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After a bunch of difficult exams, I just love spending time on a sandbox, such as Minecraft or Factorio, building complex machines and networks that make no sense to anyone else. So, when I saw a game promising the simplistic look of a cute version of Minecraft, with robots, crafting and automation, I knew I just had to check it out. Aside from the cute factor, Autonauts is a unique take on the “automate your colony” genre. Does it live up, though? Let’s find out…

Narrative and Progression

Autonauts is a sandbox, and as such, there’s no main story to follow. However, don’t let that fool you. Unlike Minecraft, where you’re thrown into a world with no idea what to do, there are clearly defined progression elements here. From an excellent tutorial that teaches the player everything necessary to a totally optional progression path, everything is up to you to decide. You can choose whether you want a tutorial or not and can choose whether or not you follow either of the challenges. Whether you follow them or not, you get a certificate for completing them, which is always rewarding.

The game starts you off by landing on a strange, alien planet with just an assistant by your side. You have the goal of establishing a fully functioning colony by yourself, or, as the game recommends, by building a ton of robots to help you on your journey. The progression in this game is simple enough to pick up, but can also be very complex if you so desire. There is even a tutorial to help you on your way. But how exactly do you go about your business, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Gameplay and Mechanics

As I mentioned, you start off on a remote alien island, and your goal is to form a functioning colony. To do this, you have a wide variety of robot assistants. You start off by manually felling trees, chopping logs into planks and picking up sticks and stones, not to break bones, but to craft axes, shovels and picks. Use these to build said robots, and programming them using a simple “Follow Me and do as I do” system to start the automation process.

The mechanics are pretty simple and easy to understand, while also having the necessary complexity to not get too boring too quickly. There are quite a few things you can find through gameplay that I will not spoil here, as they are quite rewarding to find, complete and gain certificates for.

The game has a pretty simplistic control system. You move with a left-click, and the same button is used to pick up things from the ground (if your hand is empty) or interact with the environment (if you have, say, an axe). Right-click drops everything in your hand on the ground at the click location, or in a chest

It’s not perfect…..

The problem with this system., however, is that if you’re carrying a shovel, a simple move command will start digging up the ground, reducing the durability of the tool, and forcing you to press Right-Click, which drops the tool, or Q, which moves the tool to your bag. To add fuel to the fire, the bag only has one slot (which is upgradeable, but still. One Slot? Seriously? You can carry more in your hand). Nothing stacks, except on the ground or in storage chests. This leads to a lot of frustrations thanks to misclicks.

The other gripe I have is the programming system. It’s simple, yes, but perhaps too simple. Basic tasks, such as telling a bot to go to a place X and chop trees take much longer than necessary since you physically have to move your tiny legs over there, then do the task you want the bot to do. Adding loops also gets tedious, since a single misclick is enough to delete the entire ‘code’, increasing tedium.

Visuals, Performance and Sound

The game looks and plays beautifully. A solid 60 FPS, with those cute graphics, is a joy to look at. The models are blocky, but not bad looking. It looks like Lego, and that is not at all a bad thing. It gets the job done, and you won’t be confused about what you’re looking at. There’s a Day-Night cycle as well, which looks really good, making the bot-lights pop out. Fun.

The performance was pretty solid as well, with the game never lagging or crashing. No complaints there.

The sounds in this game are really good. From chopping wood to robot ticks to digging, everything is on point. And the music is cheery and matches the overall tone of the game really well. It’s a joy to listen to while playing the game. Great job there.


Autonauts is a fun, quirky little game that will appeal to everyone who likes sandboxes with or without progression. With procedurally generated planets to a creative mode, there’s something for everyone. It’s also great value, coming in at ₹529. Even with the minor frustrations in the gameplay, Autonauts has a solid foundation that lends itself to fun play experience. It’s especially great for kids who are into computers, and want to learn the logic of programming

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