I’ve played RimWorld for easily over 1000 hours aside from the 160+ hours on record for my account, I really should have reviewed it sooner since I’ve played it so long, but I never got around to it, so this’ll include my experience in the game, what’s good and bad, and everything you’d likely need to know before getting it.
To jump to my conclusion: This game is fantastic if you like build a colony from the ground up, it’s very interactive and you’ll always have something to do, be it planning a new room for your base, building up defenses, creating a more reliable food source or even raiding enemy factions. At first it’s very daunting as there is a lot to get used to, but each new discovery comes with a new way to experience the game, your story is always your own and it’ll never be the same as before, lending this game to nigh-infinite replayability, and that’s not even considering mods which are abundant, relatively easy to make yourself and very active. The developers constantly revise and improve aspects of the game improving it more and more as time passes, even your own ideas may be implemented if they’re good additions to the game. The community is one of the best I’ve seen, where people joke around, share their playthroughs and wacky happenings whilst generally having a good time. I recommend this game if you like strategy, tackling positive/negative turn of events, planning things, and sandbox style survival games. If you’re still on the fence for buying the game, watch a ‘lets play’ video and see madness that can occur, check out all the mods that are available and imagine the possibilities, it really is a great game.
Art 8/10: The art style is quite minimalistic, at first it may be a turn-off but the style works well with the gameplay, with the attention you need to pay to so many things on screen it’s good that the textures aren’t complex, as it’d strain your eyes, whereas this style is soft on the eyes and doesn’t impede the gameplay, things represent what they’re meant to be, and it’s surprisingly easy to get immersed into the game with the simplistic graphics.
Story 10/10: This game is both heart breaking and hilarious, there is no set story, so things can go in any direction, you could have a trader caravan arrive to sell items just as a raid occurs, causing a massively shoot out between two major groups just outside your base, after which you can mop up all their valuables and turn their corpses into meals and skin, maybe for that human leather hat you’ve always wanted. Perhaps you start brewing beer only to have one of your pets drink some and get addicted to alcohol. Story is incredibly well done in this game, and with how fun it can be I’m surprised lots of other games don’t use the same style.
Sound 6/10: The sound is basic like the art, the sounds work for their intended purposes, there’s nothing spectacular to talk about nor is there anything unique, the sound it has is right, but it’s not something the game is well known for and isn’t made to contribute a lot to the game.
Gameplay 8/10: There are different types of games so I’ll elaborate, for the style of game this is (a sci-fi colony sim) I’d say the gameplay is near perfect, and it can be perfected to a player’s liking with mods, a lot of features from popular mods are incorporated into the game over time so the base game’s gameplay will get even better over time. Things are placed using the UI at the bottom of the screen, and your colonists with build them if they have the resources, they can get the resources from your setting up of work orders (like cutting down trees, mining rocks, butchering animals, harvesting plants and various other ways). It’s almost like you’re the architect of a colony, telling them what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, it’s quite nice as luck is a big factor, but foresight allows you to somewhat control your luck, and mitigate disaster, there’s little that’s more satisfying than diverting misfortune with a well thought out plan.
Mods 9/10: Mods are very good for this game, some change the game entirely (like changing the space-cowboy style theme to that of Lord of the Rings, Medieval, WW2 era and many others), whilst others change / add to the games features and tools, allowing for you to adjust anything you don’t like into something you do like, and the modding community is quite active, if there’s a good idea for a mod then it’s likely already made, If you choose to buy it then I recommend trying the base game without mods first, as whilst they add a lot to the game, they also take away from the main theme, playing it without mods will help you understand the fundamentals a lot quicker.
Overall 9/10: The features individually would make the game an 8.2/10, but how they come together makes it a 9/10 for me, since RimWorld is the best game of it’s type, I’ve looked long and hard for other games like it, and Prison Architect is the only game similar, but to me it doesn’t have the random glory that RimWorld has. RimWorld is certainly worth £30, hell it’s worth £50+ to me since I’ve got so much entertainment out of it, other games you may play for 200, maybe 300 hours, but this is one of those games which you can sink months into, and games like that are worth buying.
