Parents' Guide to

Aven Colony

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Off-world city-builder rewards patience with deep gameplay.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Is It Any Good?

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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.

Game Details

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