Autonauts, the adorable automation-focussed colony management sim from developer Denki, has just received its first major free update of 2020 on Steam, titled Industrial Revolution.
Your basic goal in Autonauts, as Eurogamer's Tom Phillips discovered when he dabbled last year, is easy enough to get to grips with: automate your merry band of worker robots to make your new planetary home inhabitable for humans. Actually reaching that point, though, is considerably less straightforward, with players needing to programme their charges to efficiently navigate an ever-more dizzying crafting tree. Wood makes tools makes a farm for rearing sheep to gather wool to make clothes and so on and on.
Autonauts' first free updates, which arrived at the tail-end of last year, introduced the likes of new bot variants, new cooking options, new buildings, and new apparel. Today's update, however, is far more substantial; as well as introducing mod support, it punts the somewhat rustic world of the core game straight into the Age of Steam.
As Denki puts it, the goal of the Industrial Revolution update is to "[shift] the automation emphasis to mechanise the mining of coal and metal resources to build and fuel steam-powered worlds". To that end, there are new advanced rail networks and related infrastructure for the transportation of goods and resources (featuring 20 new structures and four core vehicles), alongside a range of new tools and upgrades.
There's the Steam Hammer, Paper Mill, Jacquard Power Loom, and Printing Press, for example, as well as a backpack enhancement for storing new items, and a memory upgrade so bots can perform more advanced routines. There're new era-appropriate housing options (the two-storey brick house and mansion), new toys, and fancy new Dickensian attire too.
The Industrial Revolution update also adds two new categories to the Pyramid to Transcendence - Health and Education - expanding the evolution options available for colonists. "Make use of leeches and flowers to dispense medicinal aid to sick colonists and ensure they continue generating Wuv," says Denki, "and raise their undernourished intellect with books."
Autonauts' forward march through time and technology is, according to the post-launch roadmap released last year, set to continue in April, with the advent of its Phase 3 update, known as the Age of Enlightenment. Before that, however, two small updates will expand the likes of fishing options, recipes, and buildings.
To celebrate the arrival of today's Industrial Revolution update, there's 30% off Autonauts on Steam until 10th February. It's currently available for £12.59 instead of the usual £17.99.