Thanks for reading my review if you did, I don’t often write reviews but this game is just so good that I can’t help but share my opinion.
This review was written at est. 200+ hours played (non-steam version) between A14 and A16.
Strategy/Building/Management games are my preferred form of crack.
I. The Colonists
Each colonist has a backstory, and a large set of skills (or lack thereof) as well as various traits (bonuses or negatives). Some are particularly gifted with certain skills and gain experience much faster than those without. You will inevitably begin filling specific jobs to colonists which are more suited towards them as a result, which is both satisfying and realistic. Your colonists must work together to produce food, shelter and goods to survive the harsh RimWorld.
All colonists have: Social relationships, which is similar to The Sims or Crusader Kings II, though without the hassle of maintaining them yourself. Abrasive (trait) colonists will tend to off others and occasionally get into social fights for example; Basic needs such as food, rest, comfort, joy, beauty and space, all of which must be maintained by the colony products/facilities; Gear, which consists of the clothing they wear, armor and weapons; Health, which is my personal favorite. If your colonists go hunting and are mauled by a bear for example, there’s a good chance they will lose a limb which you can then replace with a bionic limb, assuming you have the resources to do so. Amputation, organ harvesting, drug addiction and more are all part of the health system, and it is phenomenally done.
II. Colony Building/Design & Crafting
Out of all the games I’ve played, few offer such an extensive crafting system (except maybe Factorio) as RimWorld. Your colonists will have to make everything they need in order to survive their harsh environment. Whether it be the shelters they build and live in, or the clothing they wear, or the types of foods they grow and eat, or the types of animals they raise and hunt. If you are in a biome filled with deer, odds are most of your clothing is going to be made out of deer hide. Your colonists will have to work tirelessly to produce all the goods you need in order to survive.
III. Random Disasters/Events
There are a great many random events which occur during any given moment of a game. Thunderstorms (wet and dry) may cause fires, blights which destroy your crops, eclipses which will kill your solar panels, solar flares to turn off all electronics, infestations of bugs, and more. There are also trade caravans from nearby factions, as well as enemy raiders to come harass and murder your poor colonists. To give you an excellent example of just how much these events can change the course of your game, I’ll tell you now a story of one of my failed colonies:
In the Fall, my colonists have produced plenty of warm clothing and stockpiled a good amount of food. They’re ready to get through the winter, no doubt. Then one beautiful crisp morning, a powerline overloads and begins a fire in my mostly wooden structure. I immediately wake up all the colonists and send them to fight the flames, but by the time they put it out, more than half the food has been burnt up. When the fire started, a colonist was in the room with the powerline and was burnt to a crisp. Already a man down, and it’s not even winter. Then winter comes, and with it, a large raid.
Fending off the raiders isn’t usually too bad, but this one was the largest yet. The raiders damage a good portion of the front of my colony, destroying doors, walls, heaters and other vital equipment as well as killing another colonist (who just happened to be my primary Doctor). My remaining 3 colonists are depressed from the deaths of their friends (and brother for one of them), and one finally snaps. He goes wandering around in a daze outside in the snow during a cold snap. Most of the food is gone by this point, and things are looking bad. Another of the colonists nearly bled to death, as the only remaining ones have very poor medical skills. We ran out of medicine last week, so you guessed it: infection. He dies from infection.
The wanna-be doctor wandering around outside is eaten by a pack of hungry wolves. Just one colonist left, and most of the food is gone. He’s going in and out of dazes, bodies of raiders and colonists are everywhere. Finally he runs out of food, and he does what he has to: he begins butchering the raider and colonist corpses for meat. Luckily they’ve remained frozen outside and in the half-destroyed buildings.
In the end, it’s in vain; During yet another dazed incident outside, he is attacked by a bear and loses a limb, bleeding out in the snow. And so ended a colony which would have otherwise been just fine for the whole winter. The events snowballed and snowballed until there was nothing left worth saving.
