enfrdeitptrues

City Building

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Aven Colony
    Developed by: Mothership Entertainment
    Published by: Team 17
    Released: 25 July 2017
    Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
    Genre: City Building, Strategy Video Game
    ESRB: E for 10+ (Fantasy Violence, Language, Mild Blood)
    Number of players: 1
    Price: $29.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Thank you Team 17 for sending us a review copy of the game.

    Note: This review is based on the PS4 Pro version and might not look, sound, and perform the same on other consoles and PC.

    When you think of most city building games you may think of Sim City or City Skylines. However, Mothership Entertainment has brought gamers the same experience not just on one planet, but many planets with varying landscape, atmospheres, and more. If you enjoy Science Fiction and wished somebody would bring a city building game on vast worlds then you got your wish with Aven Colony.

    You are a governor of a remote colony. Your job is to turn a very small colony into a thriving and successful very large one. As governor you are trying to appease your colonists with work, safety, entertainment, and purpose. The very small colony you govern needs to be cared for by expanding, repairing and discovering resources. As you grow you will be given objectives that will reward you with a variety of items to help you as you expand.

    Aven Colony
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Aven Colony is simply a treat to play. Beautiful graphics. Top notch sound design.
    Weak Points: Tutorial is very well needed to master controls and colony construction.
    Moral Warnings: Foul language from time to time. Mild Blood. Scary science fiction creatures and fantasy violence.

    Growing your colony and making sure your population is happy and safe is an ongoing mission that will never end (well unless you're fired or your colony is destroyed). Every building can be upgraded to enhance its abilities. If you add a Drone Police for example it can be upgraded so that you can have more drones policing a certain coverage area. I really enjoyed the upgrading of my facilities and residential buildings even if it seemed to never end.

    As you build your colony you need to keep in mind things like air quality, drone building repair coverage, drone police coverage, distance for colonists to travel to work, and more. I found myself always checking on air quality and placed air vents all around my colony. Another thing that I kept in mind was making sure that my colonists didn't have to walk extremely far to either work or an entertainment area (bar and grill, park, VR center, and retail shopping).

    Aven Colony has other things you need to keep in mind that could cause problems for your colony. There are alien life forms and weather changes that are not pleasant for your colonists. I found myself creating an over abundance of windmills and solar panels so that my colony would have enough power to survive a winter. I also created a geothermal generator which helped produce electricity for my colony, but also blocked the geothermal vent it was placed on from sending a plume of nasty toxic cloud in my colony's direction.

    The game has really great graphics that will surprise you. From the sun reflections on the buildings and world vegetation to the way the buildings are designed. You know when a developer is really enjoying what they're working on when everything in the game is so well crafted. I loved how each building felt in a way uniquely designed that made it stand out from the other buildings. The windmills in my opinion are just the most iconic in the game. I tried to place where needed, and where I thought they looked cool. The drones might not seem well crafted until you zoom in and then you think "WOW" this developer really cares about every item in the game. Heck even the farms are well designed and look special.

    Aven Colony
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 90%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 82%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 7/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    In regards to sound quality it is top notch. I loved the ambient sound of each planet and the variety of sounds in the colony. For example when a lightning storm happened it could be heard throughout my 7.1 surround sound. If your colonists were not happy you could hear them protesting in the area of your colony they were protesting at. I also really enjoyed that when you start up the game a narrator talks to you and guides you on your training missions. Also quest givers have a voiceover as well which is a nice touch.

    You think a city building game with its controls designed for a mouse and keyboard would be a chore to transfer over to console, but not here. I used the tutorial missions to help me get a handle on the controls and did it without a problem. The developer again went the extra mile to make sure the controls were not in the way of having fun; thank you Mothership Entertainment.

    The only negative I would say that other gamers will be complaining about is that if you want to know how to play the game and use the controls you will need to go through the tutorial missions to get a fuller understanding of both (I always do the tutorials of any games that offer them so I can play the game more effectively).

    The game is very solid and well ported to consoles. I do wish that the game would have 1 to 4 player co op mode so I could play with my friends or a random group of gamers. Hopefully Mothership Entertainment could add this as a free update or if they make a sequel, bring it online and add couch Co-op to Aven Colony 2. For PS4 and PS Vita owners there is remote play which is a big plus.

