Colony.exe isn’t just a windows executable, but its also a real time strategy mixed with a puzzle. You operate a moon colony’s resource management. There is no population here, only resources. You have four main resources, energy, polymers, hydrocarbon and gadgets. There are eight types of buildings, but your colony always starts with a solar cell. For the low price of 20 polymers, you can generate energy. With that energy, you can then build a Derrick that will generate hydrocarbons. That’s how the game works, but there are two factors that make up the challenge. First is the limited amount of land you have on the moon and the second are waves of asteroids that increase with intensity.
Even with no instruction or hand holding, the game is pretty self explanatory. Put more buildings to get more resources that will get you more buildings that get more resources. If you master your way up to gadgets, you can create turrets, launch pads and orbiters that will defend your colony from the meteor showers. The game is simple, just select from the eight building types by clicking on one then click the planet and poof its added with no waiting.
As the waves of meteor showers come, you’ll get warned with a red arrow which direction they’ll come from. You can’t move your asteroid around or anything and the attacks come from random directions. Its nice for replayability that they come from different directions, but its luck if you’ll get hit or not. One chunk of rock might hit your facilities while another hits the surface of the moon and a third will miss everything completely. Since its all random luck there is very little strategy strategy to where you place everything.
When your buildings take damage, you’ll repair them for a price of 20 polymers. You can see the remaining health of a structure by holding your mouse over it. That seems a little cumbersome having to search every building to see what its health is. That could have gotten streamlined like showing you the health of damaged buildings.
If you want to get rid of one, there’s a demolish tool and if there’s one that you feel good about, you can upgrade it up to level 5 at the cost of 20 gadgets per level. I’m sure the upgrades improve their productivity, but there is no specific information about how much of an improvement there is. In fact the only thing you’re ever told is what each facility does and how much it costs. Reading the cost of each building is often interrupted by a warning that the next wave is coming. The red arrow does the trick, I don’t need to get interrupted every few seconds. Another problem that I have is the clicking a building to upgrade, demolish or repair it doesn’t seem consistent. I can click it and it doesn’t do what I wanted it to. Yet when I do it again, then it will or it won’t. It all depends on the mood or which pixel I click it.
With all these polymers, hydrocarbons, energies and gadgets, it becomes a crazy balancing act. Unable to pause or slow down the game, the rock waves increase steadily. Sometimes a cluster of chunks will destroy your solar cells completely sending your power into the negatives, because each facility is using energy. From there you’ll need to quickly build new cells or destroy buildings before what I can only describe as your planet’s health is fully depleted and you lose.
The unfortunate thing is while you can lose an entire colony, there is no effective game over. No way to start a new game without closing the current one and reopening it. There is no save, no settings or anything like that. If your colony gets wiped out, you just have a baron moon on the screen getting pelted by rocks.
The game looks beautiful with a retro 8-bit style. It certainly helps me enjoy the game more and drew me to it, but beyond that, there’s just not that much here. The music is calm and soothing. The sound effects remind me of Fez. So the audio department helps a lot too and fits the mellow vibe that you’ll need to make it through the game.
As my colonies have grown, I often wonder what’s the point or the goal of Colony.exe. There is a score up at the top, but not much else to feel like an achievement. With all that said, the game just didn’t feel like fun. No real achievement, not even small victories. or moments to breathe. I’m not saying its hectic, but it definitely seems like the work never stops before the next wave of asteroids hits.
This can be a good game with some more time and effort. Reading through the title screen, it looks like it was from a game jam. This is a sign of talent, there just needs to be more time in the oven.