As someone who enjoys creative sim games as well as programming (I’d hope I enjoy it, it’s how I spend my days) in theory Autonauts would be a home run for me. I absolutely love its charming look and cute characters, and I do appreciate what really feels like an earnest attempt to make programming concepts accessible through immediate “real world” application and a pretty basic core interface. Where the problems really cripple the experience though is in trying to wrestle with the controls, in particular with simply managing to contextually keep up with the user interface. The shame is that I have no doubt that on a PC with a mouse and keyboard you’d likely be in pretty good shape, and it could even be intuitive. With a controller though? Ugh. In particular needing to constantly shift between the D-Pad and the left joystick moving into and then back out of other modes, for me sucked the life out of the experience as I’d get sort of “stuck” without being able to tell what was going wrong or what to do since visually there weren’t any clear cues helping me out. If you have the patience, this serves as a pretty light and fun mix of a survival sim combined with some automation, just be warned that it’s not an ideal experience on Switch.
Justin Nation, Score: