Simulation games are the genre that mostly gets forgotten when it comes to the consoles, fortunately this seems to be changing with the Playstation 4/X Box One. The latest release is Mothership Entertainment’s Aven Colony, is it out of this world or firmly grounded? Read on to find out!.
Ground control to Major Tom.
Aven Colony tasks you with building and maintaining your own Colony on an alien planet far from the home pleasures of earth. The game features 2 main modes, Campaign and Sandbox. Sandbox is build as long as you like with no restrictions where as Campaign follows a loose narrative about the colonization of an Alien Planet, introducing you to all the various features and obstacles in your way.
Visually Aven Colony is a treat, the alien planet looks vibrant and the buildings are something straight out of Cyberpunk. The Alien Planet is desolate and mysterious really helping carry the Sci-Fi Vibe of the game. Though it’s not quite as good looking as it’s competitors Tropico and Cities Skyline it does have it’s charm and certainly would please any fan of Sci Fi. One of my favourite effects during the game is when it hits winter and everything gets somewhat of a frosty edge and darkness, really sets the tone of being stuck in Winter on a desolate alien planet!.
The game’s campaign is fantastic in not only teaching you the ropes but also making you play in particular styles dealing in high pressure situations. One thing I really must point out is the game can get quite tough, quite quickly, it’s fun & tense and teaches you to plan for the long cold winter months which will drain your supplies quite rapidly.
The game controls very well on the Dualshock 4 which is always good when dealing with these types of games, initially it is a little daunting remembering which menu does what but after an hour you’ll be expanding the Colony all over with no hassle.
The frame rate for the game is mostly consistent until you either expand to a great degree or you’re hit with the poison gas which kills the frame rate and has on occasion hard locked my game. There was also a problem with auto save deletion so I would advise multiple saves (which tbh you should with this style of game anyway!) but beyond these the game plays well and handles like a dream.
So you’re happily building away, expanding and feeding your citizens, then comes along some alien species on the planet which starts destroying your buildings and draining your resources. Deal with that and then winter hits really straining you, you survive winter and then a gas cloud will hit and really push you towards the edge. Aven Colony is just tough enough to keep you on your toes and keep you engaged without you raging and turning it off, each disaster is manageable and once you’ve been stung you’ll prepare yourself for them.
You have the aspect of trading to consider, do you send off some of your excess food for more credits to outfit your colony with more entertainment or feel like a bad winter is coming so you need to hunker down? It’s these moments which really stick with me each time I boot Aven Colony up and to me calls back to the original Sim City on SNES.
Aven Colony also has one major advantage in that it released at least in the UK at a budget price, the amount of bang for your buck you get with this title is excuse the pun stellar. Looking back at previous saves and even the first tutorial mission took nearly 2 and a half hours so you’ll be playing this title for a good long while.
The Spiders from Mars.
Overall Aven Colony scratched two itches for me, it’s a fantastic Simulation title for the Playstation 4 & it’s a Sci-Fi Simulation game. The difficulty while rather high is quite engaging and the playtime is more than suitable for it’s price range. I did stumble across some crashes, frame rate issues and annoyingly game save deletion. Keeping them in mind I would still suggest this game, especially if Sim games are your thing and you are a little sick of the sun beach sands of it’s competitor.
Aven Colony (PlayStation 4) - 7/10
- Great for Sci-Fi fans
- Best sim game on the system
- Controls like a dream
- Too many bugs & performance issues
- Difficulty can be off putting
- Doesn't really shake the genre up
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