A strange sense of pride mixes queasily with mortal horror as I think about the amount of time I have sunk into this game in the past year or so. A little worried about the ‘there’s no end in sight’ situation I’m in now, I guess, but whatever. It fills the staving-off-existential-dread void really nicely, like an old glove, and gives me something to do when I stumble home exhausted and confused after standing in a dish pit mechanically de-greasing pans in some sort of depressing parody of all those fast-food-job-simulator flash games I loved as a child. So RimWorld definitely, definitely is the sort of game that will grab hold of the hyperfocusing compulsives of this world and never let them go; and the fundamental reason it does this, I’m pretty sure, is because of its intense replayability plus its complexity. You will never play anything approaching the same game twice. It’s essentially impossible because there are so many variables in terms of world generation, character and NPC generation, etc., etc.; and what hooks you is the stories you tell yourself about your campaigns. The acceptably-drawn character models, really just blobs with heads that move about as if on wheely shoes nobody can get rid of, become developed individuals with personalities you graft onto them, and the story of your game becomes a larger narrative surrounding their lives and experiences. That’s how I always play it, anyway. And then when somebody dies it’s like a BIG DEAL, if you really ‘liked’ that pawn, you anthropomorphized that pixel-represented bundle of numbers to the extent that you feel their death in the way you might feel the death of, I don’t know, a cherished goldfish. It’s too much emotional work sometimes, when you’ve already been crying over the greasy pans of capitalism all day.
RimWorld had a pretty long development period but it definitely needed it, considering its complexity. Do you like learning to navigate menus? And how many embarrassing hundreds of times are you willing to look for stone blocks under everything else *besides* raw resources before you understandably decide you are no longer able to care? Think about these things before you buy it, and you have to also sort of accept that unfortunately, in order to ‘really’ start enjoying it you do have to put in a fairly serious investment of your time. Not everyone wants to or even CAN do that, and to be fair it’s a little ridiculous that it takes 100 hours of gameplay or so before you finally feel as if you ARE, in fact, fully prepared for ALL contingencies (but you still aren’t! woo), but it also depends what difficulty you’re playing, and what exactly you’re looking to get out of the game, overall. A lot of people, especially Youtubers, will only play on the hardest difficulty, for a nice juicy flex. But there’s no reason to do that other than if you just genuinely like the challenge, and playing RimWorld on a low difficulty indefinitely is not a crime. It’s understandable – because the higher difficulties really do start to feel unfair sometimes. (As a roguelike, or a game where you’re supposed to die sometimes, that’s supposed to be part of the point. In reality, and especially if you’re emotionally attached to your pawns, it’s just more of a pain, and you’ll end up save-scumming and then being really ashamed for no reason).
Play it if you love complexity, you love stories, you love getting absolutely absorbed in something dynamic and personalizable and continually surprising (in mostly very good, very impressive ways). Play it if you don’t have a full-time job and many other assorted life responsibilities. It’s a base-builder and also a survival game, and a story generator, and an RPG, and an RTS, and so on – it’s just about anything you might wish it would be, and then it can be more than that too when you get into the community’s really fantastic library of mods. It staves off existential dread by forcing you to manage the day-to-day trials and tribulations of wee pixelated objects moving around the screen like so many hapless, silly ants – guiding them out of the path of death and suffering is never not exciting, never not compelling. Melancholic writing dweebs like me will fall all over the story-telling elements (and to clarify, it’s a story you mostly tell to yourself, not one the game tells to you), and there’s also lots of stuff in here for technical dweebs who like to min-max and get deep into the stats and percentages and whatnot. The base-building elements will satisfy all those who, like me, spent their childhoods carefully arranging and re-arranging their Sims’ houses to an ideal state of feng shui; (if you want to go further down the architectural-design route you can of course download furniture expansion mods and so on), and there’s even the imminent threat of large animals stampeding all your people to their bruised and lingering deaths for those who are partial to the eventual triumph of nature over humankind. (Idk what I’m talking about anymore, someone should take my keyboard away).
In short: Not for everyone, because of the time demand, the amount of effort and attention you have to give it just to get over the initial ‘What the why are they all dying’ hurdle. (Which is actually more of a long series of hurdles that progressively get lower and lower and easier to pass as you get a better grasp of the mechanics).