    The foul language in the game wasn't a very common occurrence, however the word "jack*ss" is said in the game. The blood is very mild as the rating suggests. Like many RTS games, this one allows for your colonists to starve which will cause them to simply fall to the ground and lay there. I would recommend this for teenagers and above, but not for small children because of the fantasy violence and scary alien creatures, and what I mentioned earlier.

    I had a fun time playing this game and look forward to diving back in to make more colonies and see what other great surprises the game has in store for me.

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Cities: Skylines
    Published by: Paradox Interactive
    Released: March 10, 2015 (PC), April 21, 2017 (Xbox One), August 22, 2017 (PS4)
    Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and macOS
    Genre: City Building, Strategy Video Game
    ESRB: E for Everyone
    Number of players: 1
    Price: $39.99 (PS4 and Xbox One), $29.99 (Steam)

    Thank you Paradox Interactive for sending us a review copy of the game.

    Note: This review is based on the PS4 Pro version and might not look, sound, and perform the same on other consoles and PC.

    In an era of first person shooters, driving simulators, and MMOs, city building games are a rare breed. There are many gamers who played hundreds, if not thousands, of hours over several years perfecting their city building skills. SimCity was not the first but it was the most successful franchise in this genre. As it has lost its luster, fans of this genre have been hoping for a new franchise to come in and outdo the former city building leader; thus enters Cities: Skylines. This game has been an answered dream to many fans who have been waiting so long to play something that is so familiar, yet a little different.

    When I started Cities: Skyline I was a little nervous because I didn't know what to expect since I loved and missed the SimCity franchise. I was hoping for another installment in SimCity or a game that would bring that same enjoyment I had since I first played SimCity on Super Nintendo (still my favorite in the series). Cities: Skylines was what I've been waiting for these many years, and going by the sales of this new franchise (over 3.5 million) I would say that city building fans feel the same way.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Gently eases players into building your city. Helpful prompts throughout. Gorgeous graphics. Very nice sound effects.
    Weak Points:
    Needs more starting areas on each map.
    Moral Warnings:None.

    The game has you choose a map from several choices then you start slowly building roads off an interstate exit (so that your city is connected with the game world), sectioning areas near the roads to build into residential, commercial, or industrial. AI citizens will start building on these areas so that frees you up to build an electrical and water grid. The game offers so many choices in roads, specialty buildings, and more. I love how the game will notify you what the citizens feel about your city building job. I constantly found myself reading these to see if the citizens want a park or new police station or something else. The way citizens notify you is by "#" which appears in a constantly updated ticker on the top part of your screen.

    You know the game is fun and addicting when you spend many hours laying down road, adding more windmills, laying water pipe, and solving the latest citizen's needs without even realizing 3 hours or more has passed and you haven't got up to stretch or eat. I lost track in this game and I want to blame the developer Colossal Order for this. How dare they make a game that causes you to forget everything because you just have to expand and modify your city just a little more! I think my cat has lost weight waiting for me to feed her. So if you have kids, pets or work I would recommend you get an alarm clock and set it so you remember the real world.

    Seriously, this game is just pure fun and addicting. I hope that for the PS4 version the developer will look at bringing out more expansions to this amazing game (After Dark expansion is the only added expansion in the base game) (Please just don't tell my wife or cat that I requested more expansions).

    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 94%
    Gameplay - 20/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 100%
    Violence - 10/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    In regards to negatives, umm... well there really aren't any. The graphics are very excellent but not as good as say Destiny 2 or Horizon Zero Dawn. I enjoy the detail and many building types throughout the game. To me it seems there is far more variety than SimCity in regards to building and maps. The sound is very good and I enjoyed all the ambient sounds throughout the game (really enjoyed zooming into my city and hearing people, vehicles, and dogs barking (where are the cats meowing?)).

    I noticed no morality issues unless hearing and seeing little cop cars and fire trucks could frighten younger children of people playing the game. This game is very clean and family members of all ages will enjoy watching and playing it. I would recommend 8 or older, because of the need for math, reading, and comprehension that this game requires of gamers as you play.

