Rimworld is a great game that fits into various genres. I like to call them ‘tinkerer’ games. Transport Tycoon, Dwarf Fortress, Prison Architect, The Settlers, Minecraft. Games for people who like to see things grow in various environments and under various self-imposed or game-imposed challenges. You’re not really playing the game, you’re tinkering with an ant colony to see what happens.
Rimworld hits those notes well. It is heavily inspired by Dwarf Fortress, but much more accessible and focused in its design. Tynan Sylvester has done what Blizzard does when they step onto a new game genre: Take the bits that work and polish them to smithereens.
If anything is to be brought forth as vital to the design choices to this game, storytelling is the word I’d use. The focus on having only around 3-15 characters compared to Dwarf Fortress’ 100-200 makes it much easier to pay attention to your character’s plights. Which there will be many of.
Lose an arm to a mega-scarab, Lose an eye to a raider bullet, Get the plague while working in the hot summer farmlands, get blown up by faulty electrical epquipment, get stabbed by jealous ex-spousefriend, get perforated by sentient maggot-machine’s minigun, get burned alive in napalm siege, get smothered by invading manhunting cats. The list goes on.
The hard sci-fi universe he’s designed is also fascinating to study. The mix of primitive tribes, super-advanced machines and nano-tech, takes the concept of slower-than-light space travel and cryogenic storage to one of its likely conclusions: A galaxy filled with waxing and waning civilizations that meet now and then as a centuries old ship finally slides into orbit.
So, to sum this up with a summary: Rimworld is a very entertaining strategy / survival simulation / Story generating / tinkerer game for those that like building / watch pawns build refuge on godforsaken planets, in the vain hope of getting off it again.