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Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game Review

Colony Ship A Post-Earth Role Playing Game Review

CRPGs have been on the rise in 2023, with amazing games such as Baldur’s Gate 3 reaching an extraordinarily larger audience than expected. In the wake of this phenomenon, Iron Tower Studio, known for the cult classic The Age of Decadence, have released a space CRPG, similar in gameplay to their previous title, which promises to be the best game they have delivered thus far. As I fought, lied, and sneaked my way through this huge Colony Ship, I discovered again why RPGs are the best genre out there: choices. Luckily, Colony Ship is full of choices that allow me to either feel utterly powerless or completely overpowered. In this review for Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game I will present all the major aspects that all RPG fans might consider important when it comes to a CRPG and give them a rating from 1 to 10, giving you an idea as well if you should buy the game or not.

Graphics – 9/10

Let’s start this review with the part that most players can see even without buying Colony Ship. Though most CRPGs usually lack a lot in the graphics department, Colony Ship positively surprised me. If you just see a video or some images of the game, you might not think it looks amazing. However, once you play for a bit, you will be surprised by how good the environment looks.

The first time I noticed this was when I accidentally zoomed in on my character and I saw the details on all of the items around me. Though you play all of the game from a top-down perspective, the quality of the environment is surprisingly good. You can zoom in on any random thing you find in the game and you will likely be surprised with the details you will see.

The locations themselves are actually the most beautiful part of the game, as you will be impressed by each place you discover. The stunning design and graphics do a really good job of immersing the player in the decrepit but alive feel of the Colony Ship.

However, most of the time I was staring at the portraits of the various characters in the game. These look incredible and the choices for your character’s starting portrait are also good. But, they are severely limited and I sometimes wished we just wouldn’t see one, instead of getting the same one for every NPC.

The problem was that some of the repeated portraits for the characters were extremely different to the character models in the game, and since I liked to zoom in to look at every little detail, this did ruin the immersion a bit.

Gameplay – 9/10

Colony Ship A Post-Earth Role Playing Game Review Gameplay
Screenshot by Raider King

As a fan of The Age of Decadence, Iron Tower Studio’s previous title, there is nothing to dislike about Ship Colony’s gameplay. The battles are as exciting as ever, though a bit frustrating at times, stealth is really fun and easy to master, and the skill checks aren’t challenging if you like min-maxing.

I knew after restarting a bit that I would get a companion that can be specialized in stealth early on and that all the other companions will be focused mostly on combat. So, I decided to make a charismatic and smart character that would recruit as many followers as possible and pass almost all the skill checks in the game.

Still, I wanted to experience combat as well, so I made sure my character would be able to hit targets with his rifle. This build was surprisingly efficient, as I managed to pass every persuasion check I found, won all battles until the final chapter of the game, and unlocked most of the content available in the game.

Listening to this, you might think that the game is easy, however, you would be very wrong. Ship Colony is a very hard game and combat is extremely difficult. I played the whole game on Underdog, the “normal” difficulty, which is impossibly hard if you don’t make an over optimized combat build. Even then, you will likely have problems in the end game, where all the enemies are superhuman.

Combat can be fun if you master it, but that will take many hours of your life. Even if you become an expert, RNG will be your main enemy, as enemies can randomly one shot your character with critical headshot, even though you know they had a chance of less than 20% to even hit you.

Luckily, gameplay can also be just dialogue or stealth in this game, as combat is mostly optional. You only fight if you want to, and that is the beauty of Ship Colony.

Story – 7/10

In a game where you will mostly stare at words on the screen, the story will likely be very important. I personally consider that the moment a CRPG loses my interest is when I start quickly going through the dialogue options to advance the plot. And, unfortunately, I found myself doing this close to the end of Ship Colony.

At the start the game does an amazing job of getting you involved in the world as you get a history lesson about the world and answer some questions to decide your “belief” stats. This is really promising, as who doesn’t love a bit of politics in their RPGs? Once the game properly starts, you are thrown right in the middle of a conflict between the three main factions.

You are a simple colonist on a ship that has abandoned Earth in hopes of finding a new home. During the long journey, the people started a rebellion against the leaders of the colony and now the Colony Ship is split between an authoritarian faction that wants to follow the original goal of the colonists that left Earth, an anarcho-democratic union of rebels, and a Christian theocracy.

