Not since Sim City on the Super Nintendo back in 1992 have I delved into the city-building genre. A combination of having zero creativity and becoming easily frustrated kept me away from these types of games for 25 years! After seeing a trailer for Cities Skylines, I had to wrestle with my desire to try these games again. But here I am with my Aven Colony review, and I’m pleased I played it.
Upon reading that Aven Colony is described as a ‘simpler’ Sim City and is set in space by indie team Mothership Entertainment. It had me intrigued and wondering if all these years later I could get to grips with these games. I hoped I would enjoy myself and maybe it would bring me back to this genre.
Thankfully I really enjoyed this very solid city builder. It’s not perfect but as a console version of this gene, it was nicely entertaining. Check out my thoughts below, and I want to know your thoughts on these games. Are you a lover of these and happy to see them on console? Or just wanting to know if this genre could work for you?
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Look and Feel
The graphics in Aven Colony are ok. Nothing really wows me, but they also don’t offend. Buildings like hospitals, bars, sports stadiums and skyscrapers are nicely detailed but the whole game is kind of drab to look at. Not that it needs to be a graphical powerhouse, but sometimes I wanted to see a little more out of the landscapes. Some of the environmental hazards could have been more detailed too. A ‘shard storm’ sounds way more intimidating than it actually ends up being.
To be fair to the game, you don’t really miss these extra details once you are in the zone and frantically constructing a hospital for your sick colonists because you decided the hospital wasn’t that important yet.
As far as performance is concerned, the game very occasionally stuttered when zipping across the map in a panic because, for example, a ‘creep spore’ is heading your way. It didn’t happen so much as to ruin my fun though.
The UI was very helpful and easy to figure out, and using the radial wheels to select things to build became second nature pretty quick. I was worried things might be too complicated but the icons on everything were simple to understand.
One performance issue in particular I had however, was the first time I would boot the game up and it would crash back to the dashboard before I even reached the main menu. It worked fine the second time, but the first time always resulted in a crash. In general, though, the game performed quite well.
Story and Gameplay
Aven Colony casts you as the general of a colony on the planet ‘Aven’ far away from Earth, that needs to thrive if the people living there are to survive the harsh environments.
As far as story goes there isn’t much of one until much later. At first you are simply the best person for the job at hand. Later though you will need to deal with a potential infiltrator among other things.
The voice acting is average and not very exciting, but it serves its purpose just fine. You begin every mission of the campaign with a small ‘city’, and you need to provide your colonists with everything they will need to survive.
They need to be fed, entertained, given jobs and catered to as much as possible. Making sure the air quality is as high as possible is one of the best ways to keep them happy. Also, these guys and girls hate being unemployed.
They will stage protests outside of their apartment buildings and give you an ear ache whenever you are close. You gave them jobs? That’s great, but they also hate travelling too far, so placing tunnels close enough between their home and job is a must.
Heath and Safety
For the most part, it’s quite simple to keep them happy, but the real challenge comes when faced with plagues and infections. A toxic gas or creep spore can really screw up your colony if you aren’t adequately prepared.
There are quite a few environmental hazards to deal with in the game. You will be bombarded with storm shards, lightning and even a giant sandworm which will spit acid at your colony! The game does a good job of walking you through all of the things you will need to improve your colony and keep your colonists alive.
You are given smaller missions all the way through each main campaign mission to help you out, but they never really let go of your hand. You can simply follow the mission details and end up completing that section no problem.
Of course, you can do your own thing too, but some of these successful missions will give you a reward. You will get a choice of more immigrants, maybe some corn or nanites, which are the games currency. These are what you will use for building and even trading.
Where’s my money?
To gain nanites, you have to mine iron and copper deposits and then convert them. If you are smart, you will end up with thousands of them in a short amount of time, but if you are like me you will waste them all on your first mission and have to start over because you can’t build anything else.
Speaking of nanites, I am not sure if this was a glitch or I screwed something up. At one point my nanites just dropped to 0 and would only ever go up to 5 and then immediately drop back to 0. If this was a mistake, then the game didn’t point out what needed to be done to fix it. This was odd because the game has no problem telling you when the air is getting low or you don’t have sufficient power in your colony.
If you tire of following the rules of the campaign, the game offers a ‘free play’ mode with a whole bunch of different options. You can start with a healthy amount of nanites too. This makes it easier to keep your people happy, and reduce the amount of times you will be hassled with those pesky environmental hazards.
Being able to lift the restrictions of the campaign really helps you construct your dream space city, within the confines of the game of course.
I enjoyed my time with Aven Colony. Being a simpler city-builder I was able to get to grips with the controls and layout pretty quick.
Playing this game has now tempted me to pick up Cities Skylines next so this game was a big help in adding another genre to my gaming tastes.
Sure, it isn’t perfect, but it took a formula that just didn’t click for me before and gave me an enjoyable experience. Check out my scores below and don’t forget to Comment and Share.
About This Aven Colony Review
Developers & Publishers: Team 17
Gaming Platform: PC Games, PS4, Xbox One
Aven Colony Verdict
Graphics - 7/10
Game Modes - 7/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Fun Factor - 7.5/10