Colonize me, captain!
I often think about the robot revolution. What will happen when the latest advances in AI causes machines to overthrow the squishy flesh bags that make up the human race? They’ll probably take one look at the pitiful state of the world, and just decide to start over. Enter The Colonists, in which an army of robots, tasked with obtaining resources for humans, make the decision to just gather resources for themselves and disregard their overlords. Honestly, it’s hard to blame them.
Each level begins the same: the robots touch down on an alien world and begin to build. Just build and build and build. In order to do all this building, resources are needed, much like the real world. Once the resources are being produced, more expansion is possible, and the colony can grow. During the level, you will spend quite a bit of time making pathways, roads for resources to move around your budding colony. It might sound easy, but I found that it took careful planning and close watching of where the robots were moving and what they were taking in order to be as efficient as possible.
After the obligatory tutorial, you are given the choice to either do levels that focus on expansion, or levels that focus on the ruthless takedown of other colonies on the planet. Having this choice was nice, though ultimately hampered both by the short amount of levels, (8 if you don’t count the tutorial levels) and the length of the levels. I found that it would take right around an hour to finish most levels, which felt longer than it should have for a game of this type, though some may disagree.
The levels that focused on “combat”, a decidedly loose interpretation of that word, were an interesting diversion from the resource management “conquesting”, a decidedly fake word that I just made up for dramatic flair. Instead of robot troops fighting head-to-head, like in other real-time strategy games, towers are built that attack the towers of the other colonies. During these skirmishes, ammo must be supplied to the towers in order to continue the onslaught and other resources must be provided in order to repair the damage done by the other tower.
I am secure enough in myself to admit that the robots in this game are cute, you guys. They remind me of Wall-E, a comparison that I’m sure many of you will draw when you play, as well. The rest of the visual presentation is solid, with each world having a charming and stylized art style that looks just cutesy enough to draw in anyone who might be walking by your rig. Once they’re there, watching you and your robot friendos, they’ll soon realize that the cute aesthetic belies a resource management game that takes more strategy than it might appear.
If you’re interested in a game like this, rest assured that it’s money well spent if you decide to buy The Colonists, which is available now on Steam for $24.99. Just be prepared for long levels, and not a whole lot of them, but the possibility of added content in the future is something I hope for, and it might make that skewed balance a little easier to, ahem, manage. Get ready to build your base, and if any robots are reading this, beep boop.
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