Gaming

Review – I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

When I see the state of the world, like many people my age, I wonder if it’s worth having children. Between the rise of nationalism, the growing tensions, and especially the specter of climate change, the effects of which are being felt more and more, the question arises what kind of life will be reserved for our descendants (if there is life).

I Was A Teenage Exocolonist, developed by Northway Games (a studio created by the couple Sarah and Colin Northway), explores the question as we embody a teenager between the ages of 10 and 20 as he or she grows up in a colony. created by dreamers who fled Earth’s problems to try and create a utopian colony on the other side of the universe.

Colin and Sarah Northway, founders of Northway games.

Memories like a card game

I Was A Teenage Exocolonist is a cross between a single player card game and a visual novel. At the beginning of the adventure, you create your character, additionally assigning him some of your characteristics.

Then you settle into a new colony and … live your life. The decisions you make affect not only the development of your character, but also what will happen next with the colony.

Are you going to spend your days playing music? To study? Do you play sports with friends? And exactly who will be your friends? Tangent, botanist? Dys, a swarthy young man dreaming of escaping from the colony? Cal, nature lover?

Your decisions change the course of your life and the memories you create. These memories are then transferred to a playing card. Each card has a color and a number. Your goal is to arrange the cards in your hand in order to score as many points as possible.

Scoring methods are a bit like poker rules; You can make pairs, rows, or stack cards of the same suit together.

Some cards also have effects that can help or hurt you; some cards, for example, are rainbow, that is, they can match any color. Other cards reduce the value of cards around them.

In short, you must know how to handle these memories in order to succeed in the trials that will determine your progress. Will you win the talent show? Are you having a particularly fruitful study session? Survive an alien attack?

The cards will decide.

deep thoughts

I Was A Teenage Colonist is a game that touches on serious topics: climate change, racism, transhumanism, gender and sexual diversity, veganism and other ethical issues…

It’s an intellectual depth that you won’t find in all games for sure. These issues are resolved tactfully and, most importantly, not moralizing.

The developers at Northway Games don’t force answers on us, but they give us a hell of a place to think about all these important questions.

But despite the serious themes, don’t think that I Was A Teenage Exocolonist is just gloom and depression.

The game is littered with small touching moments of light, even more so if you take the trouble to really invest in relationships with the other characters in the game. I’ve only played one game (even if the game requires several; we’ll get to that later), but during that I especially became friends with Tangent and Cal.

The outcome of Cal’s life, in my case, was happier and I really bonded with him. This friendship was touching and I discovered that I really love this fictional character.

Tan’s fate was less fortunate because of my decisions. But again, this is true in real life; sometimes you just can’t be the person the other person needs. It happens, but that doesn’t make it any less sad.

All possible lives

By itself, our character’s adolescence is not very long; you will need about 5 hours to experience the youth of your main character.

But at the very beginning of the scenario “I was a teenage exo-colonist” we understand that this part is just one of the possible lives of our hero or heroine. In fact, it is impossible to make friends with everyone or master all areas at once.

Therefore, the game invites us to start several times in order to explore all the possibilities; what would happen if I specialized in this area instead? Could I save the life of such a character? Could this other friend’s fate have been happier?

And with such an interesting letter, I only had one wish at the end of my game; start again.

Conclusion

You would understand it; I really enjoyed the experience offered by I Was a Teenage Exocolonist.

This doesn’t mean it’s the perfect experience; visually the game is modest. The illustrations are great, but in action you quickly realize that this title was made on a minimal budget.

We would also appreciate a bit more variety and strategy in the card game part.

But these small reproaches are nothing compared to the sincere and deep pleasure that I had a chance to play this title. I thought, I smiled and I was touched.

Can you really demand more from a work of art?

Note. The key for Switch was provided to us by the publisher for review.

I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is available on Switch, Playstation, PC, Mac and Linux.

Verdict

Most

  • A touching story
  • Huge replay value
  • Gorgeous illustrations

Smaller

  • The visual presentation during the game could have won a little more attention

Last note

9 / ten

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