This game… oh my goodness, IT’S FAN-ING-TASTIC!!!
Okay, I’m not one to write reviews often or in great detail, so take this with a grain of salt, but this sponge for my free time deserves the praise.
RimWorld is a sci-fi colony management game about trying to survive on a randomly generated rimworld (roll credits). It basically allows you to take a small group of people, or pawns (1-5 with varying resources), and try (and usually fail) to make a thriving settlement for one reason or another, gaining more colonists and building the area into a sort of town. Before I deceide to ramble on about the game’s mechanics, I’ll give the short version: this is the best simulation game I have ever had the pleasure of playing, there are more cool mechanics and features than you could shake a stick at, and this is easily worth the pretty penny I spent on it with this much content already here with more on the way! Okay? Okay.
Now for the long version:
You can do a TON of stuff in this game. For example, let’s say your town gets attacked by a group of raiders from the local pirate band. Among these attackers is the long lost brother of one of the colonists, Jenny, whom may become incredibly depressed if you kill him. So, you purposefully set aside a few people to flank him with non-lethal clubs and succeed in taking him and one of his buddies as prisoners. Naturally, you set aside the brother, named Fred, for recruitment by your best warden. However, his buddy, Dennis, having worthless stats and a severed hand (due to your poorly managed attack bear), is of little use to your thriving colony, aside from a nifty bionic eye, and is allowed time to heal in order to be sent back to his base as a sign of goodwill to improve relations between the pirates and your colony.
While considering this, you soon discover that Fred has sustained a permanant injury in his eye, rendering him very ineffective in shooting long distances. To avoid a serious loss of his reputation (due to the ‘disfigured’ debuff caused by facial injuries) or possible usefulness, you decide to install a bionic eye to turn his disability into an advantage. In an effort to save resources, you opt to simply harvest the bionic eye in Fred’s buddy, Dennis, along with a few non-vital organs, before sending him on his way to stumble back home. Fred, now new and improved, is soon recruited and you assign him to be the colony’s main hunter, arming him with a worn assult rifle before sending him off with a Husky to bring in some extra meat before the approaching winter begins to set in.
This is only scratching the surface of the stuff that can happen in RimWorld. So, I’m also going to tell you a (relatively) shorter story that happened in my last session in my Randy Random – Permadeath world. I just want to provide for those wierdos that look through RimWorld reviews for cool stories (A.K.A. me).
The beginning was normal, the three colonists having been collectively sufficient for each job besides Research, which everyone was incapable of doing. There was Markus, Inessa, Valvara, and her dog, Nymph. Markus was the strong, heroic, military-type; Inessa was a pretty construction engineer with a passion for shooting ; and Varvara was a hulking woman that had a particular affinity for animals, gardening, and general outdoor activity, always caring for Nymph.
Markus and Inessa were already hitting it off when Varvara’s ex-lover, Bones, came begging for recluse from pursuing pirates, to which they had said yes. Bones was a greedy, jealous, neurotic nurse with a silver tongue. After the battle, the two pirates, Jenson and Wes, were captured as prisoners. Afterwards, Bones came forth with a secret: he was addicted to smokeleaf, a drug with one of the lowest chances to cause users to develop a dependency. Ashamed, he vowed to go cold turkey.
As time went on, the colony of Jeweler’s Ridge progressed in both size and fellowship. Markus and Inessa became engaged and Bones occasionally became enraged or dazed with his withdrawl symptoms, always refusing the option to take a joint for relief. Eventually, a terrible crisis occured: One day, while Varvara was hunting a pack of caribou with Nymph, a stray shot caused the entire herd to seek revenge on their attacker. As Varvara ran back to the colony, Inessa and Markus thinned the herd’s numbers as they approached. Unfortunately, they had to retreat to their rooms before they could finish off the herd.
While the caribou roamed Jeweler’s Ridge for men to prey upon, Bones was still outside, near Nymph, wandering around in a beserk rage due to his withdrawl. He ran up to one and attempted to fight the remaining caribou along side Nymph. It was only by sheer luck that the other colonists were able to kill the rest of the herd and save Bones, if only barely. Nymph was not so lucky, having been beaten to death by the maddened hooves of the caribou. Bones, after a quick patch-up job to keep him from bleeding out, was left in his room as Markus and Varvara tried to clean up the mess outside and Inessa recovered from her own injuries. When Markus returned to finish Bones’ treatment, he had already contracted an infection in his left shoulder with little chance of recovery. Markus desperately searched for medicine to amputate the arm and save his friend, but, sadly, he had already used the last of it on Inessa and himself. So, he did the only thing he could do: he put Bones out of his misery. He was later buried in a sarcophagus.
But, soon after the burial, a man named Robert came crashing down in an escape pod, and Varvara recognized him as Bones’ father! He confirmed this and, upon the recieval of the news on Bones’ demise, he only said a few words before proceeding to what was now his room. Later, Markus witnessed Robert making various statues of Bones’ achievements with tears in his eyes. He made two depicting the withdrawl induced rage that the others told him about, and one retelling Bones’ successful trade deal that had greatly helped the colony through the winter. Although they have never shown it, Robert was very proud of his son and he, as well as Markus, would forever miss the devilish nurse that had once brightened their days and nights with the witty banter only found in the darkest crevices of humor that the world has to offer.
(And yes, the events unrelated to characters talking all happened/are true. I still have no real idea why Robert had made the statues of his son, not only after his death, but also when he himself was never there to witness his son’s achievements and only appeared after his death. I only made the little narrative additions to rationalize why certain things happened and to make the story a bit more interesting. Anyway, buy RimWorld; its awesome as .)
