First Colony is a world-building simulation game with idle components. A player must act as the chief of the first Martian colony. In this career, they must build a simple base into a thriving, self-sufficient colony that doesn't need Earth for resources.
The game saves the player's progress after 647 in-game years. This is nearly the equivalent of a year on Mars. It monitors the player's success in terms of victory conditions that reflect a specific number of happy, healthy colonists and the number of years that the colony has self-sufficiently continued to grow.
The player has no direct control over the colonists. Instead, they control the structures, systems and resources the colonists rely upon to survive. They acquire, use and store resources such as building blocks, energy, water, oxygen and food. They set up much-needed structures using empty grid cells that appear on the surface and underground. The player can create one or more floors, restrooms, dining rooms, gyms, medical bays, storage areas, generators and elevators. They can also install gardens.
First Colony requires a player to monitor the needs of the colonists and the status of the base and then strategically perform tasks. The game supplies them with a panel along the top of the screen that displays the status of all resources in real-time. They can also use a helper functions bar near the upper left corner to call a rocket, send a rover, upgrade the points they use to build things and give colonists different commands.