SelectButton's Early Access reviews provides valuable insight on a work in progress. The game will be reevaluated once officially released, as the review below is based on the Early Access build of the game at the time of the review's publish date.
It has been a long time since a game like Populous has graced our presence. The Mims Beginning a product of Squatting Penguins was a response to this challenge. Albeit, it took three years and the need to raise some funds on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, but the team is finally ready to release the title on Steam through the Early Access program.
Taking on the role of a deity commanding a group of shipwrecked Mims, you'll need to lead your minions by harvesting different types of resources. The most basic resource are bio fruits, which have to be brought to an extractor to produce energy. Another resource that you will encounter are animals; these are produced from your bio-lab. Gems are the prized resource, as they are only available by selling off your livestock. They are also a requirement to build the more advanced structures for your colony.
As you progress through the game you will be able to grow new types of plants that can be used to increase your energy, or used to feed your animals. The stronger your animals become, the more gems will will receive by selling them.
Growing your colony comes with a price, pests and predators will be enticed by the smell that the extractors produce. Defending your colony allows you to use special PSI powers. The ability to set anything on fire was one of my favorites, although I used the explosion ability many times, forcing enemies to scatter throughout the environment. Every so often, you'll require the Mims to take up arms and fend for themselves. It was cool seeing your ordinary farmers turn into tough looking guardians.
Some of the game mechanics in The Mims Beginning are questionable. For example, if you forget to build a bio-lab and a spaceport before your gems run out, then you are stuck with a colony with just fruits. If this happens the game is essentially over. The story mode is pretty lengthy, but the game is lacking a mid-game save capability. My advice, don't start a level if you don't have enough time to dedicate to the game.
Overall the game is light-hearted and fun, but as a god-like-strategy-game it falls short. At the moment, The Mims Beginning feels like a run-of-the-mill RTS game with added mythical powers. I'll be keeping a watch on the game and see how it progresses through Early Access.
Note: The Mims Beginning review is based on a digital PC copy of the game.