#Aven Colony, developed by Mothership Entertainment and publisher by Team 17, is a science-fiction, city-building, management simulator. The game, which is available on #Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, was developed by only a four-man team of industry veterans. As part of the #Review copy of the game on Xbox One, I had access to the tutorial, the first two campaign levels (Vannar and Sandy Gulch) and the game's customized Sandbox mode. The game is single-player only.

The Campaign and Story

The campaign for Aven Colony features two very short tutorials called Holo-Sims and has 9 total campaign missions. The Holo-Sims teach you the very basics of the game, but throughout the first mission, the game steady introduces you to many new features like how to use chemical plants or fight off creep attacks.

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Through each mission, you will also get a steady list of objectives to complete which give you key rewards to support your ever growing colony. In order to complete each mission, you will have to grow your colony enough to unlock your final goal. In the first level (Vannar) that requires you to build the Earth History Center and then keep it operational for 1 sol period.

Missions are long, as it took about three hours for me to complete Vannar and Sandy Gulch was even longer, with a bigger map. Upon completing each mission and achieving victory you have the option to continue playing if you want. If you choose not to, the game gives you a chance to look at in-depth stats on everything you did, from power to inventory and even how individual colonists were.

Throughout the tutorial and first mission, you are introduced to the five main characters that will relay the story and give you missions.

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Veronika Colton, Vory Markov, Kalandra Malik, Uros Predic and Jack Toren (who has a particularly amusing introduction). The story is relayed as you reach certain points through each mission, helping you learn more about the world of Aven Prime as you attempt to colonize its various locations. While it seemed straightforward, the story did leave me wondering more about what was really going on the planet.

Aven Colony's gameplay

Aven Colony has a lot of different aspects to learn about running you colony, from water systems to mega-structures. It does a good job over the tutorial and first mission of introducing you to everything in the game so that you learn how they work. Despite how much there is you never get overwhelmed by learning too much at once. The game lets you change has fast it simulates, as there is 2x, 4x and 8x speed. You can also pause the game from simulating, giving you time to look over a potential crisis situation or plan things out.

Most building types have tiers, with a tier 1 solar panel costing fewer nanites (building currency) to create then a tier 3 solar panel, although it will not be as effective.

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You can also upgrade most buildings, as well as repair them as they will get damaged from shard strikes or naturally wear down over time. Doing either of these will also cost nanites.

Once a population of 100 colonists is reached, there will be a yearly referendum, in which you have to get 50% of the vote to keep your job as governor. You have to make sure your colonists have enough living space, food, water, police presence, etc. to keep them happy. Managing and growing your colony is a fun experience, as you take pride in how much your colony truly grows. Overall the game is easy to learn but seems like it would take some skill to truly master on high difficulty levels or later in the campaign.

Positives, negatives and final review

Aven Colony seems long, as based on how long it took to complete the first two levels I would say beating the 9 campaign missions would take anywhere from 20-50 hours depending on skill level and difficulty. The game has good voice acting, with each character having a unique personality and some solid music. The gameplay was fun but may get boring and repetitive over long stretches unless you are a really big fan of simulation games.

Graphically the game looks very nice, with the chilling effect around the screen when winter comes looking very cool. It can, however, be difficult to locate a specific building, like when you need to find the chemical plant to make a specific item to export, once you colony gets huge.

If you have been waiting for a good simulation, management or city building came to come to Xbox One then Aven Colony is likely a game that you have been waiting for. Overall, Aven Colony was a fun experience and it was enjoyable to watch your colony prosper and grow while learning more about the world of Aven Prime. The game is very accessible and has enough depth to keep things interesting.

Final Verdict: 8/10