‘The Colonists’ Reviewed: An Adorable Yet Complex Settlement Building Game

by Gary Catig

Real time strategy game series, The Settlers and Anno, have been entertaining players for over 20 years. The recently released, The Colonists, draws inspiration from both and serves as a fun new addition to the city constructing genre.

The concept is pretty simple. A group of self-replicating robots leave Earth and comb the galaxy hoping to find a place to call home and pursue their dreams of being human. In order to achieve their dream, they travel from planet to planet to establish a society.

The graphics are nice and sharp and lean more towards a cute and cartoony appearance. The various adorable looking robots perfectly match with the casual feel of the environment and gameplay. Combined with the soothing music and the mesmerizing effect of watching the robot minions carry out their tasks, The Colonists creates a very relaxing experience.

Don’t be fooled by the simple nature since there is a surprising degree of complexity and depth. As you progress, the number of upgrades and options grows providing a nice steady uptick in difficulty. You’ll rack your brain determining the most efficient layout and developing approaches to maximize resources. It’s easy to be caught up with managing the settlements of each level with time flying by so quickly. At points it can become a waiting game as you collect building materials and energy but luckily the speed can be toggled to make things faster.

There are several different modes including the main missions with two separate paths. One route focuses more on creating different metropolises with predetermined milestones to achieve. For those craving more action, the other path involves head-to-head duels against AI colonies to conquer the map. These missions along with the Sandbox mode deliver hours of entertainment.

However, there are some aspects that aren’t executed well. As you explore each map, the “fog of war” feature doesn’t make sense. The only way to open up new areas on the map is to erect towers to expand the line of sight but it would be more logical that as the city grew, so would the view. It doesn’t make sense to not be able to see what’s next to non-tower buildings.

Furthermore, sometimes when a city grows too large, the resources don’t properly ship to where they’re supposed to. It’s awfully frustrating to see an item that you have in excess not distributed to where it’s needed even when there are ways to prioritize delivery. This hurts double when advancing levels and achieving ranks are based off of time. Despite the gripes, they don’t take too much away from the game.

Overall, The Colonists is a relaxing and wholesome settlement building game that initially draws you in with the adorable aesthetics but keeps you hooked with challenging, addictive gameplay.

The Colonists is out now on PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch.

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