Autonauts vs Piratebots is developer Denki’s recent follow-up to their original Autonauts If you are ever interested in trying Autonauts, AvP is definitely the best representative of the two games. It is a clean, good experience of a production/coding game. Not amazing, not outstanding, but definitely worth the cost.
The redundant food chains are scrapped. Wheat (Cereal) is the main food, and instead of Wuv, it produces gold which is the main resource to attack/defend. Berries are a secondary chain, producing Wuv, but Wuv is now only used to repair damaged buildings. The attacking itself isn’t too deep, it uses the old “Do X in Area” routines that you manipulate often with a sign. Research and progress is achieved by attacking eastward, and the unlocks present good logistical challenges that the original sometimes didn’t have.
The UI and quality of life is greatly improved. The Bot Database is both more usable with new features, and available at the start of the game. Signs can be manipulated remotely via menu, and the game presents objectives throughout the game and great tutorials. Worker bots have huge memory, fast actions, and no upgrades to do anymore.
After two playthroughs, I enjoyed the experience. Similar to the original however, I feel that design fatigue set in at the late game and many systems fell to the wayside or failed to evolve with player progression. Wuv is exclusively used to create repair kits, but falls flat. Most players will take little damage, and hardly need them, leaving the Berry production chain untouched. Later in the game there is a way to focus raids into one spot, and this feels unintentional and trivializes pirate raids.
Wrapping up and leaning into my last gripe, there was just a leftover feeling for more. Defending your base is too much micromanagement, pirates don’t develop more tricks or depth, and while building production chains and attacking is satisfying, there was a lack of luster that was hard to put your finger on.