First Impression: Colony Ship

Developer: Iron Tower Studios

Release Date: 06 April, 2021

Platform: Windows

Genre: Roleplaying Game

By Chris Picone, 07 April 2021

I interviewed Vince from Iron Tower Studios in 2017 – back when Colony Ship was still under the working title, “The New World.” I had just finished Age of Decadence (AoD), their debut 2015 release, and it had really wowed me. So while my policy is to approach every game with an open mind, appreciating them on their own merits, AoD had left such an impression that I couldn’t help myself. And so I went in with huge expectations and three (four?) years of hype.

Colony Ship surprised me. I didn’t really expect “AoD but space” because that didn’t match what I’d seen in screenshots (and besides, Vince had already told me otherwise in the interviews) and sure, there were similarities – the world was vivid, gritty, absolutely packed with lore – but it played differently. AoD was an unforgiving hardcore text-based RPG in which you lived and died by your decisions and every choice you made would lock as many doors as it opened. You were on your own and had to use everything at your disposal just to survive. Colony Ship is still very text-heavy but it’s also very visual (and super pretty!). You’re no longer on your own, and having a party means others make up for your shortfalls, meaning less “locked doors.” And while it’s still tough and gritty, filled with challenging combat and hard decisions, it’s by no means unforgiving, which will make it more accessible to mainstream CRPG players. More differences: Colony Ship offers much-improved tactical combat that feels similar to Wasteland (2/3) or Shadowrun Returns and a new turn-based “infiltration” mode.

So, my first impression? Colony Ship survived both the hype and “sequel syndrome” and emerged, thriving. I finished the first chapter – took me 14 hours after resetting the game twice (I kept building dodgy characters!) – and I’m dying to get back into it.