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PC Game Review: Space Colony

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Space Colony
(Aspyr)

I rather drew a bad lot for my first game review in quite a while. I have to say the entire gist of Space Colony rather intrigued me. It is a combination of a Simulation lifestyle title and an Real Time Strategy title. On paper it probably sounded like a rather clever idea. And it was probably a way of moving people from normal Sims to the hard-edged RTS types games. In practice it’s rather less than satisfying.

The story is pretty simple. You run a colony on various planets trying to turn it into a viable settlement that hopefully will eventually attract tourists and make some money. You get to build on the planet, protect your colony and make sure they all are all content. You may either just build in Sandbox mode, the campaign mode or single scenarios. You can also make your own scenarios or download them from the internet.

In practice of course it runs like on a pig on a machine that should run it no problem. The controls are twitchy as hell, one needs to be precise when ordering ones people to go somewhere or else. Building is fine, if you have the money and resources, but the people you control are running in molasses. The RTS bits run quickly, but the people run about as if it were a laid back Sims game with no particular rush. The view angles are rubbish and its almost impossible to see what is going on sometimes. The controls are clunky and things can get out of hand very quickly. Laying simple things like pathways can be a task in itself.

Of course, you have to keep your explorers happy and alive with oxygen, power and food. You need to keep them well rested and attentive at their duties. Assigning them to do various things like making sure things are working. Bizarre you have to keep the bloody explorers entertained as well and one of the first things you are suppose to put down after beds is a bloody dance-floor. A bank-machine is included as well for some reason. In order to keep the proper-RTS gamers happy you can install weaponry to keep the aliens at bay. Of course, anyone with have a brain know that any decent alien would kick these whingeing nitwits into the sun without breaking a sweat. You can be over-run by enemy and you entire lot will be bitching about not have enough entertainment.

On the plus side it looks rather good and slick but there is just no playability there. I am not quite sure what exactly they were trying to get at with this game. Maybe a game that all members of the family that is not too violent, too dull or too hard? Alas, the last bit is just not there, it is too hard unless you have the patience of the saint to get where each little click point is in the game. You can have a bear of time get something placed for reasons that are befuddling.

The manual is rather complete but the tutorial rather paltry. It would have helped the game to have a rather longer tutorial, maybe even a complete scenario.

Truth be told this game is just not worth the effort. Even when you get things right there is little reward in the game. It just sits there looking good but doing nothing right in the terms of gameplay. As a reviewer one has to give a game quite a few goes to see how good it or in this case not. This game is very hard to get into, with frustrations at every turn. There are plenty of RTS out there where one needs to be interested in how one’s populace is doing and needing to keep them happy., This game tries to try cuteness over playability and fails miserably.

It does not help much that it runs like an absolute pig on my Mac. Its slow ponderous and twitchy when it should run extremely smoothly. There are several games that should not run on this machine that run rather well. There is no execute for this sort of pathetic performance on OSX.

I can see where they were going with this game, alas never actually got here. They tried to combine two well known and rather loved genres into one sticking it in space. It is meant to be cute and fun. In fact, it looks good and plays like crap. It is overly clever and under thought-out trying to be all things to all people and satisfying no one. I have to say I have had to force myself to play this game.

So much promise and so little delivery. Exposed mid-riffs on the cover not with standing.

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About Marty Dodge

  • http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/spacecolonyforever/ boru

    Sorry you didn’t like the game. For anyone out there looking for a community of Space Colony fans, join us at Space Colony Forever

  • Travis

    I love the game. It is a good world and colony builder and a sim game all in one. But on the negative side it realy need some ethonol fuel cells for the androids and have them auto charge up at the bar at 200 ticks. The iridium power cores go dead and they are scrap.