If you have the time and want the challenge, go for it. You’ll probably be very pleased you did. I was, and that’s why RimWorld is my favourite game. Give it a shot.
TL:DR: This is the greatest colony management simulation ever made and for me one of the greatest games ever made.
In a world of rushed, shallow and buggy games which have somehow gotten worse in terms of gameplay over the last couple of decades, here is a true throwback to the brilliance and ingenuity which the great games of the past used to have.
To put it simply, Rimworld is outstanding.
I am a big fan of management simulation games and I really wanted to get into Dwarf Fortress, but I just couldn’t. I know I suck, it looks epic, but I just couldnt handle the UI. So I tried Gnomoria. I loved it, however I found it’s ceiling was too low for me even with mods. I got the best armor, had 2 squads of elite dwarves who could crush any goblin invasion, I did it all. It was also pretty buggy.
Having really enjoyed this game I began looking to see if something similar was out there that I could play next. I found a reddit thread of people asking for games similar to gnomoria and there amongst the Dwarf fortress comments I saw someone mention Rimworld.
This would be the beginning of many difficult journey’s learning how to survive the harsh conditions and even harsher inhabitants of the Rimworld.
Imagine prison architect visuals and UI meets a very slightly less detailed version of Dwarf Fortress, then you have Rimworld.
What makes this game stand out is the freedom to do what you want. Games these days seem to have forgotten that for many video games are a form of escapism, somwhere to lose yourself and induldge in fantasy, playing the game how you want. Whether you liked stopping at every red light in GTA or you enjoyed having relations with maids in the sims, it is the freedom that made these games what they are.
Rimworld delivers this along with one of the most in depth colony management and building simulations that I think has ever been made.
People will tell you to build your first settlement in mountains. I hated that so I never did, I always built a wooden complex that I would upgrade to metal if I made it that far. It caused me lots of problems with temperature regulation, fires and when I ultimately got invaded by the powerful alien mecha’s my wooden forts were usually no match for their sheer range and firepower.
It doesn’t matter. Losing is part of Rimworld. It is what makes the game what it is, everytime you learn something new and it is one of the only games that always keeps you coming back for more. I have built so many colonies and had them all obliterated eventually, but I just keep coming back, you always want to come back to this game it just has the magic formula.
Tynan has put so much effort and thought into this game and it shows. You should be proud of yourself for what you have done here, I personally have lost a lot of faith in the games industry over the last decade. I loved the complexity and depth of computer games and it seems like people forgot about this and went for shiny graphics and fast sells.
You have remembered what makes computer games great and I pray you get the recognition and success you deserve from this absolute work of brilliance.
I know this is a bad review. I cant think straight when I am writing about this game as there is so much to say, so I apologise.
All I can say is that if you like management sims then this really is the king of them all. Get the game and play it, read some basic guides if you get stuck, but honestly just try to make your own way in the Rimworld, it is very rewarding to do so.
For those of you who want to know more detail about the game play I recommend watching some youtube videos, but basically you have a group of settlers each with their own personalities and skill sets. Your goal is to create a colony in in the map area of your choice. You can build, craft, hunt, trade, take prisoners, kill and loot raiders, tame and breed animals for whatever purpose you desire, there is a lot to do.
But there are problems… Temperature, freak weather conditions, meteors, invasions, raids, disease, depression and a lot more. The game excels at ruining your day, one minute your doing great and you have plenty of food and everyones happy. Next minute a freak winter kills all your crops and people starve and die. The survivors are so unhappy they refuse to work for long times. Eventually they go insane and kill each other. This is just one potential route that your colony can take. Everything can be great and then you get invaded by powerful alien raiders who wipe you out, though that is usually a late game event unless you are playing with the random story teller.
Honestly there is so much to this game I really recommend watching videos and reading guides if you want to learn more.
One more thing. The modding community for this game is one of the best. The mods people have made for this game are incredible. Honestly some of the mod packs add so much more content to this game. New factions weapons, entire new crafting systems, new tiers for pretty much everything, complete overhaul on farming, combat and electricity. Some of the modpacks litterally have everything cool content wise and then customise the pack as a whole so they all link together with new intergrated research trees and UI categories.
And its not even finished yet with massive content additions in every new alpha that is released.
Honestly the best game I have ever played.