‘Aven Colony’ Review: Big On Style, Light On Content

3.0
out of 5

Elon Musk has made it clear that he wants to be the first person to put a colony on another planet. Sadly, that appears to be in the distant future, but the recently released Aven Colony might scratch his itch for the time being.

Aven Colony, developed by Mothership Entertainment, puts you at the helm of a fledgling colony on a new planet, Aven Prime. Your goal is simple: give your colonists a place to thrive in the new world. You are required to satisfy a variety of needs for them, including food, water, electricity and air quality, all while trying to grow your colony as large as you can.


Aven Colony has two game modes: campaign and sandbox. The campaign leads you through a long and arduous story in which you’re required to set up several new colonies around a planet while also completing a series of tasks that will lead to your victory in each scenario. Sometimes your tasks will have you build a new power plant and other times you’ll be exploring the area around your colony with an exploration unit. The sandbox mode is a bit more relaxed. The objectives are fewer and you are able to play at your own place, building your colony as you see fit.

 

While there are a few dangers to look out for, like shards falling from the sky and poisonous spores that can decimate your population, the real threat in Aven Colony is the boredom that accompanies this colony management game. While you do get the ability to expand a settlement on an alien planet, a majority of your time is spent overseeing the production of food, water, electricity, etc. Once you’ve established your colony and gained access to all the resource you need, there is really nowhere to go.

This is due, in part, to the lack of options with the types of structures you can build.  While most structures can be upgraded, they have the same essential functions and only minor cosmetic changes. This leaves only two structures for agricultural endeavors, three for power generation and only two different water pump types. Entertainment buildings are even scarcer, with only a restaurant and a shopping mall as your only options. Seeing as entertainment isn’t too crucial to your colony’s success, this could be overlooked if the variety of structures was a little more robust in other areas.

Even though Aven Colony is a bit monotonous, at least it gives you something pretty to look at while you’re doing it. Each of the handful of environments the game offers are beautifully rendered and have their own unique charms. Unfortunately, this isn’t nearly enough to make up for the lackluster gameplay.

 

 

I got my hopes up when I first heard about Aven Colony, and maybe that’s why it feels so disappointingly underwhelming. I love city builders and I saw Aven Colony as an opportunity to play a game that was something like Cities: Skylines in space. Instead, I got a limited, but visually pleasing colony management game in which I was more concerned with building fans then exploring a new planet. Nevertheless, Aven Colony sets the foundation for what can be, with a lot of improvements, a fun city building game instead of the repetitive resource management game it is now.

Aven Colony is out now on Playstation 4, Xbox One and Steam. This review is based off a Steam review code provided by Mothership Entertainment.

 

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