By this point, it’s fairly common knowledge that I enjoy a good colony game that let’s me exploit a dislocated population for my own means. When I was playing Surviving Mars—let me check my notes—I established a colony using robot labor only for it to be consumed by alien anomalies. Alright, minor set back there. So then we went on to Siege of Centauri, where a colony was established outside of the solar system only to be consumed by alien anomalies. Well…I’m really feeling good about playing Autonauts then. A resource management colony game where you use a robotic labor force to create a colony developed by Denki and published by Curve Digital let’s see if I can establish a colony that won’t be consumed by alien anomalies!
The game revolves around automation. Everything that your initial builder robot can do with your instruction, you can program others to take over and do for you. Eventually at any rate. The game gradually scales your next requirements, requiring you to discover new technologies to improve your robots, letting you expand on your automation. The goal of the game is to eventually make a fully self sustained colony where the needs of your colonists are handled by your ever present robotic workforce. You won’t, at first, be able to just get away with a few robots however. As each robot in the start of the game can only handle simple tasks due to their incredibly small memory and each task or repeat instruction eats through your memory quickly.
Normally graphics don’t matter to much to me with any game that I play like this. So long as things are a step up beyond a blob of color, it gets a pass from me. So when I loaded up this game it was a bit jarring to see the rather “cutesy” and “simplistic” art style that the developers had chosen for this game. But it oddly enough works for what they’re doing. Items and creatures are easily identified regardless of how far out I managed to zoom the screen. Even the ground textures makes identifying the difference between an iron deposit and a coal deposit easy. So while the game might not win any graphic awards, they still achieve the goal of me being able to point at a random section of the map and instantly know what resources are going to be there.
With any resource game, there are the standard gating mechanics before you can rise to the next level. In the beginning, it doesn’t take long to start making an automated lumber group. It also doesn’t take long before you realize you have a workforce of two dozen robots, just to maintain a small tree farm. Thankfully, the gate to get past this one is relatively easy, just make a small apple farm to create colonists and…okay, so it’s the same problem, just doubled but once you’re past that you get to build better robots that are faster and can do more tasks each.
Which you’re going to need, since in order to properly exploit these humans colonists you grow them fresh from embryos and they’re completely incapable of caring for themselves in any capacity…oh dear god, this back fired quickly. This is the point where the game really feels like it bogs down the hardest and where I realized that I didn’t have a strong enough infrastructure in order to progress quickly through the game. But like most of these games, they’re all learning experiences where you improve for the next time you play.
If you’re a fan of games like Factoria, but you don’t like to have to handle the threat of constant alien anomalies nomming on your tech, then this game is definitely up your alley. Given that the only real gating mechanism is how much work you’re willing to put into your colony. It’s available on Steam and for the asking price it has a lot of replayability so it’s well worth the money. Oh, and if you’re wondering how I deal with any anomalies that this game might throw at me, I’ve contracted security out to these fellows.
I feel really good about this decision.