Birth is a calming puzzler about building a new friend

Have you ever found yourself in a strange place, alone and lonely? Even though you know that the world is just as weird and strange as anybody might find you, you just can’t seem to connect with others. In Birth the solution is simple, to gather up viscera, bones, matter and more to create a new companion.

Despite Birth‘s quite macabre and grim setting, there’s something incredibly charming and welcoming about its hand-drawn artwork and general style. It reminded me almost immediately of the Rusty Lake series, or of the recently released “When The Past Was Around“, with its easy to understand clean-scene design. It’s full of small, single-screen puzzles which are littered around a city block, in its various apartments and shops as well as some of the areas beyond.

Birth is, in concept, incredibly simple. It’s a series of cerebral, physics or pairing puzzles carefully placed around a point-and-click style, scene-to-scene world. I loved the finer details on each of the environments, as well as the clever use of whitespace; It’s not always easy to see which parts of the world you can interact with, but once you find it, it’s designed in a way where you don’t really need words to understand what is going on. I especially love the character designer, which gives you a bunch of different appearance options that fully underline that the world might seem weird and more shamanic- or totemic-based than our world, but it’s not so different.

You’ll collect tiny bone pieces, teeth, dead fish, tokens and all sorts of tchotchkes and then put them to use less than a screen away. There’s a satisfying beat that comes with quickly pushing through small puzzles and Birth completely nails that… at least based on the short section that I played while at WASD earlier in the year. It’s an incredibly calming experience, with soft, ethereal, lo-fi music playing in the background and a freeform structure that means that if you’re stuck you can wander off to other areas, then come back later. A great combination, and it makes for a great, approachable puzzle experience.

Birth is expected to launch on Windows & Mac later this year.

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