A real gem of a game! Very easy to get into thanks to a quality tutorial, the game reveals some amazing depth. It’s playable by the youngest players and offers a great introduction to computer programming. The aim is to feed, clothe, and entertain colonists using the hundreds of robots you’ll control through some very simple code. Intelligent, funny, and addictive!
Autonauts & © Denki. Licensed by Curve Digital Publishing Limited.
Behind its retro aesthetic, bright colours, and simple, blocky graphics lies a truly amazing gameplay experience.
The concept behind Autonauts is a simple one: your spaceship has set off to colonise new worlds... and that's all there is in terms of plot. After landing on an unspoilt planet, at the landing site of your choice, you'll be tasked with building a prosperous civilization. Unfortunately, you don't have all the tools you need and all you have for company is OTTO-0, a talking droid that will take you through things step by step (it's a good job he's there at the start of the game!).
The beginning of your Autonauts career is your traditional survival game fare. You know how it goes: gather materials to build a crafting bench, then use the bench to craft rudimentary tools, before using those same tools to gather more resources. But why work you fingers to the bone when you can build a bot to do the hard work for you?
And this is where Autonauts leaves Minecraft for dust.
The bots are the real strength of Autonauts, and once you've built one (from wood, stone, and a pine cone), you can programme them to carry out your instructions using a basic programming language. Basically, you whistle to get the bot's attention, then you access its mind and tell it to copy whatever you are about to do. It watches what you do, learns it, and then you can tell it to repeat your instruction... and you're off!
For example: a bot can watch you cut down a tree, and after learning how to do it, it will go over to the nearest tree and chop it down. You can then programme another bot to dig a series of holes, while training a third to gather the seeds that fall from the trees and plant them in the holes. And there you have it: automated wood production!
We liked how the game saves automatically every ten minutes, so that you never lose your progress.
And **our favourite part ** was the infinite possibilities: there's no limit to what your bots can do in Autonauts. The only limit to your creativity is your own imagination.
Eventually, you can even programme a bot to make other robots and go fishing (it's always wise to build your civilisation near a water source!), which they will do all by themselves.
With an army of well-trained robots, as you progress through the game you can build homes for colonists, exploit mines, and build railways... all without lifting a finger as you become a master of bot programming.
After a while, you can bring human residents to your ever-growing colony, as you automate increasingly complex bots.
Our advice? Make sure you complete the comprehensive tutorial. It explains how to programme a bot to carry out your instructions, before showing you how to use plans to develop small-scale forestry, open a quarry, and much more besides.
A little tip: to easily charge your bots at the start of the game, build a bot whose only job is to recharge its colleagues. This will save you loads of time.
Autonauts is loads of fun and extremely satisfying. We'd recommend it for ages 10+, because it teaches kids logic without them realising! A great game!