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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
What's it about?
In AVEN COLONY, humanity has begun to explore the stars in search of a new home. Enter Aven Prime, a lush planet filled with all sorts of wildlife and resources, a seemingly perfect place to start again. As a colony governor, it's your responsibility to help build a new and thriving community in the unique environment. You'll need to build and maintain your settlement, manage your resources, and explore the new world, all while protecting your people from alien lifeforms, odd weather anomalies, and even each other. With the fate of humanity in your hands, will your colony collapse and fall under the weight of responsibility? Or will it prosper on this distant world and unlock the secrets it holds?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Team17 Digital Ltd.
- Release date: July 25, 2017
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Adventures, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Language, Mild Blood
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.