When I saw this game on my recommended page, I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I could gather was that it has the same artistic style as Prison Architect, and basically it’s a colony-management, survival game. I was like ‘Eh, why the heck not. Getting bored of PUBG anyways..’ and bought the game at full price plus that season pass just because. I read the reviews on how people got so attached with their colonist, and I thought that ‘There’s no way that actually happened..’
My first 3 hours in, I realized what these guys meant. I saw the redeeming factors about this game, felt the emotions when trying to get these shipwrecked space tourists to survive on this forsaken planet. You’ll start to develop feelings for these 2D characters, all with their own stories and backgrounds, all with feelings of their own. In this game you don’t get to control hard-charging bloodthirsty fully skilled commandos, but frightened everyday people who were just unlucky to be on a wrecked space cruise ship, and now had to face the harsh enviroment of RimWorld. You actually start to feel their pain, their suffering, to the point that you’ll always try to do your best to manage them, entertain them, and protect them from hostilities.
But you’re not in charge of their fates. No, you have no control of the outcomes. You’d think that there’d be hope for them for the future, that they could rebuild a new life on this planet, have families, create a new civilization on this barren land,
then, disaster strikes.
Raiders, aliens, savage beasts, famine, nature,………
And when your survivors starts to drop one by one….The last guy desparately tries to survive…. but when he saw the lifeless body of his wife being eaten, the mutilated corpses of his fellow colonist, while all that they have build burns in the background… he’ll start to look at the gun in his hand…slowly..the monsters inside him comes crawling out, slowly ravaging his mind, and you, the player, the one whom these helpless people look up to, the one whom they trusted with their lives to lead them to a bright future, will know, will definitely know… that this was your fault.
It’s your fault that Bobby took his life away. It was you that caused the deaths of all these people. Orr, Nevile, Bennett. Kira….Now they’re all gone. Their bodies never to be found again…Their loved ones back on their homeplanets will never hear from them again.. left to rot or eaten on this planet…
And as you close the game… contemplating about the blood now is on your hands.. You’ll start to wonder if you could’ve done anything different… could you’ve prevented this…. could you ever see yourself in a mirror the same again… knowing…deep down…. you left those people to die….
Then you start up a new game and completely forget everything that happened before
I have been playing this game now for some time, and backed it on Kickstarter in 2013. Since this time the game has continued to grow and develop at a great pace. This review is based on Alpha 14, the last version before Steam release. I estimate that I have approximately 200 hours of play.
The setting for this game is a group of people in a sci-fi frontier backdrop (Firefly) trying to survive. Rimworld is described as a ‘Sci-fi Colony Sim’ by the creators, whilst accurate it is a rather dull description of what is a very fun and exciting game. This game has the depth of Dwarf Fortress with the aesthetics and visual style of Prison Architect. Throw in a great ‘western’ (as in cowboy) soundtrack and you have something pretty special. This is a niche game, it is not for people who prefer form over function, but after watching the trailer you will know if that is you or not.
This game is hard on its default / average settings. Your colonists will get sick and die, you will run out of food, wildlife and raiders will attack, colonists will freeze to death or go mad, and natural phenomenon will thwart best laid plans. Luckily, the amount of customisation available is huge. You really can tweak most options in the game, by changing your starting climates, picking your storyteller type and difficulty and selecting custom rules. You can select a random group of survivors or re-roll them as many times as you like. Options that are not changeable in game are often mod-able. The Ludeon Studios forum has hundreds of mods available, although many will likely require updating to be compatible with the Steam release. I would like to thank the creator of “EdB Prepare Carefully” for making a mod that I find it hard to play the game without.
The sandbox in this game is rather large. If you wish to build a small cannibalistic tribe (yes, you really can) that live in wooden huts in a jungle, you can. If you want to build into a mountainside for the true Dwarf Fortress feel, you can. Want to tame animals to attack hostile entities or help with hauling, guess what, you can.
The story progresses nicely at a pace determined by the storyteller options you selected at the start. A typical playthrough will have you rushing at the start to get shelter, and food. As you expand and more colonists join you will look towards researching new technology, and upgrading security measures. After a source of electricity is constructed, you can really start to grow. All the while you will have a number of challenges, some brutal, some comical. I recall one raid that followed after a solar flare
My only criticism of the game is that at the time of writing this, you cannot visit other colonies on the world map to raid or trade with them. I would not be surprised however if this changes in the future.
EDIT: Regarding the only criticism above, it has now been added!