Autonauts – Review
Follow Genre: Simulation, Indie
Developer: Denki
Publisher: Curve Digital
Platform: Mac, Linux, PC
Tested on: PC

Autonauts – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Really addictive
Bad: Bots still have some issues
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Crafting has been a thing in a lot of games, giving you a means of getting better gear or potions instead of you just buying them. Recently a lot of games with extensive crafting systems have become quite popular with the most known example being Minecraft. Autonauts is a new game that also features quite the extensive crafting system, however, instead of fighting off enemies or defending yourself, Autonauts is a peaceful game. In the game, you will try to make the world automated by creating cute little robots and giving them jobs to do. Autonauts was developed by Denki and published by Curve Digital and we got a chance to review it.

Story

There isn’t any story present in Autonauts. A background story doesn’t exactly feel necessary since the game is fun on its own. However, your character does get depicted like it is on a journey to automate the world, or something similar. A story might have given more of a purpose to the game as to why your little person is automating everything. As well as some conversations or thoughts from the character might be a nice idea but it isn’t exactly necessary.  If you would like to think of a story though, your imagination is the limit to what you can think of.

Graphics

Autonauts has a very simple design using mostly low poly shapes. Everything is smoothed out and looks very clear, it is simple but still looks quite nice and adorable. Autonauts uses a sort of simplified programming to make bots move. The way the developers styled it is very similar to how some simplified programming courses for kids look. It makes it pretty clear what each bot is doing and makes it also so you can easily re-check bots and drag some commands around.

Each workbench you make has an input and output, although for some tools this is the same spot. Storage also uses an in and out spot, so you know where you need to keep the area clear. Sometimes these spots can get a little bit annoying when a lot of robots stack up and you can’t select them since you keep selecting the workbench or storage instead.

Sound

The music for Autonauts is really cheerful and upbeat. It starts quite loud but when turned down, it is nice background music while you mess around with the bots.  Sound effects are also quite cutesy and not rough like you would, for example, expect a tree cut down to sound like. Even though the sounds effects are not exactly realistic they make quite clear what is happening. You have a whistle with which you can select bots to edit. It actually makes the bots jump seemingly to attention when used, which is quite amusing.

Gameplay

Autonauts is a simulation indie game where you will try to automate the world or at least the little cube world you landed in. You start with nothing but the world around you but by gathering just a stick and a stone your journey to automation starts. Very similar to many other games’ crafting systems you will need to craft items to unlock more recipes. Many recipes will also require you to have items you crafted beforehand. So, it might happen that you will first need to craft a component to make another item to then put it together with other pieces to complete what you wanted to craft.

There are a lot of steps before actually getting to an automated process. Luckily there is a tutorial that does explain how to start out. It doesn’t explain everything, but this might be by choice or there will still be an update by the developers. There is some fun and pride in discovering how to automate something yourself without somebody telling you what to do every step of the way. If you choose to follow the tutorial, you do have to complete every step in the order it explains the steps. So, working ahead isn’t really an option there, however, when you are just starting out it is nice to see the progress step by step.

After you manage to cut down your first tree with just a rock, you’ll be able to move on and create a workbench. This workbench will give you the ability to create crude tools starting with an axe and spade. Later as you keep crafting and completing the research you will unlock more tools. Before you can do research, you’ll have to complete objectives that reward you with items, including the research station. To get there, you’ll have to already basically have a forestry because you will always need wood. Nearly all the recipes in Autonauts needs some kind of wood. So, to have an automated forestry is the best starting place but this already requires quite the number of bots and crafting.

Your starting bots only have limited memory so they can’t do as many assignments. One line of the program is one step of the assignment. Getting a plank from storage is, for example, two steps, going to storage and getting from storage. If they then have to put it somewhere that is another two steps, going to the place and putting it down. To program a bot, you get all the bots’ attention and then select the bot you want to edit. Once you have his “brain” open you can press record, it will then follow you and input everything you do as a step in its programming. You can then change it around and/or make it go on forever. As you might realize it takes quite a lot of bots just to cut down trees, collect logs and plant new trees, you need about four for the forest itself. One cuts down trees, one collects logs, one digs holes, one looks for seeds and plants them. Then you also have to make two more making the tools for the digger and the cutter or else you’ll have to make them yourself which ruins the automatic process.

There will also be one bot job that you’ll have to establish and that is recharging the other bots. The game says that if you do something too often, you need to make a bot for it and recharging definitely is something that is needed a bunch. After you finish an objective you get your reward recipes as well as a decorative slab. After a while of crafting you’ll start to find a need for colonists, which are little human-like beings. Making them also require several steps, including crafting a seed dispenser and a breeder. After you manage to create one, they become quite the chore as they need to be fed a lot. However, they produce quite a lot of wuv, which you need for research. There are quite a lot of things you can research but it always starts with one item and then a whole lot of wuv to complete the research.

Since you need a lot of bots for every process to automate it, there seems to go something wrong after a while. Bots that stop working even though their programming should make them move. Also, every time you change something in a bot’s programming, which you can only do by pressing record, and then press start, they start their programming from the top which can be quite annoying. When a bot is holding something, they don’t put it down to pick something else, they just stand there unable to complete their task. So, you’ll have to take items from them every time you change their programming. You yourself can’t hold a lot of items. Light items you can hold four of but heavier items only one or two. Funnily enough you can only hold four light items that are the same so you can’t, for example, pick up two seeds and two sticks at the same time. This is a bit weird and annoying since you often need two pieces of a light item and would then want to combine them with two pieces of another component but are unable to do so, which then makes it so you have to walk there twice.

Conclusion

Even though the game still has some flaws, it is quite addictive to play. There is something that gives you pride in starting an automated process from nothing. When you are able to watch your robots do all the work so you can focus on something else, you feel a sense of accomplishment. The developers are also bringing out updates regularly which is always a good sign. They also communicate with their players and try to take note of issues given by players. So, if you are looking for a casual cute game to pass the time and don’t mind some crafting, then for sure give Autonauts a try.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Autonauts - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Theotakutem


The one and only slowqueen! -student multimedia-

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