Less than a month to go until space settlement sim Aven Colony touches down on an alien planet near you. If you’re thinking this colourful game has the potential to be one of the greatest simulation games to ever grace the PS4, well, we’re thinking along the same lines. Those capital folks at Team17 have given us a sneaky peak at the first two story missions and one of the sandbox areas and we’re pleased to confirm that, yes, Aven Colony looks to be an accomplished and super polished game.

Before the main missions are two very basic tutorials. There’s a lot to learn and they give you a good grounding for the complexities to come. There’s nothing worse than a sim game that’s hard to get your head around, but there are no such worries here. You’ll be building like you were born to it within the hour. Things then get epic once you hit the main story missions. This is where you can hunker down and really start losing daylight hours without realising.

Your goal is to start and grow a vast colony of people. You will have already picked up the basics and now you will be given sets of tasks that will help you to achieve your dreams of governing an alien colony. Tasks include very specific projects such as building a chemical plant and can also be more open such as winning a referendum or achieving a particular population count. Even though these missions are structured, what struck us the most (aside from lightning storms, but that’s another tale) was how open the gameplay felt. Yes, you need to build a chemical plant to progress, but you also have to maintain your colony and plan for your new building. Have you got enough food for the coming winter? Maybe you should concentrate on farming before splashing out on an expensive objective. Have you got enough workers? Don’t neglect immigration. Have you got enough housing to support your new workers? Is that housing close enough to where you want to place your new plant or are you going to make all your workers walk through seven miles of tunnels because you’ve run out of resources? Bad governor, you! Expect to lose that referendum any day now.

So far Aven Colony is an addictive experience. With the first two main missions lasting for many hours and a total of nine campaign missions to enjoy plus the sandbox mode where you can do whatever the hell you like under whatever conditions you like, we estimate approximately thirty-two missed meals and fifty-six cold cups of coffee. Seriously, once we picked it up, stopping only came when our eyes would stay open no longer and our controllers finally drooped in the dead of night. Here’s a brief list of things that have kept us glued to the spot so far:

Bright and beautiful graphics
Clear text
No fiddly controls
Building
Mining
Trading
Farming
Sandworms!
Spores!
Plague!
Resource management
Epic musical score
Freedom of creativity
A story
Expeditions
Research
Melons!

We will present a detailed and in-depth review later next month once we’ve played more, but for now if you’ve had your beady eyes on Aven Colony, we think you’re going to be beyond pleased. Stay tuned for final confirmation!

S J Hollis

S J Hollis has been a keen gamer since the Atari 2600. She freely admits she thought E.T. was a good game but would like to stress her tastes have since dramatically improved. She is also an author, a morning person and thinks Elf ears are sexy. Follow her on twitter @SJHollis_