The Colonists Review: Getting to the Nuts and Bolts
While many games set in the future might focus on the dangers AI consciousness poses to humanity, The Colonists makes robots just too cute to fear.
In this settlement/strategy/building game, you must help a spaceship full of adorable little bots escape enslavement on Earth so that they can build their own robotic society in the stars.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to achieve bigger and greater accomplishments to expand your city in various environments. You must help the bots maintain energy while avoiding running out of resources.
The game has a lot of fantastic characteristics, but there are also a few things to consider before you buy.
There are some quirky and lovable qualities to this game because of the art style and robotic citizens. Each of your bots has individual names that you can change, and it can be fun watching them bustle about the city to complete tasks and build monuments.
This is part of the charm to the game that separates it from other builders. Each bot has a specific task and different build to indicate their role in the community, making them easy to track and keep an eye on.
The Colonists, while cute, also has complexities and fantastic details when it comes to tracking the functionality of your new society. You can view statistics on the production of resources, efficiency, building upgrades, and research.
Despite all the amount of detail, anyone can easily pick up this game and play. It isn’t overly complex and tutorial pop-ups follow you along the way to explain mechanics and provide advice.
To keep you goal oriented with the development of your city, The Colonists provides simple objectives and tasks to work up towards. For example, one of your first tasks is to build a monument.
Once you review the requirements for such a job, you realize that you must conduct research and collect new resources. The goals are easy to follow but sometimes require a bit of time and strategizing to complete.
The style of gameplay is relaxing and a time burner that I enjoyed playing in between work or when I wanted to avoid work. It is perfect for a casual player looking for a bit of stress relief during the day and can be a great way to unwind. I became engrossed at times thinking about the next task I wanted to complete.
Better Suited to Mobile
However, it is the causality and ease of the game that causes it to have some downfalls. This is perfect for casual gameplay, which makes me think it would work best if it was a mobile app rather than only a PC game. While a player could still hop on their computer and play, it feels more suited for a mobile or portable device that I could pick up in my downtime.
I can imagine how it could be even more addictive to let your city build while you’re at work and hear a notification when your building or research is completed. There are plenty of building apps that are successful in this platform because of the game always being in the players pocket and accessible anywhere. The casual gameplay is great for this style and genre but could reach a wider audience on different platforms.
Conflict and Stakes
While I enjoyed how calming the game could be, I also craved a bit more tension or stakes. Unlike many society building games, there are no huge threats to your city other than when you eventually must fight other bots to conquer new territories.
For the most part, antagonism players will face is the lack of energy, resources, and space. This makes the game accessible and easy to play for anyone, but it also lacks a bit of challenge to drive the player forward. The goals do provide players with something to strive for, but it can be easy to forget to check up on your city when there are no significant or immediate threats to it other than running out of materials.
Not all casual building games need significant conflict to keep players interested though. In fact, many of my favorite builders I spent hours on as a kid didn’t have the threat of another player attacking my city or the loss of territory. I think back to classic builders such as Roller Coaster Tycoon or Sim City.
Similar to The Colonists, players had to use a limited space to build resources that help the production of a city or must acquire more land to expand. However, unlike these classics, The Colonists has a bit less customization options. You can upgrade your buildings, which changes the appearance and efficiency of the town, but there are no options to change the look of the buildings or the bots themselves. Most of the customization decisions will apply when choosing which locations, you would like to build and where you want to place them.
I did enjoy playing this game in my downtime and found myself attached to the adorable little bots as well as the cartoonish art style. But, it currently does have some limitations and player retention concerns.
If you play society building games and find yourself perfecting your city, you will likely enjoy The Colonist and appreciate ability to track every element of productivity. However, the game could have a greater potential on a mobile device, and as a player, I would have been more invested if there were a bit more customization options or stakes to my success.