    In closing, if you had fond memories of SimCity or other city building games and have been dreaming of a new city building game that does everything classic city builders do but with a modern twist then I would wholeheartedly recommend this gem of a game. Just make sure to not blame me when you look at your clock and hours or days have gone by and your mail is piling up in your mailbox.

     

  • Game Info:

    City Rain
    Developed By: Mother Gaia
    Published By: Ovolo Corporation
    Available on PC
    Relase Date: December 2009
    ESRB Rating: E
    Single Player with online score charts
    Retail Price $9.95

    Thank you GamersGate for giving us a review copy!

    City Rain is a unique city development game which is best described as an environmentally friendly Sim City meets Tetris. You’re job as an elite environmental swat force is to design eco-friendly cities with random buildings thrown at you. There are three game play modes: Campaign, Quick Play, and Block Mania. Block Mania is the most like Tetris where you have to quickly piece together building segments without destroying other buildings in place.

    The other two modes are more complex since you have to pay attention to details such as security, jobs, health, sustainability, leisure and education. In the campaign mode you work your way up the ranks of the Rescue And Intervention Non-profit (RAIN) organization. You must rescue cities on the WEPA blacklist and battle Bane Industries to keep them environmentally sound. After you save a city, you will unlock a new building/technology to use on future missions.
    Highlights:

    Strengths: fast paced, fun gameplay
    Weaknesses: Game crashes
    Moral Warnings: Nothing bad to report..very environmental activist friendly

    There are twenty campaign missions which get progressively more difficult as you play through them. When a mission starts you’ll see what objectives must be accomplished and what the reward will be. A couple of common objectives involve saving a certain amount of money and building specific structures like a garden, environmental police station, forest restoration sites and so on. If you’re fast, you can get a free move in before you see the mission objectives. I typically start off by making a land fill. Some of the missions are timed and others only allot you a certain number of turns. In either case you have to think quickly. There are two types of buildings, ones that you have to buy and others that are given to you. The ones that are given to you often give you a limited selection to choose from. You can select the buildings by scrolling your mouse wheel.

    The buildings that are forced on you include residences, shopping centers, factories, police stations, hospitals, landfills, schools, power plants, parks, and more. The structures you can buy include fire stations, water treatment plants, recycling centers, banks, sub ways, gardens, reforestation sites, environmental police, environmental headquarters, and so on. Many of the structures will boost the statistics; for example, the fire station will raise the security and the factory will raise the job meter. Some of the structures you can buy will alter the game play. For example the engineering tower will allow you to stack even more buildings on top of each other. With the engineering tower in place instead of doubling the houses you can stack up to five and make skyscrapers. The Urban Development Center is a handy building that lets you go back without having to restart the whole mission. Usually missions have several scenarios so if you mess up and can backtrack to the previous scenario, that’s very helpful indeed.
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 78%
    Game Play: 16/20
    Graphics: 7/10
    Sound: 8/10
    Stability: 3/5
    Controls: 5/5

    Morality Score - 100%
    Violence - 10/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The quick play mode doesn’t have any objectives other than keeping your citizens happy, healthy, employed, and safe. If those status bars deplete, the game is over. Before you begin you can specify how large of a grid you want to work with and adjust other options as well. Just like the campaign mode, you can purchase special buildings to make your city thrive. If your score is high enough, your name will be listed on the online score charts.

    One thing that was frustrating was that this game would randomly crash on me. This is especially frustrating if you’re far into a mission and nearly completing it. I’m running version 1.1 and I don’t see any patches available to download.

    Graphically this game is 2D and is colorful and detailed. The game runs at a set resolution and there are no options to change it. Since the resolution was wrong for my LCD it looked a little blurry.

    The music is pleasant and catchy. According to the splash screen at start up, the tracks seem to be from premiumbeat.com. There is no voice acting but the sound effects are good.

    From an appropriateness standpoint there’s nothing wrong with this game. If you don’t have enough police stations there will be violence but you won’t see it happening. The environmental message is a little strong for my taste but that’s just me.

    Overall this is a cute and fun game for less than ten dollars. After you beat the campaign you can still do quick play and Brick Mania. You can even replay the campaign and see if you can complete the missions in better time. The online score board offers a nice carrot for those competitive gamers out there. If you like Tetris, Sim-City or the environment, I recommend checking the demo out.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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