Rimworld is an excellent base-building sim game. Some games of this genre or style are open ended, and if you simply want to continue indefinitely you can, but Rimworld does offer something of an end game by having you research and construct a starship to get you off the rim planet you are on. That said, you can always choose your own goals, play with many different styles and colonies, and no play through feels precisely like another, unless you really want it to.
Rimworld, and other base-building sims, are often compared to one another, and even more often compared to what is arguably the progenitor of many of these games, Dwarf Fortress. Like Dwarf Fortress, Rimworld aims to be a story telling simulation, rather that strictly a game with a final goal. I’ve mentioned the end game and building a space ship, but that is a purely optional end to your game, and you may very well not reach that point on harder modes or without reloads. That said Rimworld is a smaller game than Dwarf Fortress, but one with many unique virtues.
For one, Rimworld is infinitely more friendly graphically and in terms of UI. Building your base, managing your colonists, ordering them in combat, and just observing the day to day goings on of your colony are easy. As well Rimworld’s minimalist aesthetic is charming and I have never found myself getting bored of it. It has a multitude of events, multiple unique AI story tellers, what must be thousands of unique colonists, both useful and useless. What’s more the modding community for Rimworld is extensive and easy to integrate in game (literally built-in as a toggle-able list).
Mods can vastly extend your games, offer new and interesting mechanics, items, and stories. As for sins, Rimworld is not the most complex of sims. You’ll certainly have fun designing rooms and defences, and the all too popular kill boxes, but you won’t necessarily be building complex lava powered draw bridges, or crushing traps. You are relegated to single z plane for height, so no towers, or dungeons (at least in the base game). Events can get samey after the in-game years. Only so many bandit raids and mechanoid clusters can be dealt with before they become a bit of a chore.
Another quirk of Rimworld, despite its more charming appearance, is that it is quite grim and quite dark. Rimworld doesn’t wear a trench coat and write obtuse poetry, but there is plenty of slavery and organ harvesting. Colonists will go mad. They will starve, and turn on each other like animals. A thermo-nuclear cloud will turn the outside into a barren wasteland, and the colonists you send out to find food will get radiation poisoning. Fortunately the packs of man-eating animals will also get poisoned. The limb tearing robots don’t however, and they just crashed through the roof. Fortunately you can capture a bandit and harvest their lungs for your cancer riddled colonists’, and your now armless security chief can be made into a cyborg. And so on.
What Rimworld has at its base is fun, and will have you returning for more (even if you need to take a break for a while). The modding community is large and active, and actively add more to the game and address many of its minor sins and fumbles (like how eating without a table is apparently a war crime). If your looking for an accessible base-builder that still has a enough depth to be fun and engaging, I highly recommend Rimworld.
Run a ranch.
Breed buffalo for their wool and milk.
Drink unrefrigerated milk and get sick.
Butcher livestock for meat and pelts.
Make hats from buffalo pelts.
Fend off raiders with a 70 year old peg legged sniper.
70 year old peg legged sniper gets mauled by a raccoon.
Bleeds from every extremity, finger and toe.
A hero dies.
Start a new game.
Run a vegetable farm in a rainforest.
Tame pet elephants.
Install some mods.
Put children to work in the mines at age 3.
Dabble in the drug trade.
Use chemistry talents to refine raw plants into joints and cocaine.
Note that doctor works faster on cocaine.
Administer blanket drug policy on colony for daily mandatory cocaine doses to increase production.
Accidentally overdose all children in the colony on cocaine.
Capture incapacitated raiders who are after my cocaine.
Forcefully administer cocaine to inmates on a regular basis.
Gun down coked up prisoners trying to escape.
Make hats from the skin of dead prisoners.
Lightning strikes pet pig, killing it.
Pig’s owner goes berserk and sets fire to their own wooden house.
Take up positions against pig farmer, ready to open fire.
Friendly turret shoots coked up chemist through the back of the head, missing the pig farmer.
Start a new game.
Install more mods.
Cheat a lot of stuff for a quick start.
Cheat a good chemist with a lot of stimulants in stock.
Chemist gives himself brain damage while bingeing on stims. Struggles to train 14 year old apprentice.
Vastly underestimate supply of stims. Whole colony of 14 people go into withdrawals.
