Aven Colony is a simulation colony builder, developed by Mothership Entertainment and released on Steam, PS4 and Xbox One, 25th July 2017. It is available to purchase at £24.99 , with the soundtrack available separately at £3.99
Aven Colony is a sci-fi planet building simulator – similar to the Anno series, or perhaps if Tropico was set in space (but alas, without the humour). It follows a very structured format and the challenge often comes from resource management and your building efficiency. It’s quite a niche genre which often has high levels of micromanagement and this sort of game often gets a mixed reception. Those who enjoy the game will sink a hefty amount of hours into it, but many will struggle to get past the few hours.
You start off with a very simple colony and you build it up in a fairly traditional way. You provide housing so people will come and live there, they dig your mines, run your electricity plants, staff your farms and repair your network of tunnels. You have to trade for whatever resources your planet is lacking. Your people have needs, so you have to make sure they feel protected, that they don’t have to walk far to work (and they are really lazy), that they have entertainment and food variety, recreational drugs and medication. At every step of the way you need to micromanage your power, your air quality and your employment locations. These three things are critical and one wrong step can lead to a critical breakdown.
As your colony expands you must defend it from giant worms, plague spores, ice shards and lightning strikes through automated turrets and drones. The campaign takes you through the exploration of alien artifacts across a variety of different maps, each with strengths and weaknesses and different resources… but still at the heart of it – power, air, location. It ends up feeling like you’re not really expanding and exploring to find anything new and interesting, but merely to provide more power and more resources. There never quite feels like there’s a purpose, even in the campaign. Eventually you will get to a point where you have “beaten” the map – you have a thriving colony that has more resources than you can use. You have perfected your power grid and your people are happy. All negative events can be handled automatically. There’s nothing more to do. The question is whether you will enjoy getting there.
I mostly enjoyed the journey; but I know that I’m a heavy fan of micromanagement games, even at extreme levels and where some may see “boring”, I often see “relaxing.”
- Game looks and runs great.
- Good selection of attractive buildings.
- 8 different difficulty levels.
- A competent management game at the core.
- A good length campaign that progresses through different maps.
- Intuitive and easy to use UI / controls.
- The game holds your hand every step of the way with constant simple tasks.
- Large amount of notifications that aren’t really necessary which can hide the important things.
- Limited maps with limited resources.
- Resource generation can force you to play a certain way.
- Games all end up playing out quite similar – nothing unique.
- Quite a high price tag for a niche indie game – £24.99
Despite what might read as a fairly negative review, I would recommend this game very specifically to people who like the genre and feel starved for their management fix. It is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea and the game has some limits that might frustrate even colony management fans. To get the best sense of value; it’d definitely be worth waiting for a sale. It’s a 3.5 / 5 for me.