EDIT: 300 Hours in and I’m STILL loving this devourer of my free time. I may have a problem. Fortunately, I don’t care enough to stop.
It’s taken me a while to write this review, because I’ve been (and still am) split very much 50:50 on whether to recommend this title, but on balance in the game’s current state unfortunately I cannot recommend it.
Certainly there are some good things here, I have over 40 hours logged because the game’s world and mechanics are intriguing; the graphics have a certain charm, they are more than adequate for a game like this, and it is set in an interesting and well thought out sci-fi world. Unfortunately I kept finding myself underwhelmed by the content and options that the game actually presented me with.
I should state that I have played and enjoyed Dwarf Fortress, and I am a big fan of permadeath and Roguelikes in general – I have ascended in and even contributed to Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, which by the way is a free and awesome game so go download it now if you haven’t played it 🙂
The problem for me with RimWorld is that while there is a really interested structure of a game here, that structure has not been fleshed out with enough meat. For something that has been in development for nearly 3 years this is quite worrying, especially with the apparent pace of updates released by the developer. I really do hope to eventually be able to change my review, what needs to change for that to happen is that the mechanics need to feel rounded out in the core game without relying on mods. Certainly there are mods available that fix many of my concerns with the current gameplay, but £23 is rather a lot for a title that then requires mods to turn it into something resembling a complete experience.
I’ll conclude this review by listing some specific things that I think badly need addressing; going through this list it becomes apparent just how nearly every single mechanic in the game feels majorly lacking. Warning, some spoilers ahead, though they are very minor.
1. Some bits of furniture can be ‘uninstalled’ and moved to a different location, but it seems completely arbitrary which furniture this can apply to. It doesn’t apply to workbenches, so if you want to move one a single square to the right you have to completely deconstruct it and rebuild it, *wasting* resources. There is a mod that makes them all movable. This mod simply switches some flags in the xml files, no more, so it would be incredibly easy for the devs to enable this (like a 10 minute job) and there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason why they don’t.
2. Many of the workbenches have only a single option for what you can build. Would be nice to have a bit more variation, when the build queue for each bench technically alllows building many things of different types.
3. Research is too expensive and makes much too big leaps. Would be nice to see a proper research tree with smaller increments of unlocking different builds, rather than typically unlocking an entire bench with all the things it can build. Weirdly there is one research option that unlocks a new type of seed to grow, but *all* the other seeds start unlocked. The research just overall seems bizarre. I can right now research (among not many other things) ‘carpetmaking’ or ‘ship antimatter reactor’ … the latter only takes twice as much research as the former … this just seems like not the right decision to be making.
4. Not enough options for surgery and implants. I can harvest someone’s heart or kidney but not their limbs or their eyes. I can implant bionic legs, but I can’t repair a broken spine. I can’t construct these bionic implants myself. It seems like half the options there. Again there is a mod that provides a whole extra set of technologies to enable all this but it just feels the vanilla tech is unfinished.
5. Variation of enemies. Particular the mechanoids, there are only two types. Surely mechanoids could be even more varied than humans or critters?
6. GUI. There are all kinds of odd bugs and inconsistencies and awkwardness in the GUI. Sure it’s a massive improvement on DF but It *really* needs some love. There are also some basically usability things missing, for instance being able to compare the stats of two items or two characters side by side, or see a grid overview of the skills of all my colonists. When setting work priorities there is a grid where you have to hover over each cell to see the value of that specific skill, it’s really awkward.
7. Combat. The sometimes continual raids that the ‘storyteller’ throws at you get really tedious to defend, you have to micromanage every unit, which is really jarring next to the normal gameplay which is the antithesis of micromanagement. Combat should be set up by giving colonists rallying points or patrol areas, so during a raid they will all go to those locations. Take away direct control of the units, and make the raids a bit easier to compensate. This would much better fit the gameplay of a ‘colony builder’ game and be a lot more fun. Currently the best way to defend against raids is to abuse gameplay mechanics and pathing logic to direct the enemies into killboxes, which to me feels like cheating. Things need tweaking A LOT to make these firefights enjoyable. Also if you have trained any pets then they will get immediately slaughtered, probably by friendly fire. You can’t really mix melee and ranged combat at all because everyone (even those with high shooting skill) aims so badly they will just shoot your own melee dudes and pets instead of the enemy.
8. Balance. The game is very hard, and switching to easier difficulties doesn’t seem to change much. The ‘storyteller AI’ basically decides when it wants you to die and there doesn’t seem much that can be done about it. Apparently this is the point of the game. I would find these stories much more interesting if my colony had a chance to develop a bit further before inevitably getting decimated by overwhelming forces. It doesn’t help that it’s extremely slow and difficult to recruit new colonists, so usually losing even one or two (which is very likely to happen in any raid) is a serious detriment to any progress. Maybe I’m missing the point, but I was just not finding it enjoyable.
9. Size of map, travelling to other sectors. The default map really isn’t all that big, so resources are strictly finite. When you start the game you pick a spot on a *huge* world map but then you can’t visit anywhere else on that map (even though factions from elsewhere can visit *you*).
Well … I think those are all my biggest gripes, I could probably think of more, but this demonstrates the scale of the problem. I could see past one or two of these flaws because there is a really interesting game underneath struggling to get out, but with this many barriers to me enjoying it I just keep not wanting to carry on with my game. I’m not sure how long it will take the devs to fix all of this, if they ever do, but we could be waiting another 3 years.