There was much speculation about the Aven Colony before it’s release, whether it would provide us with a brand new refreshing city builder, or rather in this case, a colony builder. Or it would just be Sim City gone universal(literally). So, let’s dive into the phenomenon that is Aven Colony.
The game puts you in the role of a colony commander, who has to look after the welfare of the human settlement on alien planet named Aven Prime. As the game progresses, you will be able to expand your colony to tremendous sizes. There are a variety of unexplored terrains present for you that are just aching to be exploited. Scorching deserts, frozen tundras, lush green forests and alien wastelands, the game has got it all. The game also features a realistic day-night cycle and you have to base your action plan on it. For example, the solar panels can’t generate power during the night or the water freezes when the sun goes down, affecting your organic produce.
The structures in the colonies are connected by tunnels rather than roads, because obviously, which human could survive in the absence of oxygen. The first task you face in the beginning of the game is to get your colony up and running. A basic tutorial will help you to become familiar with the controls. Power generating structures which exploit the natural resources are probably the most important buildings in the game. Without them, your colony will definitely collapse due to some reason or the other. So it is always preferred to keep those guys at max capacity. The major influx of money is through trading. You can trade your surplus resources for the deficit ones.
The resources in the game have to be generated fast enough, often at a frantic pace, because they are consumed faster than they are generated. The Nanite is the most precious of them all. Used practically everywhere, make sure you keep your Nanite reserves well stocked and raring to go. Then you can focus on healthcare facilities like building infirmaries and hospitals to defend your population against alien plagues. Various internal security measures are available to keep law and order among the inhabitants. Do all this and you are guaranteed a victory in the elections. Avoid all of it and you may find yourself sacked by the citizens. Maintaining a good morale of your colony is of utmost importance.
As your colony starts functioning like one, the real challenge begins. You constantly have to monitor over numerous gauges to make sure that everything is in check. The residents of the colony begin to demand entertainment centres and recreational hubs. If their demands are not met, there is unrest among them and the satisfaction levels drop. This in turn affects the regular working of the settlement and things take turn for the worse. It doesn’t long for things to go downhill, and usually when it does happen, there’s hardly anything you can do to arrest the decline. As you advance deeper into the game, managing your colony becomes the main objective, rather than building and expanding. This is when the game begins to feel like a mundane chore, looking after somewhat pointless problems and micro-management.
There’s combat involved in this simulator. In the later stages of the game, you have to defend your colonies against alien invasions. Defense installations become a must. These attacks follow a repetitive pattern and the threats are quelled before they can cause any serious damage. Past a certain point, its easy to anticipate the nature and directions of an attack so the challenge in defending your colony slowly diminishes. The species of aliens vary from terrain to terrain, and there are quite a few of them that look fascinating to the eye.
Probably the most selling feature of this game is the single player campaign. Nobody had attempted it in a city builder before Aven Colony. Without spoiling anything, the narrative is solid and keeps you hooked for the entire fifteen hours of it. You discover the secrets of the alien world as you progress through the story. It’s better to follow the objectives set by the game, not optional though, if you want to steer your colony in the positive direction.
The graphics are sublime and crisp. You get to see the planet in all its raw and untouched state. The shadows and lighting schemes are beautifully implemented. The buildings and structures could have been designed with more imagination because for a Sci-Fi space builder, some structures sure look ordinary and could have passed off as a building on Earth. The gameplay is smooth and fluid, and the controls have been well integrated for the console version.
To sum it all up, Mothership Entertainment LLC’s coloniser-cum-builder at its peak, provides the best possible version of a SimCity-like simulator on an alien planet, with its own indigenous features. The gameplay has enough depth to stimulate the thinking part of your brain. And the single-player campaign mode throws at you a surprisingly well rounded and complete set of missions that make you explore every nook and cranny of the game. But after logging some hours, the management of your colony becomes a hassle and your entire time is spent on micromanagement and just pouring over several meters on the lookout for any catastrophe. And the alien attacks become more and more and more repetitive, making them somehow irritating. Though the game has its respective pros and cons, Aven Colony is a game that is certainly fun to play, and if you are really into tactical games, you might end up putting significant hours into it. The game has set the bar high for Sci-Fi city builders and this template certainly has a broad scope of improvement.
Mothership Entertainment LLC's coloniser-cum-builder at its peak, provides the best possible version of a SimCity-like simulator on an alien planet, with its own indigenous features.