Colony Survival (v0.2.3)
~~ This review is for v0.2.3 in July 2017 ~~
After playing a while of this, I can only describe it as a Minecraft mod idea that was too hard to implement into Minecraft itself, so they made their own game for it. And that’s perfectly fine. I like Minecraft and this is a unique twist on the concept. I dunno if that’s actually what happened, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
I don’t normally review games until I’ve completed them, nor do I like to review early access games as they’re an incomplete experience. This one, however, makes me want to review it to support it and encourage others to try it too. At time of writing I have all but one achievement, but that just requires me to stockpile some more food.
Let’s get the first big hurdle out of the way. This looks like Minecraft. A lot like Minecraft. It uses metre-cubed blocks for everything and features a procedurally-generated world with grass, dirt, stone, woods and lakes. It also has biomes like snow and rainforest, but I’ve yet to find them. Every night zombies attack and try to kill your colonists and destroy your banner. And that’s where this game deviates from Minecraft.
While you’re all alone in the former aside from a few brain-dead animals and some big-nosed villagers, Colony Survival is all about the collective. The main drive is ensuring food and safety for your burgeoning colony comprised of…admittedly brain-dead workers. If you play right, you’ll never need to collect a single grain of wheat or fire a single arrow in defence.
To keep everything running smoothly, you hire colonists to perform these jobs and others for you…or for the colony, I guess. You place a quiver and an archer will stand at that post forevermore, firing on any zombies that come within range. You allocate a field and a farmer will plant and harvest wheat. Millers turn the wheat into flour, bakers make bread from that and so on. This is a bit like Minecraft means Factorio, which is weird as Factorio is always described as Minecraft Tekkit but bigger… This game is massively more simplistic than Factorio, however.
I said that I’d completed almost all the achievements, and that’s in about 8 hours of playtime. At the moment, there is not a lot here. But again, that’s perfectly fine; what is here is fun, addictive and has a lot of room to expand and improve. I couldn’t stop playing this last night and now I have a beautiful little colony with golden fields, cherry trees and 67 eager young idiots who take very circuitous paths to stuff.
Early Access Troubles
As this game is very early in development (v0.2.3 at time of writing), I don’t begrudge the issues I’m about to recount, but I feel they should be recounted nonetheless. The pathfinding is painfully bad; I had colonists walking three quarters of the way round my perimeter to get in instead of taking the path a third of the length. I have guys who bagsy the beds meant for (and much closer to) the miners because, as the crow flies, they’re technically closer. Doesn’t matter that there’s a giant ditch between them meaning they need to walk a bloody long way to get there.
The game is also very easy. I had two archers early on and have NEVER had a problem with zombies. More zombies attack based on the number of colonists, but I kept on top of it with so much ease that they might as well not be there. You can also set it so zombies attack during the day and in double numbers, but these are on world creation and I don’t think they can be toggled later.
The shader can also be a bit obnoxious, but that’s getting into some very subjective and petty griping. 8 hours of play and that’s about all the bad stuff I have to say, because there isn’t that much in this game yet.
Overall, this game shows great promise. I’ve seen many games that could be called ‘Minecraft rip-offs’ and while this is a solid contender for the title, it’s one of the few that I really want to see grow, expand and earn the right to quash the comparison.
~~ Ideas For The Devs ~~
Just in case the developers are reading this, I had some suggestions for the future. I dunno how many of these are already planned, but take what you will.
- Pathfinding. While it might be tempting to keep adding more features, I think this should be a priority. A couple of my other suggestions would require better pathfinding.
- Carriers. I read that you want to do something with the crates to make them more realistic. How about they act like item dumps and other colonists could carry items to a central storage. Think of the carriers from Settlers, for example.
- Central Storage. Some kind of vault room could be cool. I really like the creative-style collective inventory for the player, but the colonists should have somewhere to ferry items to/from.
- Auto-Builders. I read that you already plan on adding colonists who can build to a plan. If that’s true, nevermind.
- Happiness. Instead of just adding more zombies or something like that to increase difficulty, some kind of happiness or approval system would be cool. Luxury items, decoration and extra food could all contribute to happiness while cramped housing, shared quarters and working outside (for non-farming jobs) could reduce it. Happy colonists could work faster but unhappy ones could revolt.
- Pathfinding. See number 1. Sorry. Just really important.
- Hitboxes. Not being able to place a block because you’re standing in the 1m cubed hitbox of the torch, for example, should be fixed. Also being able to place and remove fields without removing the wheat. But that’s kinda minor.
- Area Clearing Tools. These could be a player-only thing. Some kind of axe to chop down a whole tree or clear a 3×3 dirt or stone area would be good. Something to make the manual labour bit a bit less time-consuming.
- Bed Allocation. After my annoyances with the miner’s village being overrun by shopkeepers, I think being able to set beds or areas for certain jobs would be very good; miners bunk together, farmers in their huts, etc.
That’s all I got at the moment. I shall update this with more as I think of stuff.