How does your child play this? Alone, with friends, with family? How did they discover it and what kept them coming back for more?
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You are alone, says the game's description. You bring relief to your loneliness by building a creature, a partner, a wet warm heart, and a collection of bones. But unlike the usual gothic horror setting for a story like this, Birth takes you to everyday hand-drawn museums, coffee shops, alleys, flower shops, libraries, markets and bakeries. There you find the bones and organs to create your companion.
As you progress there's another puzzle of how to put these pieces together and bring each part to life. You click to reveal more of what you've found, find items and combine these to start hearts pumping and kidneys filtering. Until finally, you have your companion made whole.
The result is a game that takes you somewhere unusual. Not only to consider the rudimentary elements that make up living breathing beings but to what it really means to be lonely, wandering the streets seemingly noticeable by the people you pass. It's potent and delicate, unsettling and gross but also innocent and childlike.
Our examiner, Jo Robertson, first checked Birth 11 months ago. It was re-examined by Andy Robertson and updated 12 days ago.
The game's visuals are intentionally grotesque but always depicted in a hand-drawn style. They feature characters with skulls for heads and dismembered body parts. On one occasion you peel plasters from a hand to then pull tiny fish from the flesh. Similarly, you click to open a wound on an arm and then pull out a coin. You work with bones, lungs, hearts and other organs. For example, placing worms on a pair of lungs to make them breathe.
10+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. The puzzles often require lateral thinking. You need to be meticulous when searching each area. Understanding the challenge of loneliness is also important to engage with the theme of the game.
Release Date: 17/02/2023
Out Now: PC, Switch and Xbox One
Content Rating: PEGI 7
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made