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Aven Colony preview

We take a look at the upcoming sci-fi city-builder.

© Team17 / Mothership Entertainment

Aven Colony is a sci-fi city-building and management sim from independent developer Mothership Entertainment with Team17 handling publishing. We’ve been spending some time with the early parts of the game ahead of the official launch next month.

In Aven Colony you take the role of a governor in charge of building a new home for humanity. The game is set on an alien planet called Aven Prime. This planet features a variety of environments including jungles, deserts and wetlands.

Your mission is to colonise the alien world to allow the human race to survive. This means tackling all the normal issues that you would face on Earth along with the many new challenges presented by Aven Prime. These include alien life forms, extreme storms and toxic gas. An additional challenge is that the planet had a low-oxygen atmosphere meaning all structures you build must be hermatically sealed.

The game features a single-player campaign mode plus a sandbox mode where you make the rules. There are many different difficulty levels available which let you tailor the game to your ability. As you get better at the game you can increase the difficulty to ensure the challenge remains.

Watch the Aven Colony console trailer below:

 

To get you started there are two optional ‘Holo-Sim’ missions. These act as brief tutorials and give you just enough information to get started. It’s perfectly possible to play the game by skipping these but they are worthwhile.

The first proper mission is set in an area called Vanaar. You can tackle the mission however you like but the game does also continually prompt you with suggestions in the form of missions to teach you how to progress. I initially found myself just completing these until I became confident enough to experiment on my own.

The main aim of building your colony is to survive. This means building the essential structures, ensuring they have power and managing the needs of your population. To build new structures you need Nanites which are processed from mined materials. All the building is done via drones which are able to move about outside.

The whole game is a balancing act where you need to carefully consider each decision you make. You start with a small population which is easy to please. As your population grows you need more residential structures for them to live in. You also need more food which you need to grow and water that you need to pump or create from the atmosphere.

© Team17 / Mothership Entertainment

Every structure that you build requires power so you need to ensure you have enough or structures will need to be turned off. You can generate power from geo-thermal vents, solar panels and wind turbines. Certain structures can affect the air quality so you need to create fans to filter the toxins from the air.

Structures need workers to carry out the jobs and are linked together with sealed tunnels. It’s worth thinking about the layout of your colony as careful planning allows the population to move around easier and brings the best rewards. Some structures can be upgraded to give things like new abilities, more capacity or bigger outputs.

A really interesting feature is how the seasons change as time passes. What you really need to focus on is ensuring you are prepared for winter. When winter arrives many of your power generating structures reduce their output. Similarly your farms are unable to grow crops so you need to have built greenhouses to keep the supply coming.

Once you get the basics in place then you can start to be a bit more ambitious. This includes building structures such as chemical plants, research centres and others for entertainment for your population. Bigger populations also need things like hospitals to keep healthy and police drones to keep crime at bay.

View some screenshots from Aven Colony in our gallery:

More ambitious still are spaceport structures to handle trade and immigration. You can export the things you make and import things you need. Immigration allows you to expand your population faster.

I haven’t yet had chance to tackle the later missions but am expecting to find more new features, harsher environments and tougher challenges. The different environments and hazards should change the way you tackle building each colony.

One concern I had before playing was how the game would work on console as these types of games tend to work best on PC. After spending a few hours with the PS4 version I was pleasantly surprised just how well the game works on a gamepad.

I’ve had a lot of fun with Aven Colony so far and look forward to the final release. I found it a really easy game to get into and it’s a rather relaxing experience. It’s the kind of game you can get absorbed in and lose hours at a time thanks to the addictive gameplay. Mothership Entertainment appear to be on the right track making Aven Colony an easy recommendation to fans of city-builder games.

EF will be bringing you a full review of Aven Colony when the game launches on Xbox One, PS4 and PC on the 25th July 2017. Players can pre-order the game now via the Xbox Store, PlayStation Store (EU only) and Steam to take advantage of a 10% discount and get access to Cerulean Vale, an additional sandbox map.

Check out the official Aven Colony website for more information on the game.

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