A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Teaches about things like resource management, strategic thinking, community development, handling crises. You'll need to use information provided to plan out how to keep your off-world colony thriving, its population happy.
Positive messages of community and teamwork as colonists work together to survive. Through your actions, strong themes of leadership, compromise, putting others' needs above your own desires.
Positive Role Models
Not much interaction with other characters outside of mission briefings. Colonists support your work, trust your decisions. By requiring you to make tough decisions that impact the community, the game pushes you to be a better leader, role model.
Ease of Play
Lots of intricacies to learn, sorting through constantly changing status of your colony, its needs. Everything from power management to crop rotations to entertainment has to be adjusted on the fly while contending with shifting seasons, weather anomalies, attacks by alien lifeforms. Lots of variables that need to be tweaked; it can get a bit overwhelming.
Violence & Scariness
Minor violence, particularly when confronted by outside threats like giant sand worms, robotic "hover guardians" looking to wipe colony off planet.
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Rare use of light profanity (like "jackass").
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One building available is a bar, which improves happiness of colonists.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Aven Colony is a strategic city-building game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. Players are tasked with building and maintaining a futuristic colony on an alien world. They must navigate through many ever-changing statistics, keeping track of their colony's various needs and working on the fly to build a strong community capable of surviving the harsh off-world environment. There's some mild violence, with players forced to fend off alien threats with defensive structures. There's also some light profanity that occasionally pops up in dialogue.
Is It Any Good?
This deep and engaging strategy game is harmed only by its menu and stat flaws, which can be unnecessarily hard to navigate. Sometimes it's hard to look up in the sky on a clear night and not imagine living on some distant world, surrounded by strange new wonders and staking your claim to a piece of this vast universe. Aven Colony gives you the opportunity to do that, putting you in charge of building a network of settlements while facing problems new and old. While city-building games have been around for some time, most are content to dig deep into the minutiae of managing a city's infrastructure. Aven Colony adds a few quirks to the formula to keep players on their toes. One minute you're building a park or a mall to keep your colonists happy, and the next you're fending off an attack from ancient alien robots bent on wiping you off the planet. It can get a bit overwhelming, but the game tries its best to ease players into it. Playing through the single-player campaign mode introduces the nuances of managing an alien colony layer by layer, while still leaving things open to the whims of the player. In fact, not long after the first mission, you're told in no uncertain terms that, while missions are helpful, it's the safety of your colonists that should take priority. After all, you can always come back to fulfill a mission later.
Aven Colony might do a good job leading you by the hand early on, but it stumbles a bit once the training wheels are off. Navigating through the menus and sorting out what's going on with your colony is far from intuitive. It can get frustrating sometimes to start getting warnings about something going wrong but not be able to pinpoint where the issue lies because you're looking at the wrong stats. Not only that, but even if you figure out exactly what's going wrong, it's not always clear how to fix it. You might have plenty of electricity in your colony, for example, but you built something just out of range to get any of that necessary power. It doesn't help that the futuristic aesthetic of the colony causes buildings to blend together. Many times, at first blush, you can't tell an upgraded facility from a standard one, forcing you to waste resources on things you didn't need. Admittedly, this is an issue that passes over time as you get used to playing the game, but it's irritating enough that it could cause some less patient players to lose interest. If you're willing to invest some real time in learning the game, though, Aven Colony is a fantastic way to live out that dream of living amongst the stars.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.