I really enjoy management style video games. My last real experience with one was Offworld Trading Company. When presented with the opportunity to check out Aven Colony for an impressions piece I was immediately intrigued.
The video game looked like a mixture of Offworld Trading Company with SimCity and I was pleasantly surprised at just how much fun I had with the game. Grant it, while I enjoy management games and builders, I don’t necessarily opt for the most complex settings which Aven Colony seemed to be finely tuned to my tastes right from the start.
Within Aven Colony, players take on the role of a Governor which essentially oversees the entire city and production. Despite starting off as a Governor, if your citizens find your decisions to be unsatisfactory, you’ll be voted out resulting in a game over.
During my time playing through the game for my initial impressions, maintaining the Governor status was relatively easy. Again, depending on your settings and campaign, may result in a more difficult time keeping your citizens happy.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about the basis of Aven Colony. Within the video game, players build a city that can inhabit citizens or otherwise known as workers. You’ll find that while being placed on a whole different planet, oil, copper, and other essential elements are still being mined in order to be broken down or transformed into energy required to power the overall city.
Though you’ll be mining for precious material within the grounds of your alien planet, there are several other aspects that are required attention. One of the biggest I’ve kept running into was food which meant adding more farmlands and greenhouses.
Maintaining these farmlands and much of the other structures you place within the city will require workers and power. There are a number of components that can be placed simply to produce power and most of them will be required. From solar panels to backup batteries, at the basic level of this game it’s crucial keep everything up on the grid.
Similar to other city builders available in the market, there are natural elements that will ultimately drive a wedge preventing you from further prosperity. For instance, the winter seasons will prevent solar panels from receiving sunlight, farmlands become unusable during these cold months, lightning strikes may destroy buildings, and alien bacteria can cause your citizens to become ill.
As mentioned, citizens play a big role in the growth of your utopia. Not only will they need a place to earn a living wage, but they’ll require housing, food, healthcare, and entertainment.
You might recall earlier when I mentioned that the citizens can hold a vote to prevent your return as Governor. It’s important to keep the citizens happy and that requires listening to their complaints. Depending on how well your city is thriving with the most basic needs such as electricity and food, keeping citizens happy may just be the inclusion of retail shops, bars, parks, and other normalcy found on Earth.
Of course, being the leader of this city does come with more important decisions than where to place a building or maintain growth. At times there may be a lack of food causing you to make trades within the market or simply requiring citizens to ration meals that will result in a bit of a rift with their overall happiness.
Perhaps you’ll find that your city is becoming too crowded which may mean a halt in immigration. Likewise, pollution may become a bigger issue requiring more air ventilation systems, or even crime could become rampant thus adding more law and order might be your next big challenge.
For the most part I enjoyed my time playing Aven Colony, but that’s not to say I didn’t run into any problems. This is still very much a beta video game and it shows at times. Getting the game to boot properly was something I had to overcome and at times there were framerate drops. These are issues that I can see easily being fixed over time and not anything that would likely show up when Aven Colony officially launches.
Notifications were another hindrance. It’s very much possible that I missed out on a setting to make their adjustments, but having the game paused to alert me of something in importance was a bit much especially if they racked up. Instead of several bacteria alerts pausing the game, I would have rather had the ability to make this notification something to popup while still being able to enjoy the game uninterrupted.
Overall, I think Aven Colony is a title well worth checking out right now in its beta state. Currently, the beta will cost you $29.99 to enjoy which you can read up on right here.
Disclosure: A copy of the game was provided for review.