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Aven Colony - Game Review

I haven't played that many city building games or at least put a lot of hours into one but recently came across this on for around US$8. Think of Sim City meets Banished meets Tropico but in space. Well, on an alien planet that I assume is in space.

You start with the campaign with a variety of maps to choose from and each map will have its own resources, minerals and conditions to play in. You start off easily enough with the more difficult maps locked until you progress through the campaign mode. You will need to build and develop a hermetically sealed habitat and build your own farms to feed your colony as well as manufacturing plants, mills and other processing facilities.

You can also build a variety of drones which will assist you in building your habitat and maintaining order or cleaning up after a fungal spore attack. The drones are as follows:

Construction Drones - These expand your construction zone which you will need to do in order to be able to mine different ores such as gold and iron as well as pick up any jettisoned cargo pods from the colony ship which have useful resources contained within.

Construction Drone Hub

Police Drones - These maintain the crime rate in your city as it expands, citizens will have lower morale if there is too much crime in their area which will reduce their overall happiness and could mean a referendum loss.

Scrubber Drones - These drones will clean up any infected buildings that may have been attacked by plague spores so citizens can live and work in the building again.

There are also defenses which are required in protecting your city from any approaching attacks. There are plasma turrets which can shoot plague and creep spores out of the sky before they reach your city and there are lightning rods which protect your city from copping 10,000 volts of electricity in Winter where there are a high prevalence of electrical storms. The lightning rods also retain power for your batteries so if you have a drop of power in Winter you don't lose it all completely.

In order to survive you must maintain good air quality, water and also grow your own food and other inedible plants to make different medications and elixirs to ensure your citizens stay compliant and healthy.

One of the many Enhancer drinks that can be manufactured from a variety of inedible alien plants.

Farms are obviously a great way to grow food but this depends on the map you are on. Some maps are a frozen icy tundra where you will need to trade food for materials instead of growing them yourself which adds another dynamic to the game.

Many resources such as power, water, air quality, etc. need to be managed as well as storage capacity and houses that your immigrant citizens will need. All the different power stations, drone stations, farms and other buildings all require citizens to work in them and not having enough can have an impact. As an example, by not priority "filling" your power plant with citizens, this could result in all jobs in the power plant not being filled which means there is less power being generated to your habitat. You also need to ensure your citizens don't have to walk too far to their jobs otherwise they may become unhappy. All of these smaller details make the game a lot of fun.

There is also an Overworld map where you can send expeditions to explore the planet and pick up resources as well as points of interest which can result in additional supplies or perhaps a rebel ambush! The Overworld map is also where you can set up remote outposts for trading as well as other remote installations such as power solar arrays.

Other than the campaign mode which has 9 campaigns (+ 2 X "Holo-Sim's" which are tutorials and highly recommended) there is also a sandbox mode where you can play any map and build your city as you see fit. There are also 4 challenge maps which are areas more inhospitable than the campaign and recommended for experienced players only.

There is a story in campaign mode which is OK but not really that engaging or memorable for the player, the fun is in the game play itself and building your habitat to reach a certain goal. The campaign really is an introduction to each map and to get you used to the conditions of that map.

Overall I enjoyed this game as well as the soundtrack that goes with it, it's quite relaxing and is also quite the time sync. The campaign lengths can vary from 3-6 hours depending on how much you speed up the time to have things build and progress faster (I just run it on normal speed and watch the world go by).

Out of 10 I would give this an 8 and would recommend this game for any city building or resource management fans.

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