Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Colonists Gameplay Review

I'm playing The Colonists, a management simulation by Codebyfire and Mode 7 Games.

The game features two introductory missions, four without combat, and four with combat. You cannot skip missions and there are no randomized maps. Each scenario is designed to take a while to complete, as key resources are usually located on opposite sides of the map; this results in lots of monotonous waiting for resource transport, even at the maximum game speed. The crux of the game is the collection and distribution of resources, starting with the basics (food, logs, iron ore, clay) and working up the production chain to more sophisticated goods (bricks, books, bread, glass, arrows). Residences are used to produce energy consumed by every building, and structures can upgrade to produce higher-level goods. The buildable area can be expanded by placing watchtowers, and the combat-focused scenarios include hostile AI opponents. There is a lot of data contained in the game concerning resource input and output rates, and keeping resource delivery travel times low and making sure you are producing the correct quantity of goods is important for success. Most resources can be produced indefinitely once you find an underground mine (with a couple exceptions, like salt), but this still requires careful expansion and resource usage until you discover those key locations. There is a significant amount of waiting for resources to accumulate (especially if your network is inefficient, which it usually is due to the scripted resource locations); this results in dull, repetitive gameplay for about half of each scenario. While The Colonists has a satisfying core of resource production and distribution, the dull, drawn-out scenarios coupled with a lack of random maps restrict the enjoyment.