Ark of Charon Early Access Review: Unique Colony Sim

Ark of Charon Early Access Review: Unique colony sim blending tower-defense mechanics.

Ark of Charon Early Access Review: Mobile base in a fantasy setting.
Image Credit: PCGamesN

Ark of Charon Early Access Review


Ark of Charon is an intriguing colony simulator that combines traditional mechanics with tower-defense gameplay, offering a unique experience that stands out in the genre. Drawing comparisons to titles like RimWorld, Ark of Charon also introduces elements reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle, giving it a distinctive visual and gameplay style. As it continues to develop in Early Access, Ark of Charon shows great promise with its innovative approach and engaging mechanics.

Narrative and Setting

The game’s narrative is set in a world once nurtured by a colossal, life-giving tree. This tree guided society into the modern age before suddenly decaying, unleashing a darkness filled with malevolent entities intent on destroying all life. Amidst this apocalyptic scenario, a new tree seedling emerges, and it falls upon you to protect it from the encroaching darkness.

Also Read:- Zenless Zone Zero Review: Urban Combat RPG

This setting forms the backdrop for Ark of Charon, providing a rich lore that enhances the gameplay. The opening cutscene effectively sets the stage, creating a sense of urgency and responsibility. The game’s environment, filled with decayed remnants and lurking threats, adds to the atmosphere, making the player’s mission feel both vital and immersive.

Gameplay Mechanics

Ark of Charon plays as a hybrid of a colony sim and a tower defense game. The core gameplay revolves around managing resources, constructing and upgrading your base, and defending it from waves of enemies. The game introduces a unique twist by making your base mobile, uprooting itself and moving to new locations as the darkness closes in.

Colony Management

In the early stages, the game tasks you with establishing a base in a resource-sparse region. You control three golems, who serve as your colonists. These golems can be assigned various tasks, such as gathering resources, building structures, and prioritizing activities. This aspect of the game is highly reminiscent of RimWorld, where micromanagement of your colonists is key to survival.

Also Read:- Aska Early Review: Survival Meets Village Building

Resource Gathering

Resource management is a critical component of Ark of Charon. The game requires you to exploit available resources efficiently before moving on to new regions. Interestingly, in this post-apocalyptic world, most resources are found underground. This includes wood, which you gather from mining giant roots. This mechanic forces players to think differently about resource acquisition compared to other colony sims, where wood is typically harvested from trees.

Base Construction and Mobility

One of the most distinctive features of Ark of Charon is its mobile base. The base is built on the back of a giant, walking tree, reminiscent of the fantastical structures in Howl’s Moving Castle. This mobility is both a strategic advantage and a construction challenge. Building your base on a moving platform limits your construction radius, requiring you to build vertically. This results in towering, lopsided structures that add to the game’s unique aesthetic.

However, the building system can be a bit cumbersome. Structures have ceilings but not floors, making it tricky to build right up to the edge of your mobile base. Some platforms stay intact, while others crumble during movement. This trial-and-error approach to construction can be frustrating but also adds a layer of strategy as you figure out the best way to utilize limited space.

Also Read:- Kunitsu-Gami: Unique Action-Strategy Adventure

Defensive Mechanics

The tower defense aspect of Ark of Charon becomes prominent when transitioning between regions. Moving triggers a period where your golems cannot interact with the ground, and enemies attack from the right side of the screen. During this time, you must rely on automated defenses, such as towers, to protect your seed core. This mechanic ensures that players are always on their toes, preparing defenses and managing resources to withstand these attacks.

Strategic Depth

Ark of Charon requires a constant balancing act between resource gathering, base construction, and defense preparation. The encroaching storm of darkness forces you to leave each region, guaranteeing a combat encounter and adding a sense of urgency to your actions. This mechanic prevents players from becoming too comfortable and encourages strategic planning and efficient resource use.

Art and Presentation

Visually, Ark of Charon stands out with its unique art style. The game’s aesthetic, influenced by Howl’s Moving Castle, features towering, whimsical structures that give it a distinct look. The world is beautifully crafted, with detailed environments and a dark, atmospheric tone that complements the game’s narrative.

Also Read:- BLUD Review: Nostalgic Dungeon Crawler Fun

The animations are fluid, and the art style enhances the overall experience, making the game visually appealing. The design of the golems and enemies is creative, adding to the immersive world of Ark of Charon.

