It’s innate in every human being to have some desire to create, whether it be artistically or even scientifically. During our childhood many of our parents gifted us with tools to get us started, boys received the mighty action figures sets or lego blocks, while the girls received their dolls and dollhouses. From an early age we’ve began to construct ideas on how to build a world that feels right to us, that allows us to provide for other people and ensure the survival of the entire world we’ve designed. Aven Colony reminds us of those good old days of when we were children, being able to pick up whatever building blocks were around us and create a world that truly felt unique. The only major difference between now and then is that we have a better sense of how to manage things more effectively, but that natural essence of creativity still shines on. Aven Colony is a sci-fi city builder game where players can create their own living and breathing colony, and should they succeed in doing so will not only receive merit from the game but also a nice reminder that hard work will almost surely pay off.
What to Expect
Anyone who grew up in the era of sim titles (Roller Coaster Tycoon, Sim City, etc) will find themselves right at home with Aven Colony because it follows the same premise as the aforementioned titles, but instead of using the present time as its canvas you now must travel to the far distant future where the habitat is different, and humanity has evolved in many ways. Every tool is at your disposal and learning how to use them effectively will be your number one priority. Expect to go through a lot of trial and error in the beginning because let’s face it, building a colony from scratch isn’t a walk in the park and making sure that your civilizations don’t die from starvation can be an emotional rollercoaster over time. There’s a lot to be responsible for since it’s really your own creation and so being constantly aware of what infrastructures need to be upgraded, or even recycled, will take some getting used to. The preview build gave us a few missions to embark on with its Sandbox mode being the place where you’re pretty much free to do whatever you please, but we’ll go into more detail about these later on. If you’re new to city builder type games not to worry as Aven Colony comes well equipped with a great tutorial that runs you through all of the options available, with pretty good voice acting to top it off.
As you could probably tell by the previous two sections, we really love Aven Colony not because of how in depth it is, but because of how expansive it is. When we jump back in time to those days when sim titles were at their peak, they provided players with plenty of depth but due to technical limitations they lacked in expansion which eventually led to a restricted flow. The parks or cities that we’d build would feel constricted and due to limited space we’d have to sacrifice a lot just to earn more. This isn’t the case anymore it seems with Aven Colony since technical advancements have now allowed us to create larger open worlds, and so all of our creative ideas will not be confined to just a small area on a map. Planets such as Sandy Gulch are incredibly beautiful to look at with its array of hues, mixed in with some wildlife to create this beautiful contrast. It certainly reminds of us Earth but with a little more sci-fi zest, and you’re pretty much in control as to what takes place. So let’s start off with the missions since they provide players with a great base to play with, and room for error can be made since you could always start over again should you screw up.
We highly recommend diving into the Holo-Sim training module because it really gives you a great overview of all the tools you have, what their uses are and how to benefit from them in the long term. As we mentioned earlier in the article, there’s voicing to go along with everything so you feel more comfortable going through each task as you’re being guided through. Once you’ve understood all of the minor and major details then choosing between Vanaar and Sandy Gulch are your two starting mission choices. Vanaar is a basic mission that pretty much allows you to get better acquainted with everything you’ve just learned, and so a lot of your objectives will start off pretty easy for example building an outpost to house civilians. As you dive deeper into the game it will let you know that missions will become optional, and that you’re free to do as you please the more you play.
Now that the full build is in our hands, we can talk more in detail about what else there is that Aven Colony offers, such as diving into Azara Falls and the other beautifully crafted missions the game provides. The premise of the game still remains in the other stages but what really grabs your attention is that each time you progress, there’s a new element waiting for you to discover. Whether it be building lightning absorbers to prevent detrimental damage to your colony or learning how to handle the constant influx of new immigrants, there’s always some intriguing aspect behind it all that makes diving deeper into everything so incredible. Without spoiling too much, we must say that Tenari Glacier is one of our favorite maps to play in campaign, but where it really shines is in the sandbox mode where you can pretty much do whatever you please.
