Reviews - Updated on April 13, 2022

Space building games are rare. Of the relatively recent ones, perhaps Anno 2205 comes to mind, where they give you the opportunity to develop a lunar base in order to extract resources there. And partly Civilization: Beyond Earth, which is not so much about construction, but about the war for a place under the sun. The rest is completely off. That’s why the release of Aven Colony is perceived with enthusiasm. Especially if you are promised complete control over the development of the colony, the cultivation of non-food crops, the fight against local life forms and the growing discontent of the settlers – well, just space Maascantier.

Who lives at the bottom of Aven Prime?

Imagine: you are the director of an outpost of humanity on a distant planet, from where corporations intend to pump out vitamins and minerals. Where will you start? From agriculture, the fruits of which can feed the newcomers, or is it from the extraction of metals that go to the production of nanites – devices for erecting buildings? Or maybe it’s better to take up energy, because nothing will work without electricity: the filter that turns the planet’s poisonous gas into air will die out there, and the production of food additives will stall here. In fact, Aven Colony offers to do everything at once – regardless of the selected game mode.Aven Colony game review

Full Roleplaying Big Brother: By switching to the cameras, you can follow each villager.

It’s just that in the story campaign, all locations, from deserts to snow-covered glaciers, are passed one by one and under wise guidance from orbit, and the “sandbox” mode opens up much more scope for creativity. Choose any card and develop as you like. But then don’t complain about the starvation that killed half the colonists – without the adoption of a special policy, they will not be able to pack their bags and get away with the next flight. Or the fact that an infernal fungus has penetrated the ventilation and destroyed vital buildings. Stamp farms instead of greenhouses in the cold zone and find out how much a pound is dashing? Classic.

Aven Colony has everything a decent city building sim needs. And accounting for citizens with the ability to monitor everyone, and setting the priority of jobs, and improving almost all buildings in two or three steps. You can choose what and in what quantities to produce or grow in the beds, as well as where to put it all later.

New colonists arrive through the immigration center, who need to be settled in their homes and supplied with the necessary: ​​we are building a park here, an entertainment complex there, and here is a snack bar. The trade shuttle carries goods to orbit and back. We have to puzzle over the ways of communication. Plexiglas tunnels that serve as roads (you can’t survive in the open) have a certain capacity. That is, if you connected the sleeping and industrial areas with just one transition, expect problems.

Aven Colony game review

“Hi, I’m your neighbor. Be quiet.”

It’s all as great as it is standard. So, in addition to the usual mechanics for the genre, the developers from Mothership Entertainment added ingredients to taste. For example, on Aven Prime, the seasons change – just like in Endless Legend. In the summer, solar panels and farms are laid out to the fullest, and with the onset of winter they turn into useless trash. Even generators powered by fossil minerals or fumes from under the ground slow down, and the yield of seemingly frost-proof greenhouses drops sharply.

Quests are wedged into the measured course of days. They are simple: build a structure, send an expedition to signal for help, grow a colony to so many inhabitants. But for the performance they give a reward – why not get hold of free nanites or food? On an alien planet, the discoverers encounter elemental forces like meteor showers, as well as bizarre creatures. Either a worm will come out of the ground, as if descended from the pages of Frank Herbert’s Dune, or bubbles with poisonous spores will fly out of nowhere. The politician completes the picture: the list of laws includes a restriction on the consumption of water and food, a ban on changing one’s place of residence and work, and even forced labor overtime. True, happiness cannot be ensured by draconian measures for everyone and everyone, therefore laws are adopted only by the one for whom they vote. And to be an effective manager, you have to compromise.

elusive beauty

Despite the bold decisions and unusual setting, Aven Colony is not what it seems. Judge for yourself. Far away parsecs from home, people are dealing with exactly the same thing that they drank heartily on Earth. They need something to eat and drink, somewhere to live, somewhere to go to have fun and take a urine test. And although some functions like construction, pest control and law enforcement are shifted to the titanium shoulders of robots, this does not change the essence.Aven Colony game review

This is what an epidemic looks like: it not only kills people, but also destroys buildings.

From quests you expect wonderful discoveries – for example, the opening of aliens or the discovery and use in the household of an artifact left by another intelligent race. Yes, anything, even if it were plots brazenly torn from the books of Sheckley (Robert Sheckley) or Heinlein (Robert Heinlein). But such a dull variation on the theme “fly there and see what is flashing there” is probably not in any other strategy. That is, something interesting, of course, is happening – say, the rescue of an astronaut in distress or an attack by pirates. But it always remains behind the scenes, and the player chews on a dry summary.

What are scientists researching on Aven Prime? Not the technologies for building megastructures, of which there are only two and which, with the proper number of nanites with kilowatts, can be built even tomorrow. Not viruses based on local cultures for some kind of global war on Earth. Not star maps left by aliens in the caves of Scotland. No. Scientists here invent food additives. We flew into space, and ended up in a cannery. The system of politics is also far from being a masterpiece. If only because you can do just fine without it. You can grow a tight-knit colony of a thousand settlers and never pass a single law.

Giant worms, which, judging by their appearance, should destroy half the city in one fell swoop, turn out to be more harmless than flies. This one will crawl out of the hole, look at the little people, spits on them and crawls away. Of course, the developers did not promise epic battles with these creatures, but why can a small infection like spores be able to annoy an unprepared player, and such a hefty monster serves as a decoration? In other words, if you take out the bizarre architecture of buildings, the game does not stand out from other representatives of the genre.

Here is a vivid example of a work whose authors chased two rabbits: they took the traditional mechanics of the genre and tried to instill in them something of their own. As a result, the first part feels truncated, and the second part does not work as it should. And here the question arises: is it worth taking Aven Colony, given its current cost? If you expect space romance and survival in unfamiliar conditions from the game, then pass by. But those who like to perform monotonous actions to relaxing music, who lack this at work in the office, will find refuge on Aven Prime.

Pros: meditative urban planning in the tradition of the genre; nice music and design; there is a translation into Russian; you can look at the sandworm from Dune.

Cons: No sci-fi feel; monotonous tasks; the flora and fauna of the planet is depressing.

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