The Colonists LadiesGamers

The Colonists Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: The Colonists
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, PS4 & Xbox One)
Developers | Publishers: Codebyfire, Mode 7, Auroch Digital |Auroch Digital
Age Rating: US E | EU 3+
Price: US $27.29 | UK$19.99 | EU € 21,99
Release Date: May 4th, 2021

Review code used, with many thanks to Auroch Digital

The Colonists is a settlement building game inspired by classic titles like The Settlers and the Anno series on PC. If you have played either of those games, you will probably feel right at home with The Colonists.

The Colonists LadiesGamers
Landing on the new planet

Little Robot Helpers

In The Colonists, you play as a group of self-replicating robots which were originally designed to help gather resources for humans back on Earth. Instead of serving their human masters, the robots decided to rebel and set out on their own path, away from those pesky humans. The bots are designed to simulate human colonies, so they need food and energy and various other resources, much like humans. Your job is to help them get their fledgeling colonies up and running.

The Colonists LadiesGamers
Cute little robots

At the beginning of each level, the robots land on a new planet and you have to create a colony from scratch. The robots create a series of interconnected paths and buildings to gather various resources including food, lumber, stone, iron, and many other resources. The robots need to use these resources to build new buildings and research new technology to grow and advance their colony. You’ll advance through three different Ages as you build infrastructure for your colony by constructing roads, boat and train transport systems.

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Build a ship and sail the seas.

Tutorial, Scenarios and More

The game offers several different scenarios. Scenarios can’t be skipped and they must be fully completed by unlocking the objective before progressing to the next one. The first couple of levels are tutorials that lead you through all the aspects of the game. There is also a sandbox mode where you can tailor the game to your liking. After the tutorial levels, you’re then left to get on with the game yourself, there is a helpful info section in the menu if you do need it later but it is limited.

To keep you goal-oriented with your city’s development, The Colonists provides simple objectives and tasks to work towards. For example, one of your first tasks is to build a monument. As well as building up your colony you must help the bots maintain energy while avoiding running out of resources.

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The settlement grows

Grow your Colony

The Colonists is an engaging, strategic and very fun city builder. Each scenario teaches you something a little more about the intricacies of the game. By the time you get through them all, you can build this massive, robot-swarming colony. Each map’s not limited to the initial piece of ground either. Once you have the technology, you can travel by building boats and work on other islands that are around you.

The Colonists LadiesGamers
Construction wheel

The initial area of the territory is quite small, so you’ll need to build watchtowers to expand. These buildings are quite cheap and don’t have running costs. However, you’ll end up needing to place quite a few of them across large maps.

They can eventually be upgraded to cover larger areas and install weapons to attack other colonies. This is the only form of combat in the game, building watchtowers close to another colony and waiting while the tower shoots arrows or cannonballs at their buildings until eventually, your robots can take over those buildings.

The Colonists LadiesGamers
Monument built

Plan Ahead

While you’re building up your colony, you are setting up food production, wood, coal, ore and much more. You will need to plan your road layout well in advance of extending your colony as resources are transported between buildings using short roads with road posts at either end.

Each robot is assigned a road and each road will have two drop points. For example, if you need wood at a location and you do not have any in place there, the robots will relay the material to you along the roads using the road posts.

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Mission complete

Watch out for Road Blocks

I enjoyed sitting and watching the AI take over and the robots, which reminded me a lot of Wall-E, moving materials from one place to another. Once your colony grows bigger and bigger, congested roads become a major problem. While you can ban certain items on certain roads to try to stop the congestion, it is sometimes just not possible to solve. Everything then gets delayed or all the work comes to a grinding halt as resources can’t get through. 

The levels in The Colonists are not short. Expect to spend at least an hour and more on each level with most levels taking over two hours to complete. The beginning of each level is basically redoing what you did in the previous level in a different environment.

Adding to this is the fact that there are natural slow points in the game. Most of the levels are designed in a way where you only have a limited amount of a particular resource early in the game. This gets remedied later in the level where you usually can find an unlimited source for each resource.

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Resources screen

There will be times in the game though where you just have to wait until you acquire enough resources to proceed to the next step. Turning on the fast forward helps somewhat but there will still be times where you just have to sit back and wait.

I found that most of the campaign levels started to all blend into one another after a while, as you’re moving onto a new map and have to start a colony from scratch, find resources, upgrade your buildings, and take over the enemy base or in the non-combat missions, simply build a monument.

The Colonists LadiesGamers
Lots of warning icons?

Visuals and Controls

A cute and cartoony graphical style suits The Colonists and it is a perfect fit for the game. The little robots, have individual names that you can change if you wish, and it can be fun watching them bustle about the colony to complete tasks and build monuments.

I spent a good few hours playing through all of the levels and I have to say the controls are pretty intuitive. Placing a building is a very simple affair if you have the correct resources of course.

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I think The Colonists could have done a little more as far as a tutorial was concerned. The game teaches you the basics and then just leaves you to figure out the rest on your own. That may be fine for veterans of the strategy building genre, but newcomers to the genre will need a little more help.

The cute robots may make The Colonists look like a very simplistic game, but beneath the surface lies an in-depth strategy game that is a blast to play!

Final Verdict: I Like It A LotI like it a lot

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