Learning Curve and Challenges

While Ark of Charon offers a fresh take on the colony sim and tower defense genres, it also comes with a learning curve. The game does not always explicitly explain its mechanics, requiring players to figure out certain aspects through experimentation. For example, realizing that wood must be mined from underground roots instead of harvested from trees can take several playthroughs.

This trial-and-error approach can be both rewarding and frustrating. On one hand, it adds a layer of discovery and depth to the game. On the other hand, it can lead to repeated failures, especially for new players who are unfamiliar with the game’s unique mechanics.

Also Read:- Kingdom Hearts Steam Deck Review

Early Access Feedback and Improvements

As an Early Access title, Ark of Charon is still in development, and there are areas that need refinement. The building system, in particular, could benefit from improvements to make construction more intuitive and less prone to trial-and-error frustrations. The developers have been receptive to player feedback, and many of these issues are likely to be addressed in future updates.

The game’s potential is clear, and with continued development and polish, Ark of Charon could become a standout title in its genre. The blend of colony management and tower defense, combined with its unique presentation, offers a fresh and engaging experience that sets it apart from other games.


  1. What is Ark of Charon?
    Ark of Charon is a colony simulator that combines traditional colony management mechanics with tower-defense gameplay. It features a unique art style and a narrative set in a post-apocalyptic world.
  2. What platforms is Ark of Charon available on?
    Ark of Charon is currently available in Early Access on PC through platforms like Steam. Future platform releases have not been announced yet.
  3. How does the mobile base work?
    The base in Ark of Charon is built on the back of a giant, walking tree. As the darkness encroaches, the base uproots itself and moves to a new location. This mobility is a key strategic element of the game.
  4. What are the main gameplay mechanics?
    The main gameplay mechanics include colony management, resource gathering, base construction, and tower defense. Players must balance these elements to protect their base and survive in the post-apocalyptic world.
  5. What makes Ark of Charon different from other colony sims?
    Ark of Charon stands out with its unique mobile base mechanic, tower-defense elements, and a distinctive art style inspired by Howl’s Moving Castle. The game also introduces innovative resource gathering and construction mechanics.
  6. Is Ark of Charon difficult to learn?
    Ark of Charon has a learning curve, as some mechanics are not explicitly explained and require experimentation. However, this also adds to the depth and discovery aspect of the game.
  7. What are the current issues in the Early Access version?
    Some players have found the building system to be cumbersome, with structures sometimes crumbling during movement. The game’s developers are aware of these issues and are working on improvements based on player feedback.
  8. How can I provide feedback to the developers?
    Players can provide feedback through the game’s Steam page, official forums, or social media channels. The developers have been responsive to feedback and are actively working on improvements.
  9. What are the future plans for Ark of Charon?
    The developers plan to continue refining the game, adding new features, and addressing player feedback. While specific details on future updates have not been announced, the goal is to polish the game for its full release.
  10. How long is a typical game session in Ark of Charon?
    The length of a game session can vary depending on the player’s strategy and progress. Early stages may involve shorter sessions as players learn the mechanics, while later stages can involve longer sessions as the complexity increases.
  11. Are there any multiplayer features?
    Currently, Ark of Charon focuses on a single-player experience. There has been no announcement regarding multiplayer features, but player feedback could influence future development.
  12. Can I save my progress?
    Yes, Ark of Charon allows players to save their progress, ensuring that you can pick up where you left off in your quest to protect the seedling and build your colony.

Also Read:- The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road Chapter


Ark of Charon is a promising title that brings fresh ideas to the colony sim and tower defense genres. Its unique mobile base mechanic, strategic depth, and distinct art style make it an engaging experience for players. While the game is still in Early Access and has areas that need improvement, its potential is evident. With continued development and player feedback, Ark of Charon could become a standout game upon its full release.


  • Great art, unique style, and a distinctive vibe for the genre
  • Clever twists on presentation and mechanics, creating a unique experience
  • Engaging combination of colony management and tower defense mechanics


  • Some awkwardly designed features need polishing before the game’s full release
  • The building system can be cumbersome and requires trial and error

Ark of Charon is an exciting and innovative entry in the colony sim genre, offering a blend of familiar mechanics and new ideas that keep players engaged. As the game continues to evolve in Early Access, it holds great promise for a full release that could captivate a wide audience of strategy and simulation enthusiasts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top