The steam edition is a HD remaster of the original classic ‘Space Colony’ from the creators of the ‘Stronghold’ game series.
As the name suggests your tasked with colonizing planets to gather it’s resources and harness the environment to your advantage.
Space Colony is an easily accessible title with the handy tutorial and early story missions guiding the player through the basic tasks and functions of the game such as managing the crew, purchasing and placing equipment.
The micro-managing of the crew is surprisingly good. The game goes deeper than one would expect from first glance. Crew members in general share the same basic needs of hygiene, food, rest and entertainment along with a few other needs. However each crew member is unique in what they favour as more important e.g. Stig has an added emphasis on food to keep him performing optimal and being happy.
Players will also have to balance relationships as they all require varying levels of social interaction for their well-being and overall happiness. Space Colony takes this one step further with specific crew members feuding with each other. Relationships plays an important role within the game as some just don’t get along with one another. To remedy this a counseling area can be placed within the bio-dome to resolve their differences and build a positive relationship. This added level of detail really impressed me and shows an extra layer of quality built into the game.
As each crew member is unique so are their skills. Some will only accept heavy machinery tasks whilst others are only comfortable with domestic chores. Skills are essential within the game. Building too many excavators and not having enough members qualified to control them would be pointless and a drain on your finances. Thankfully a library can be built to increase skill levels of each crew member. This does take time though so it’s a good idea to get them to train as early as possible. Overall it’s up to you the player to keep track of which crew to use for the tasks. It can get overwhelming when a lot is going on throughout the colony.
There should be crew members manning each station on the bridge to generate power, and oxygen. When the need arises also have a qualified medic man the medic section along with building a medi-bay to fix ailments and viruses so you don’t lose the valuable crew to an early death. There is a “The Sims” like feel to the game with the managing of all the crew and making sure they eat, play and get rest when its needed. For the most part they will take care of it for themselves when their rating declines too much however they aren’t the most intelligent so managing them as best you can will be in your best interest from a production perspective. Members leaving their stations to randomly walk about isn’t in anyone’s best interests so micro-managing is an important role within the game.
Depending upon the mission and environment of the planet/location various plant equipment will need to be built and utilized such as iron ore excavation, silicon and iranium extraction and plant harvesting to name a few. As you get deeper in to the game you’ll find roles are expanded. Excavated silicon can be turned into electronics with the use of yet another machine. This will require a qualified crew member to operate. When crew numbers are limited you may find yourself taking someone off one task and placing onto another. Stockpiled plenty of silicon? then move the operator to the electronics machine if they are qualified to increase the commodities value.
Food /nutrients can be harvested from plants and lab created ingredients.
The building area is very restricted due to the environments surrounding the colony. Planning well and selling off unnecessary structures to make room for new ones can be hugely beneficial though resell value is usually around 25% of the original cost.
Defensive structures such as laser beams are essential to maintaining the colony to protect from alien species. Vehicles can be built to provide crew members with fast transport to their assigned job or return to base. Without the vehicles the crew are incredibly slow at traversing the terrain which will have a significant hit on production.
Warehouse space provides an area for collected minerals and nutrients which are surplus to the colonies immediate needs. These can either remain stored or traded off for credits, in some cases a substantial windfall so unless your likely to have trouble harvesting more it’s best to sell and concentrate on extracting more.
The bed situation is the most annoying aspect of Space Colony. You’ll need enough to cover the entire crew as they each need their own and you’ll painstakingly have to assign them individually. Its easy to miss one, then find later in the game they are extremely tired. Check every bed for their registered user to find this one doesn’t have a bed. Consdering its rare for any 2 member to rest at the same time this added detail of assigning individual beds is very tedious. Assign them early making sure not to miss anyone is the best way to avoid trouble.
A hidden gem. For those that missed the originals release (myself included) this HD remaster is really engaging. Micro-managing a team of colonists has never been so rewarding. 1 hour will turn into 3 so get ready for some serious strategy addiction.