The main problem with the story? You have stumbled into the special item that all factions want and you need to decide who gets it. This is not some basic “chosen one” story. You are not the chosen one per say, but you have discovered the item that all factions want. And you have to decide which faction gets it, without knowing anything about them.

Even after choosing a side and helping them, all you learn is that they are either fanatics, authoritarian propagandists, or incompetent anarchists. Which means that you likely won’t like any of the factions. So, in this situation, you are likely to want to do things your own way right? Well, you can’t, because you are too weak and insignificant to create your own “faction.”

This can result in some fun backstabbing where you keep playing the factions against each other and ultimately end up helping the fourth, secret faction, but it is all very lackluster since you won’t really get attached to any of them. I didn’t care which faction won or lost in the end, and it seemed like the game really tried to push me to help the fourth faction.

The characters are also this game’s worst aspect, as I couldn’t care less if someone lived or died throughout the story. The only reason I kept my companions alive was because they knew how to fight and I didn’t.

Still, the worldbuilding was really good and I can say was invested in the ending, even though it was a bit predictable.

Choices – 8/10

The choices in Colony Ship are the part that I loved and hated the most, so I have to talk about them in this review. When it comes to gameplay choices, you have a lot of possibilities. Most encounters could be resolved in a lot of ways, depending on your skills. This was really fun at the start and it continued to be entertaining until you bumped into something that could be solved only one way.

There are a couple of encounters with creatures that you can only pass by fighting. However, those just give you some extra loot that is good for fighting, so you can’t say that you are missing out. But, by that point in the game, you might have gotten used to getting everything on every map, so you will likely try fighting a million times until you realize it is impossible for your build to win.

When it comes to story choices, I felt like many of them were uneducated choices. Besides a couple of times where I just had to choose to risk my life to save someone or run away, it felt like I knew nothing about what was going on and I still had to make a choice no matter what. During multiple times in the game you will have to choose who rules large sections of the ship.

However, you don’t spend any time with the potential candidates. You just instantly choose upon meeting them. This makes many story-related choices feel irrelevant, since you just see the repercussions very late in the game and you would have no way of guessing them when you made the decision.

Still, if you are wondering if choices really matter in Colony Ship then the answer is yes, they do. At the end of the game you will get slides showing you all the repercussions of the choices you made in all the major sections of the ship. Also, out of the four main storyline endings, you can only do one of them if you didn’t explore enough or made the right choices beforehand.

Performance – 10/10

Colony Ship’s performance is absolutely perfect. I haven’t seen any bugs throughout my multiple playthroughs and there haven’t been any FPS drops or crashes. The game doesn’t use a lot of your PC’s resources, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Still, there are similar games in the CRPG genre out there, like Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous for example, that have occasional performance problems when there are too many effects on the screen at the same time, so this should be properly praised in any review of Colony Ship.

Enjoyment – 10/10

Though there are a lot of things that have annoyed me while playing Colony Ship, I can’t say I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed it. Battles have made me audibly scream at times, but there is no greater satisfaction than winning them.

Convincing people to do everything you want is also extremely satisfying, as you get them to change their mind whenever you need them to. Stealth is also extremely enjoyable once you level up your skill high enough, and you have gadgets to turn invisible, making the whole experience an assassin’s dream.

The best part of Colony Ship is the replayability. The moment I finished my first playthrough I already started my second one, wanting to see how it would be like to be a full combat build. When it comes to fighting, there are also a lot of possible builds you can try out, adding to the replayability factor.

Yes, there are a lot of annoying things when it comes to combat, and some battles are just straight up impossible, but nothing is more enjoyable than finally winning them. Still, if I were to change something about the game to make it a thousand times more enjoyable, and please Iron Tower Studio, hear me out, I would let my character faint without permanently losing an HP point.

Due to this horrible mechanic, I have never finished a battle where one of my characters fainted, because I would never allow myself to permanently lose an HP point just because the AI got off a lucky shot.


Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game Review

Official Website
Colony Ship A Post-Earth Role Playing Game Product

Colony Ship is a very hard learning experience, where you will have more fun the more you play.

Graphics 9
Gameplay 9
Story 7
Choices 8
Performance 10
Enjoyment 10

Based in Munich, Germany, Adrian Oprea is the Founder of Raider King. He is a writer with a passion for storytelling and a love for all things RPG. When not wielding a keyboard, he can be found exploring fantastical worlds, one quest at a time.
Adrian Oprea
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