I’ve mentioned I was a Teenage Exocolonist in my November 2022 wrap-up post and I think it’s fair to say that I’m obsessed. When I first started playing the game, I sat there for 15 hours straight, not being able to tear myself away from the screen. You know I don’t do game reviews often, but I just couldn’t pass up the chance to talk about this one. But first things first!
*I have not been asked to talk about this game by the developers! I am sharing these views of my own accord.*
I was a Teenage Exocolonist is a single-player RPG simulation game by Northway Games and Finji. I played it on my laptop, but I think there are options for the PS5 and Nintendo Switch as well. Originally an indie game, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and I’d just love to add my voice to those. The game is currently 20% off on Steam, but you can find all that relevant technical data here.
What exactly is the game about? Well here’s how the developers put it:
Spend your teenage years on an alien planet in this narrative RPG with card-based battles. Explore, grow up, and fall in love. The choices you make and skills you master over ten years will determine the course of your life and the survival of your colony.
The absolutely adorable and beautiful design aside, I am always easily swayed by games where your choices matter and lead to different outcomes. What is so special about I was a Teenage Excolonist though is that you play it through once, encounter incredible losses and then … you get to do it all over again! As many times as you like! It’s a game that is designed to be replayed as you character remembers their past life/lives and can alter events based on that knowledge. I just wanted to save everyone and explore all possible endings, I got sucked in hard!
Why Do I Like It So Much?
- SO MANY OPTIONS! Do you want to romance all the characters? Be in a poly relationship or are you not interested in romantic gestures at all? Choose your own pronouns? Do you want to be a bully or give back to the community? Do you want to commune with aliens or become part of a military complex? End famine or create a life-ending virus? Everything is possible! You might just have to do it a couple times over to get the outcome you want.
- The developers created a beautiful world with intricate storytelling. They wanted to have inclusive storytelling, but also knew that not all subject matter was suitable for every player. Before you even start, you have the option to look at a list of content warnings, which I thought was very considerate thing to add to the home screen.
- Every single character has a backstory, their own personality, desires, dreams and fears. You may think that they’re only side characters in your world, but they have a mind of their own and their choices make sense for who they are meant to be.
- The mini-games to level up your skills are simple yet fun. Each memory is more or less transformed into a card, which you can then use to level up and do certain jobs in a card game. It’s not the hardest thing in the world to master the mini-games, but when your stress level is too high, you might curse them. If the novelty ever wears off, you can turn off the card challenges though.
- The auto-saves are super solid and while you should “bookmark” certain milestones, I’ve used the auto-saves quite often to remedy a bad decision.
- While the look of the game is definitely more cute and pretty than steamy, I still have to praise it. For me, it had the perfect visuals.
- You really go through a whole bunch of emotions. Grief, loss, happiness, relief, joy, anxiety, anger, jealousy, … you name it, it’s packed somewhere into the game. I always tended to pick the kinder options, because even in a game, I find it hard to be mean to people, but you can even be as rebellious or compliant as you like.
- As I said, it’s a game you start over again and again and again … with that come certain repetitions. You have the option to skip dialogue you have encountered before, but some tasks remain tedious and necessary regardless. I sometimes wish I could also keep some of my character’s abilities, but that is just me being greedy.
- While you have the option to customize a lot about your own character, such as name, gender etc., you can’t really choose your appearance. I got used to it and definitely didn’t mind it in the end, but I would have loved to create my own look, hair or clothing choices.
- You can’t change everything. I don’t want to spoil anything, but despite some people claiming you can save everyone, there are a couple character deaths that you simply cannot prevent, no matter how hard you try. They are necessary for other character’s story arcs, so there’s that. I was sad, but I also got it from a storytelling point of view.
In the last week, I’ve played this game for more than 50 hours and I can see myself putting in even more time. It just has such a special feel to it, that I keep wanting to come back. I know I could have gone more in depth on some parts, but where’s the fun in knowing all that could happen?