Categories: Games reviews

Autonauts review (Switch) — Robotics programming for everyone

Every time I see a city-building game, I get excited. I seldom play them for long but always want to try new ones, and Autonauts

is far more interesting than most of its siblings. It’s cutesy, yes, and its style is reminiscent of a dozen of similar titles, but.. there’s something else there. Something we don’t see often. An idea.

And for the record, I know that Autonauts is not new, but it has just been released for the Switch. Worth a look, don’t you think?

So, the idea is simple: in Autonauts, you are tasked with building a prospering city, but you don’t have the tools or resources. To find them, you have to start building robots. Makes sense, right? Actually, that reminds me of that other settlement-building game with robots… but there’s a catch: your robots are programmable.

You can task them with building houses or getting resources, but you can go a bit further: alter their logic to make them completely autonomous. Let them fix their tools or feed the livestock I mean humans. Sure, it’s not “real” programming, but it’s a good concept presented in such a way that even a kid would get it.

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The game runs fine on the Switch and looks alright on the console’s screen, but the controls are obviously better suited for PC. It’s understandable, but I wish they were a little more streamlined. Still, you’ll get the hang of it. I did, and I am awful at games!

Games like Autonauts always face this challenge: how to stay relevant on a mobile platform without sacrificing the core gameplay? Not every game can be Outlanders, and Autonauts suffers a bit because of the smaller screen and its PC origins. But my impression is still positive. It’s a neat game, and it works fine.

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Autonauts is a neat little city builder with elements of programming. Cutesy artwork, fresh gameplay loop, and easy-to-learn mechanics elevate it above many other similar titles, although finicky controls are a downside.

Denis Koshelev

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