Since my ‘first look’ at Avan Colony which you can find here, I decided to now give the game a review – Aven Colony is a City-Building game similar to that of SimCity and Anno series. It’s is heavily Sci-fi based as it is set in the future and on another planet, it also has elements of strategy integrated into its gameplay. It tells the tale of humanity’s first colonization of a new world beyond our solar system. The game is avialable for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The concept of the game is quiet simple and easy to jump into. Your tasked with building a colony on a new world and have to maintain order to make sure that your colonies can survive on this new world away from earth. You’ll have to build farms and mines to make sure you can get resources for your colony as well as making sure that there is something for your colonies to do whether this be going to a bar and grill or the VR centre for some down time. The game allows you to build your colony your own way and to expand it anyway you see fit. Just make sure not to slip up because if you do you’ll be kicked out of office.
The story for Aven Colony is nice and simple. You are basically a colonist colonising a new planet that has been discovered. Aven Prime which is an alien planet of deserts, tundras and jungles will become the new home for you and your fellow colonists. Its light years away from Earth and it’s your job to make it a thriving colony by building infrastructures, managing your resources and of course making sure that everyone who is living in your colony are happy and healthy. You don’t really have a character, you play as yourself, though you do have familiar faces popping up every now and then giving you new objectives and making sure everything is going well. The game would in my opinion be aimed at any type of gamer, new to this type of game genre you can still pick it up as you can set the difficulty too easy but then it has the option for you to make it harder which caters for those hardcore city-builders enthuses that really like a challenge.
I love the fact that in this game most of the dialogue between characters is voiced. You will have to do some reading when it comes to the mission objects though for the most part the characters will speak to you and guide you through certain parts of the game to aid the player. The soundtrack is relaxing and nice to listen to while playing and you do get the environmental noises such as the wind, storms and drones which help bring the game to life and make you feel like you’re on a new planet and that there is some advance technology in the colony.
Graphically I’m happy to say that the game looks beautiful and for once I’m able to run a game at its best specifications on my pc. For those wondering what my specs are you can find them below:
My Rig setup is:
- OS: Windows 10 64bit
- Processor: Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5GHz
- Memory: 16GB Ram
- Graphics: KFA2 GTX 660 2GB GDDR5
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 2TB
The game offers three different terrain types, these being tundra, deserts and jungles landscapes. Each with their own selling points. The jungle maps look amazing and full of colour and plant life where as the snowy maps are very plain and hardly anything grows there. The levels really capture each ecosystem really well for the planet and brings a sense of diversity to the way each map can be played. The UI is easy to navigate round and you can pick it up within seconds where everything is. This allows for you to feel at home with the game and move through it without getting lost in endless menus or hubs.
The game is very easy to pick up and play. Like I mentioned before there are two modes, campaign for the player that want a story and narrative and a sandbox mode for the players that want endless hours of gameplay and building colonies at their own leisure.
The navigation in the game is quick and simple just move your mouse around and the camera will follow. Zoom in and out using the mouse wheel and change the angle of the camera by right clicking the mouse. I didn’t have any frame rate issues while zooming round the map and changing the angles of the camera so that’s always a bonus.
The core gameplay are is what you would expect from a city building game. You build houses so that your colony can live on the planet, you will need to build farms that grow and support the colony, I mean everyone has to eat right? To grow food you have two types of farms, there is the standard farm and greenhouses. There are many different types of food you can grow and depending on your location can depend on how quick it will give you food or if you can even grow it in the first place.
There is a weather system in the game too. For example while I was playing the jungle maps it will hit winter every now and then and in this time frame your crops will only grow in greenhouses and your solar panels will not produce a lot of electricity, but there are ways to cope and you must prepare for winter as it is coming. Being on an alien planet doesn’t come without its flaws, whether that be the nasty spores that damage your buildings or the ones that spread new diseases into your colony. It always help to make sure you have a hospital at hand for these occasions, not only does this keep your colony safe and healthy it helps when a referendum comes around.
There will be times when a storm will hit and if you haven’t got the right defences your colony is at risk, luckily if you build lighting town it will divert the strike of the lighting and supply you with some nice juicy electricity, just make sure you build battery generates to store that. Some maps have giant worms and others will have spore like aliens that will try and do damage to your colony, so again you can build turrets and little drones to keep your colony safe from danger. You can also build immigration centres, trade hubs and expedition centers’, doing so will allow for people to come live in your colony, trade things with other colonies and send colonies out on expedition that could potentially benefit you in some way, whether it be more resources of more colonists.
The level of detail in the game is good because you have to make sure you have resources like water and clean air in the colony so that people can live as well as the right mining equipment to mill and gather the resources you need to survive. The last thing I would like to mention for the mechanics is that each map plays out differently and comes with their own challenges. For example the snowy map barely has any areas to farm decent food so setting up a number of trading hubs benefits you as you can have an income of food, and the other is referendums. The colony can keep you in power or vote you out which is basically a game over. If the colonies are happy with your performance you will stay in power but if they don’t like you for whatever reason, you have a chance to change it and get them back on your side. It can be anything from having to commute long distances for work to lack of police drones in the area and crime is on the rise. Though don’t threat as all this can be viewed in the bottom left of the UI. Under overlay modes, you can see the data that allows you to inspect the different types of information in you colony. If you select the colony control panel you will get an even more in-depth look at the colony and how it’s running. You can change policies and power rights in here. For example you can make the colony ration there water and food, stop them from switching jobs or stop people leaving or coming into the colony. All this information allows you to keep track of your colony and make sure it’s all working in tiptop shape.
With these types of games there is a lot of replay value. If you’re an achievement hunter then of course you will get your playtime from trying to get them all but not only does the game offer a campaign that is made up of a number of levels and allows you to change the difficulty to make things hard, you have a sandbox mode that offers you to play at your own leisure. You can pick which map you would like to play on and how the level will play out. For example setting the starting resources as low to make it harder to get started or maybe setting the morale of your colony to very hard so it’s hard to keep everyone happy. Just changing these small things can make for a different gameplay experience and allow for more hours of gameplay. So you can really get your money’s worth and enjoy a city builder game whether you’re a hardcore player or causal.
Aven Colony has shaped itself up well with the other city-building game that are on the market today. Its offers a Campaign mode with a good story line and an array of different objects to help mix it up a bit as well as having the sandbox mode that allows for endless, customisable fun. You can set the game to just your liking which is good for casual gamers that like these sorts of games in your down time. The games core mechanics that allow you to manage your colony, really makes playing the game enjoyable as well as trying to fend off the local aliens of the planet and new illness. I can defiantly say that from what I have played before the release of the game that I would highly recommend it to people who love these types of games.
Sure I would recommend it to people who might not know about city-builder games though it wouldn’t be the first one recommend. Aven Colony feels like it is lacking something when compared to Sim City or the Anno series. When I played Anno 2205 the game looks beautiful and had a lot more to offer. With Aven Colony you have building and that but you don’t really have a variety. You have one building that can be upgraded three times to make it produce minerals quicker or to house more colonist. It would have been nice to see more buildings that would offer more gameplay mechanics to add to the overall colony. Maybe more down time buildings or natural disasters that you have to try and overcome due to being on an alien planet.