The reason we loved it so much was because unlike the other maps where you deal with the obvious elements such as rain, it’s not very often that we humans live in a frozen tundra and need to scavenge for whatever we need to thrive and that very element is what makes playing on that stage so fun. There’s always a surprise waiting for you whether you’re prepared or not. Let’s talk about missions a little bit more in detail. Missions are pretty much a primer to get you started and once you’ve grown accustomed to your tools then your canvas is ready to be painted on. Once the training wheels are off then that’s when the tension starts to kick in because now there’s no one to guide you by the hand as to where to properly place buildings, whether or not to build more habitat for immigrants, or recycling old buildings to keep your Nanite resources high.
Before we go further, we want to talk more about Nanites as they’re the main resource of the game, and without it you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to creating your own fully functioning colony. Everything that you need in order to sustain a functioning colony solely derives from Nanites, and so in the early phases of building your colony more attention needs to paid towards building Mines and Nanite Processors so that you can generate more Nanites. You can’t have one without the other since Mines help to dig up iron and copper which in turn give the Nanite Processors the energy to create more. Some Mines such as the Laser Mine can dig up materials faster but can also destroy them within the process, so picking and choosing the most effective method for economy growth is so imperative. We admit that our first shot at building our own colony failed miserably, with our entire population dying from starvation within 2 hours of us building everything. The cause? Well, we had a plethora of Farms and Greenhouses to supply food, along with increasing trade with other colonies to bring back Barley or Quinoa, but the lack of electricity pretty much destroyed everything and before you know it people were falling left and right. Running your own colony isn’t easy but the sheer feeling of being able to see your own creation evolve in front of you is an endearing experience, and it can truly help to develop stronger cognitive abilities in the long run. Drones are also important since they’re the ones who actually build everything for you, so making sure you have enough of them is imperative as well.
It teaches you to be better prepared for the changing seasons, ensuring that your civilians have places to live, eat well and are employed, maintaining positive morale and also learning to solve problems on the fly. These real life scenarios can really help to develop situational awareness and throughout the entire ordeal you start to see changes in your overall behavior. Instead of blindly building structures just for the sake of building them, you now start to consider the repercussions of what could happen should this building lack power, or instead of welcoming an abundance of immigrants in you now need to consider your living conditions. All of these issues will certainly be thrown at you and so your ability to deal with them effectively is paramount to the longevity of your colony’s people.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
July 25th is just around the corner and honestly this is one of the best city simulation titles we’ve played in a long time. The platform we played on was PC and it ran incredibly smoothly with very little hiccups. Mind you we’re running with a gaming PC so if your video card is a little dated then perhaps changing the in game settings may help to alleviate any issues. With all the missions now intact and every sandbox is available to us, Aven Colony truly feels like a polished game that will surely impress fans of the city building genre. Hopefully there will be some sort of DLC content at some point but is it really needed now? Not really, since there’s a handful to do with what’s currently available. If you want the best out of the game we highly recommend going with the Sandbox mode since you’re able to customize certain options like the difficulty level, how many Nanites you’re limited to, etc. It’s a test to see just how far you can go with very little and that’s where so much of the fun comes from, is challenging yourself to see if you take it one step further than before.
Unique visuals and atmosphere.
Nice voice acting to along with great tutorials.
The missions are simple to understand and is very rewarding. (I reworded this)
The challenge is certainly very enriching.
Not everyone will enjoy city building games.
Honey's Final Verdict:
In the end Aven Colony is one game that will be on our wishlist, and come July 25th I’m sure you’ll wishing to play it too! We hope you found our impressions to be endearing and useful with regards to whether you buy it or not. We certainly recommend this to those who love building things from scratch, who enjoy a little sci-fi thrill, but most importantly who love to be imaginative. You don’t necessarily have to be a fan of the genre, but just being able to pick up that paintbrush and start painting will only remind you once again of those childhood days when you had the freedom to create just about whatever you desired.
As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!