game on your Switch, which is unlikely!
Exploring the galaxy
It’s a great shame because the actual game isn’t too bad. Graphically, I loved seeing how each island had different terrain or layouts, with earthy colours and textures. There was a lot of detail to each island, such as little statues and stone structures hidden amongst a river or the trees. You could zoom right in to explore all this as well as see your Mims close up.
The game ran smoothly and I was quite impressed with how good it looked for a smaller title. The instrumental soundtrack gave you something to listen to while filling in those gaps of skipping time or waiting for your Mims to do something. There were some great audio pieces in there too, like the wind howling the further you zoom away from the island and the yelling of a Mim in trouble, making you invested in saving them!
Due to the saving issue, it’s not really a game you would replay. The initial playthrough takes up so much of your time and there isn’t any benefit to playing again, like achievements or collectables. You could have perhaps tested each difficulty on survival, but what is the point if you are unable to save hours of progress?
As a game, The Mims Beginning is enjoyable. There are lots of familiar elements from simulation and strategy games, and I liked the concept of being the god-like figure for these aliens. Having PSI powers was fun, despite the stress of using them to keep your Mims from being killed. But being unable to save in a game which needs it was all too glaring.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase The Mims Beginning from the Nintendo eShop at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/The-Mims-Beginning-1667554.html#Overview