Autonauts Review thumbnail

Autonauts Review

Machines can do the work

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on 🤖

Autonauts is also available for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One

Autonauts is rated Everyone by the ESRB

I love when game developers come up with truly innovative formulas and Autonauts is a wonderful delight so let's program some bots.

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Autonauts screenshot 1
That bot has slightly more memory than my old GoDaddy server

What is Autonauts?

At its core, Autonauts is a simulation game where you build and expand your little civilization into something spectacular. You do so by gathering materials then combining them to create tools and such; kind of like you do in Minecraft. Where things become ingenious is in the use of robots because after creating one, you can program it to do tedious tasks so you don't have to. In fact, you can have up to a few hundred of them and watching them work together as they chop down trees, plant new ones, convert logs into planks, and store them on pallets is quite a satisfying sight to behold. However, things get much more complicated but I'll get into that later. v1d30chumz 3-239-112-140

Presentation

Autonauts is one of the cutest indie games out there. The way the protagonist eagerly runs around and gets excited when they make things is adorable and even the robots are cute as they carry on with their tasks. I especially enjoyed rotating and zooming the camera so I could sit there and watch everything come together. Meanwhile, the audio is filled with cute effects that complement every action so it's easy to get immersed in the game world on every level. Clearly, a lot of work went into making everything cohesively adorable. 😊

Autonauts screenshot 2
I wish real babies pooped love

Building

Creating tools and structures in Autonauts is handled intuitively as all you really need to do is pick up materials then throw them onto blueprints or into machines in order to make whatever you wish. You'll start off making rudimentary tools and helpful crafting tables but as the campaign progresses, things become much more open-ended. You'll even get the ability to research newly craftable items. However, the most substantial addition is the fact that you can populate your civilization with humans then when you feed them, they'll give you love that you can spend on researching more things. Is this the Circle of Life that Elton John sang about? 🤔

Programming

With all of that in mind, after creating a robot, you can have it watch you perform these building tasks then you'll program some logic so that they can carry out repetitive tasks for you. Applying a simple loop will cover most simple feats but you can alter the logic to be more complex if you want bots to think for themselves. For example, instead of making tools for them whenever one breaks, why not try to make the bots craft their own tools? You can go as deep into this aspect as you want. The only drawback is that on console, the controls take quite a long time to get used to mostly due to the cumbersome menu system but you will adapt eventually.

Lastability

The final aspect that you may be wondering about is just how long the fun lasts in Autonauts. I would say that it all depends on how eager you are to grow your civilization as large and advanced as possible. On the plus side, the learning curve is handled beautifully as it's never boring nor does it leave you in the dust without knowing what to do. However, things do become incredibly complex as the chapters move along and I reached a point where I felt overwhelmed with managing my bots as well as the breadth of available options. If you're not willing to reprogram and adapt your bots regularly, you'll likely become overwhelmed, too. On the other hand, those who relish the opportunity to continually evolve (even if it means inching your way towards efficiency) will love every minute of it. 😄

Autonauts screenshot 3
We put a lot of love into our research

I'm amazed at how well Autonauts' many elements come together to form a simulation experience that manages to be as satisfying as it is open-ended. Throw in an adorable presentation and a well-executed campaign and you're left with one great sim game.

  • + Brilliant blend of simulation building and robot programming that's super-satisfying
  • + Charming graphics and cute audio
  • + Campaign has a fantastic learning curve
  • - Controls are finicky and take a lot of getting used to before you can play efficiently
  • - Can become a bit too overwhelming
8.4 out of 10
Gameplay video for Autonauts thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Autonauts
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