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Game Info:

The Colonists
Developed by: Codebyfire
Published by: Mode 7
Release date: October 24, 2018
Available on: Windows
Genre: RTS
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $24.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Mode 7 for sending us this game to review!

A group of self-replicating robots have stolen a spaceship from the humans and set off to explore the universe in order to achieve their goal of becoming humans themselves. While they don’t become living flesh, they do inherit our sense of pride and like to erect monuments of themselves. In order to construct a monument, they’ll need to research various technologies and master their terrain.

There are ten campaign levels and a sandbox mode to create your own scenarios. Ten levels don’t seem like a lot, but many of them last a couple of hours. The maps are not random, so you can take the knowledge of your previous playthrough in hopes of completing it again quicker or against tougher AI. In the peaceful missions, you can earn a gold, silver, or bronze medal based on how quickly you can erect the monument(s) requested. On the hostile levels, you can set the enemy AI difficulty to casual, normal, or hard.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Cute premise and fun gameplay; multiple AI difficulties
Weak Points: No multiplayer; repetitive music
Moral Warnings: The robots are thieves and produce alcohol; robot violence

At the beginning of each scenario, your spaceship will land and you’ll have to quickly secure some essential resources like stone, food, and wood. The spaceship will produce a little wood and energy but it’s quicker to collect your own. A lumberjack is needed to chop down trees while a forestry will replenish them so the resource becomes endless. At first, only a couple minerals like stone and coal can be mined from a surface mine. In order to mine other surface minerals and construct shaft mines, you’ll need to research construction and mining technologies with the workshop. I found it helpful to construct multiple workshops to stay one step ahead of the enemy AI technology wise.

Combat is pretty simple, but effective. Watchtowers are necessary to claim and view your territory. If a watchtower is constructed near enemy property, it will burn up automatically. Level two watchtowers can shoot arrows at enemy watchtowers. When a tower has collapsed, you can build a road or path to it to repair and claim it as your own. Once the enemy’s spaceship is in range of one your watchtowers, it too will combust and victory is yours.

On the first couple of levels, the land will be fertile and full of resources. In later scenarios, the difficulty ramps up and you’ll have to construct harbors, ships, and trading routes between multiple islands in order to collect all of the minerals needed to erect monuments. The last couple of levels take place in desert terrain with few areas suitable to raise sheep for food or apples for alcoholic cider. Why robots need food or alcohol is beyond me. Other than the alcohol and watchtower violence, The Colonists is pretty clean.

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

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 94%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

While most of my experiences playing this game have been positive, I do have a couple of nitpicks. With some of the scenarios lasting several hours, a wider variety in background music would be nice. The autosaving is great and I had to rely on it a couple of times to undo a mistake or two I have made. The game does slow down significantly during the saving process. I did experience one glitch where a lumberjack got stuck on a mountain. I had to destroy and re-create the lumberjack to correct that bug.

There are a lot of opportunities to micro-manage and whitelist/blacklist various resources throughout your islands. While the default AI decisions work, they are far from optimized. Trade routes are very simplistic and will bog down your main harbor if left alone. Resource allocation is a bit wonky as well as buildings waiting on resources seem to be waiting from only one source and will ignore other suppliers that have the requested item readily available. Maybe the developer will tweak this in a future patch. There have been several patches since release and it’s nice to know that they care and quickly answer questions posted on the Steam discussion forums.

The levels are very colorful and the graphics are decent. As your civilization grows the buildings do get more difficult to tell apart. On the menu and loading screens the robots are rather cute and are very similar to Wall-E. While playing the game you won't be able to look at them in detail, but I like how each robot gets assigned a random name.

In the end, The Colonists is a cute and fun game that provides the “One more turn!” syndrome. I have gone to bed too late several nights playing this title. With that said, I still feel that the $24.99 asking price is a bit hefty for ten levels. After completing the campaign I found little reason to play the sandbox mode. I enjoy a goal or an enemy to vanquish. Online multiplayer would be a welcome addition and would justify the asking price. Until then, I would recommend holding out for a sale.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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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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