By: Brian Gunn
The Mims Beginning is the first title from Polish developer Squatting Penguins. It attempts to be a new entry in the ever desolate god game genre, asking players to look after the odd titular creatures. Can it prove there’s still life in the genre, or has it died for a reason?
The Mims Beginning is played on a handful of tiny islands from a high-up perspective, as befitting a god game. It’s mainly mouse based, and for the most part the typical functions are present. The UI could use some work, with buildings that look too similar and stat indicators that are more obtuse than they need to be and take some getting used to.
God games are rarely graphical powerhouses, and it’s the same here. There’s a unique quality to things, however, particularly the Mims themselves as they’re that sort of adorable ugly that’s hard to pull off. One part Minion, one part Hamburger Helper mascot, they are a pretty fun design. Everything else is on the bland side, with ugly buildings and islands that lack personality.
The sound design is a little lacking in The Mims Beginning. There’s a story mode with some surprisingly lengthy cut scenes that are absolutely hampered by the fact the characters aren’t voiced. Some areas can feel totally barren with few sound effects, and what’s there can often feel fairly underwhelming. Music is pleasant but fails to really stand out.
The Mims are a space-faring race of oddballs that, thanks to a nearly civilization-ending event, are now scattered across a strange galaxy of floating islands. You are their vague, ill-defined deity in charge of guiding them to rebuild their scattered remnants to save their race and find a new home.
While you have limited control of your units directly, you do get to control most other assets of their growth. There’s finite space and resources so you’ll need to plot out what you plan to build ahead of time, as it’s possible to find yourself out of options if you decided to construct one too many silos or windmills.
There are two currencies in the game: biomass and crystals. Biomass acts as your all-around resource and is harvested from fruit, while crystals are far rarer, only accessible via a few deposits to mine or if you manage to raise some animals to sell. The economy takes a while to get used to, especially in early story missions when you’re strapped for resources.
The Mims have a life of their own and will tire easily. In order to ensure they don’t trek half the map to get a single piece of fruit you’ll need to do things like plant close to home or at least put a biomass extractor near the plants so they don’t walk back and forth all the time.
Additionally, things like geometry often confuse them. I’d find a lot of my Mims missing their toss into the extractor because their load of fruit hit a tree that was near it and they’d then wander off, and I can’t decide if that’s intentional or a bad glitch.
Story and survival modes are there for players to peruse, though the former often feels like an extended tutorial with how much it keeps out of the player’s control. Each stage will have different goals like retrieving specific items or training a certain amount of soldiers, but they often feel a bit repetitive.
There isn’t a lot of freedom to build how you want, especially in the beginning, and it ends up feeling like an RTS or simple city builder rather than a god game. There are some unique powers, such as replenishing energy or setting fire to an area, but they still feel restrictive at times.
There are also some baffling design choices. The survival mode, for instance, could end up taking you a long time to play, but there’s no save feature, which means you’d better have a lot of time blocked off and dedicated to play it if you want to experience all it has to offer.
The Mims Beginning isn’t too shabby an attempt at reviving the god genre, but it lacks in personality and polish. Still, for those looking for an entry that’s more newbie friendly, it’s not a bad investment.