Chaos ensues as they take turns trying to desert to become wild people.
Shoot down deserters, trying not to kill them.
Two weeks of brawling, abuse and biting later.
Android colonist becomes an alcoholic.
Six year old girl gets into a social fight with alcoholic android.
Android belts her in the face, cracking her jaw.
Turn up fertility rates for baby mod.
Several couples immediately pregnant.
Two sets of twins.
Driven mad by endless baby shrieking and toddlers escaping their restricted zones.
Make hats out of babies.
Play the Rugrats theme in memoriam.
Experiment on prisoners. Decide to dabble in organ harvesting.
Have the decency to give them a beer first.
Remove their liver.
Have no use for a liver. Put it in storage for a rainy day.
Prisoner is dead. Won’t let a good hat go to waste.
Install even more mods.
Tame monster girls.
Milk monster girls and harvest their hair.
Ride a dragon into battle while blasting Halo guns.
Install an obscene amount of mods to deliberately break the game.
Find wild pokemon.
Gotta catch ’em all.
Start an oddish farm.
Harvest their hay and feed it back to them.
Notice a wild rattata breeding problem. Numbers skyrocket.
Zombie horde enters the map and munches the local wildlife.
Had the zombie settings cranked way too high.
Ride to battle against the tide of zombies with a jedi on the back of a rapidash firing bolters from 40k.
Let pokemon and monster girls get munched while colonists retreat through magical portal to another colony.
Gates of hell open and fire elementals overwhelm second colony.
Still haven’t explored all the hat mechanics. 10/10
Rimworld is one of my very few ‘always installed’ games. I can always come back to it, and begin a brand new story – because this game is amazing at telling stories, and this is the highlight of its appeal.
You start with a handful of survivors (or just one, if you enjoy extreme anxiety) who come crashing down onto a planet, into a biome of your choosing. This can range anywhere from a barren desert, to sea ice – which you won’t want to pick on your first play-through. You begin with a few resources – some steel and wood, a couple of weapons, and some food and medicine. Some biomes may require more urgent planning and building than others. Take, for example, my current game on an ice sheet.
My three pawns landed at the start of ‘Jugust’ – basically summer. The temperature was still around freezing, and I was immediately alerted that my guys needed warm clothes. I’d normally build nice little bedrooms out of steel when I first landed, but instead I desperately needed to make a warm space for them to rest in. A space in the cliffside seemed a good size, so I sealed it off with a door and a small wall, and placed a couple of braziers inside. Braziers, which require wood for fuel. Trees don’t grow on ice sheets! I built some production workbenches out of steel to conserve my wood, and set about building a wind turbine to generate some electricity, to lower my reliance on wood. As wind turbines only generate electricity when it’s windy, my heaters, lights and stove would constantly flicker in and out of power. A couple of walrus carcasses later, I had enough skins to make three parkas to help my pawns deal with the cold. Food… was slim. My pawns had to turn to cannibalism to survive the first few seasons, gunning down unwitting passers by. Moods were low, and my guys began to break. I researched batteries to keep my power up when my turbine was down, solving the heat problem, but doing nothing for the food issue. Wildlife only ventured onto the map a few times a month, and a snowhare could only provide 2 meals. I managed to research geothermal vents for a big boost to my power, and then hydroponics. Finally, with the addition of couple of solar panels and another turbine, I had enough power to start an indoor rice-farm, solving the food crisis.
I’ve seen some people say that the game has a steep learning curve. I don’t really think this is the case. The menus are clear, and the tooltips are helpful. I think that anyone who has played similar management games before will pick this up easily, and anyone else looking into this genre for the first time is provided the guidance they will need.
I never play Rimworld to win, and after nearly 500 hours, I’ve still never gotten to the point where I’ve built a space ship and left the planet. When my guys come crashing down to the surface, they’re there to settle. I don’t want to leave – I want to build and grow. The game doesn’t push you in any particular way; the offer to work to leave is there, but you can completely ignore it.
I’m delighted that Tynan has returned to updating Rimworld, adding further features and DLC to a game that was already amazing. Mods also offer great variety, though are not required to enjoy the game. I use a few mods to increase farming variety, add some extra wildlife, and alter some of of the UIs, but nothing too drastic.
The game is great, and I’ll definitely be returning to it year upon year.