Welcome to the world of Autonauts where you’ll begin to learn the basics of survival by gathering precious resources to craft a range of different tools. These tools will allow you to chop, dig and mine a variety of resources across your land so you can build bigger, better structures. Each small step will allow you to advance your civilization by expanding your world through eight stages: infrastructure, nomad, dwelling, hamlet, village, town, city and metropolis.
Don't be dismayed though, you're not on your own. You can build new helpers to assist you in doing the hard work so you don't have to. Program your fellow robots and teach them on the fly how to complete a task. As long as they have the proper equipment, they will put their all into their duties.
One thing that is apparent in Autonauts is how much freedom you're given after the tutorial has ended. Not only are you left to your own devices but you’re given the freedom to create and build your own civilisation at your own pace, all without an impending countdown constantly hanging over your head. It’s this freedom that allows you to do what you want, when you want to do it, and though there are milestones to overcome, which may take some time, these will allow you to unlock further building options and new missions which are technically the game’s main objectives to undertake at your own pace.
There are eight stages of programming automation to complete. Each stage offers new blueprints, items and building options to discover as you grow your civilization from infrastructure all the way to bustling metropolis. One of the most unique aspects about Autonauts is its ability to build your very own robot helpers and use basic programming skills to create a workforce that can undertake tasks for you, such as cutting down trees, planting seeds, etc.
You also have the ability later on to expand your civilization by creating new utilities, such as cooking, fishing, tailoring and farming; you can even have animals to tend and care for, creating new opportunities and experiences in your world.
And finally there are multiple modes to choose from, including: Story, Free (all tech unlocked) and Creative (which gives complete freedom to explore and create).
- Create your own world
- Eight stages to build your civilization in
- Programing your own robots
- Multiple modes
As soon as Autonauts starts, the tutorials indicate that the menus are an absolute nightmare to navigate. There were times where I'd lose my cursor or not know what button I was highlighting as the highlighter cursors would just blend into the menus; there were even times where the menus wouldn’t close properly. It was very messy and not very intuitive to use. I also found the programming element clumsy due to the menus; it takes awhile to learn how to use it correctly.
While the core concept is solid, the implementation is less effective. After spending what will feel like an age to complete a few mundane tasks in the tutorial, you’ll have the opportunity to program your first robot. This is easy at first thanks to the computer holding your hand and telling you what to input, but what it doesn’t tell you is that your machine will get stuck on obstacles and you’ll constantly need to supervise them in the early part of the game. See, your robots need equipment to work, which means you’ll need to gather resources, craft them an item and then give them the item you’ve made. However, if it breaks (and it will) or if he gets stuck on a tree or in a hole, your robot will stop working immediately. I found myself doing most of the work myself as it takes time to sort out new equipment and continuously move your robot to a clear space somewhere so it won’t get stuck. Overall, I found the robots a major hindrance and I very rarely used them, which goes against the main core experience of Autonauts. Perhaps I just need more time to learn how to use them correctly, but having to navigate the menus and clumsy layouts made time with Autonauts frustratingly slow.
- Clumsy menus
- Difficult programming
- Dumb robots
Final Score: 7/10
Autonauts allows you the creative freedom to play with its world and create an island that is truly yours with its cute low-poly art style and unique cursor based control. I was pleasantly surprised how in-depth things went. The robot helpers create new opportunities to allow you to focus on other tasks and the many different items and craftable goodies allow you the freedom to make your world unique. Though while the core concept is a solid foundation, I found navigating the menus to be a frustrating mess and while the programming may be easy for some to grasp, it left a sour taste in my mouth as I couldn't understand how to make my robots more useful in the field due to their incompetence. Autonauts is a fun little sim that will consume your time like most normally do, although I Just couldn't get to grips with the programming or awful menu navigation. Most players likely won't make it far before becoming frustrated with its shortcomings. If you can make it through the rough, you’ll find that things do get easier later on, but the beginning feels more like work than pleasure.
Thank you for checking out our Autonauts Switch review, thank you to Curve Digital for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: