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Posted by GG Goblin On October - 17 - 2019

Colony building with your bot buddies.

When it comes to colonizing a whole new planet, video games have taken plenty of different approaches over the years. Most of the time this would involve getting the new colonists to do all of the hard work, but Denki and Curve Digital have another idea in their new game Autonauts, which is out now on PC. Their idea is to simply build a load of bots and get them to do the work, leaving the player to sit back and relax. Well, maybe relax is a little optimistic as there will always be stuff to do. But bots are the future, so let’s put them to work.


The player will begin by being dropped onto a newly generated planet. Things start pretty obviously, with the player having to find a stone and a stick to make a very simple axe with which to start chopping down trees for materials. At this point, the game looks so much like many other similar games with the player slowly collecting materials in order to build new tools to collect new materials. However, after a while the player is able to craft their first bot, and this is where things get really interesting.

We have all seen bots in games before, and for the most part they go about their business or try to overthrow their human overlords. In Autonauts though, things are a little different. In order for a bot to be put to work, the player will first have to program them. They begin as a blank slate. The idea of programming a bot may seem daunting, but the complexity level of this game is set quite low, making it easily accessible for all ages. In the spirit of being accessible, programming a bot is simply a matter of pressing record and then doing whatever action the player wants the bot to do. At its most simple, it could be cutting down a tree. Once the bot is programmed, the player can set them on their merry way and get on with something else.

As the game progresses, the player may need their bots to do more complex things, or a series of things. This could be such as knowing to get a new tool when the one they are using wears out. The problem arises from the relatively small amount of memory the bots have, limiting what they can learn, leaving the player to create lots of bots and assign them smaller tasks, thus having them all working together and creating an automated world. It really is a great little system that offers an impressive amount of freedom to the player.


So the player will manage their resources and continue to build, preparing for final colonization. Autonauts has a couple of different modes, two of which unlock features from the get go and give the player the freedom to create at will. However, from the point of view of learning, the campaign mode is likely the most important. In this mode the player will be given goals to achieve. These goals are relatively simple, but keep the player progressing at a decent rate, unlocking new technologies and the like to further their colony.

However, it won’t be a colony without any colonists, and bots don’t count. Eventually, a colonist seed will become available, and the player will have to pop this into an incubator and taking care of it until a little human pops back out. From here, it is all about keeping the little human happy and catering to their needs, all of which will reward the player with Wuv, a resource that can be used to further research and continue evolving the colony.

It will take some work and a lot of planning, which will likely mean starting again for many players as a messy colony is not a nice colony, but before long the player will have their own little automated colony, complete with shelters, crop fields, animals and human colonists. There is no threat in Autonauts, aside from a messy colony, and so players can take all of this in their stride, which is quite relaxing. The only real issue would be the possibility of running out of resources, which can be dependant on the procedurally generated map the player is using. Just something to keep an eye on.

Visually, the game has a blocky, brightly coloured aesthetic that many players will recognise. The joyful visuals, combines with the low complexity of the game, does make the game highly accessible. However, the side effect of this is that older, more experienced players may find Autonauts too simple.


Autonauts is a relatively simple colony-building game that is perhaps geared to the younger gamer, or the more casual audience. It does throw some really cool ideas into the mix, such as programming the bots and the baby colonists, and is nicely polished and runs well. For the hardcore colony builder, Autonauts may prove to be a little on the easy side. But for anyone looking for a relaxing colony builder that will give a real sense of accomplishment, Autonauts is charming fun.




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