Aven Colony – Preview
PC, Xbox One, PS4
City builders are a fairly common sight, especially on the PC. Games like Sim City and Cities: Skylines have been letting players build their own functioning city for decades. But the new title from Team 17, Aven Colony, takes all the trials and tribulations of a city builder and puts an interesting spin on things. Players now not only have to manage their city and it’s citizens but also have to do so as they colonise a new planet.
Aven Colony is still a few weeks away from full release but the preview build I have been playing is already pretty feature complete and stable. I took on the role of colony leader and had to build a thriving new population center on a brand spanking new planet. Speaking of the new planets, they look great. They have a wonderful otherworldly feel to them evoking feelings of movies like Avatar and John Carter. Strange flora and fauna litter these planets and it was my job to utilise them in a way that benefited the colony. I was also able to mine resources and use natural features like geothermal tunnels to power the outpost.
Gameplay will be very familiar to anyone that has played a city builder before. Resource management is key and there are quite a few resource types to look after. Nanites, Power, Food, Population and Air Quality are the main things that need to be monitored. Drop down in any of these areas and problems start to occur rapidly. To go along with this, seasons play a huge part in this game. Each season affects how buildings produce, for example in winter solar panels only produce half the electricity and farms produce a reduced amount of food. This needs to be planned for and the seasons monitored closely because if it isn’t taken into account things can go from a-ok to citizens eating the wallpaper in the blink of an eye. The change of seasons can also bring natural disasters like ice showers and floods, all making life that much harder as the boss of the colony.
One thing I really appreciate in Aven Colony is the assistance it gives explaining the game’s mechanics. A lot of these sort of games tend to dump the player into the deep end with little to no explanation on how all the systems work together. With Aven Colony, however, there is constant guidance and logical explanations of these systems are but a button click away. I can see these features making Aven Colony the perfect starting point for someone that has never played this sort of game, a gentle introduction to a complicated game style. The game is being released on consoles as well as PC but I am not sure how it will handle with a controller. It is quite the complicated bit of gaming that works wonderfully with the precision of a mouse so translating it to analouge sticks might be a little bit of a worry. I am hoping that the devs can do it justice though.
In all Aven Colony is turning out to be a well put together city builder. It isn’t breaking the mold in drastic ways, but it is throwing a few wrinkles into the well-worn formula. It is, so far, well designed, perfectly controlled and looks great so the full release is showing a lot of promise. If this sort of game has ever interested you, even if you have never dived in before, Aven Colony is looking like a game to keep an eye on.
Aven Colony launches on July 25 and will be available on Steam, PS4 and Xbox One