IV. A Whole World to Trade (Or Conquer)
A more recent addition to the game is the ability to send out your own caravans to nearby settlements to trade goods. You can also attack them, and be the horrible pirates that you probably hate by this point.
I. Normally I would list a bunch of odd choices for system design or bad interfaces or missing obvious features. Not on this game!
I. It’s still in Early Access, and thus it is not yet complete. Your savegames may occasionally break due to this, so don’t get attached to any of your colonies.
II. It can be horribly unforgiving and brutal.
And with yet more hours under my belt, a story emerges with ease from my latest settlement, and the most insane colonist I’ve ever had.
What began as a simple bid to survive amidst the mountainous waste-lands proved odder than many had ever thought. The colony first consisted of three. Gen, a depressive nudist, Aaron, the too-smart taster, and Slade, a volatile young Urbworld Criminal
They were an ecclectic bunch, but they were hard workers. Hunters, growers, miners, builders. The colony shaped. The mountain nurtured them. She housed them, sheltered them. But it could not always be a time of peace in that place they grew to call Taynid’s Navel.
Without warning, they came. At first few, but with time, many. The raiders of Hyenas Forest and the Pirate band known as the Murderous Vultures. Their eyes set on that place, its flourishing farms nestled before the great mountain.
The colony fought.
Gen and Aaron, though they were hard workers, they seemed ill equipped to deal with the harsh realities of battle. Particularly battle brought on by nothing more than greed and apathy. But Slade? He was born to it. For all his short years, he had lived it.
They don’t recall which; the fourth? Maybe the fifth incursion? But the son of the leader of the Hyenas himself headed a raid on the mountain’s children. A proud raider, he nearly brought them their goal, too. Gen and Aaron were pinned, they were outmatched, no matter how hard they struck, the raider fought on, thriving on the violence and bloodshed.
And from the ringing gunshots and yells, Slade awoke. The boy worn out from his hard night’s toil, rose with fury in his heart. He disliked being disturbed. The doors of the colony slammed open, and out he stormed into the midst of battle. A bee-line was made for the Leader’s son.
With one brutal punch, the raider fell, crumpling to the dusty earth.
Emboldened by their comrade, and the fall of the raid leader, the colony pushed back, and soon had the Hyenas on the run. The day was theirs, once more to continue building a life for themselves. Slade took from the fallen raider, his tuque, and walked back inside.
Seasons passed, the colony grew, and the Hyenas came sniffing once more. This time, fuelled by grief and a hunger for vengeance, the leader of the raiders himself made himself known. The force was greater, and their goal was clear. Take revenge on those that had stolen so greatly from them.
And just like his son, they struck a terrible blow against the colony, nearly bringing it to its knees. Several were wounded, but so too were the leader’s forces.
It would do for now. They could return at their leisure, and finish the task. As they turned, they found one of the colonists laying helpless from the fighting. A grin crossed the leader’s face, and hefting the helpless figure onto his shoulder, began a trek back towards their squallid hovel, to plan, and divest the mountain of her children.
Once more they had overlooked the sleeping Urbworld criminal.
At the cries from the colonists still conscious, Slade made his appearance. Though he was volatile, and he had little rapport with the others, they were there with him, celebrating with him, suffering with him, working hard to eke out a living in that place. They had earned his respect.
His pistol flashed, his shot rang out, and with a curse, the leader from the Hyenas Forest dropped his struggling prize.
The stories spoke of the figure that had taken his son’s life. The monster that had ended his most prized pillager and fighter with a single, merciless strike. A boy. A wirey boy, in poorly crafted leathers, and his son’s tuque. It had to be a farce.
A boy with his hardened face and burning stare that with a second bullet that went whizzing passed the leader’s ear, were enough to send the leader running in pain. Reinforcements? Cowardice? Slade didn’t care.
He chased the man.
He ran him along the plains, through the spindly make-shift paths of the mountain, over the lake of the far-reach pools. Step by pounding step, closing the gap between them. His pistol lifted, the shot rang out.
The leader collapsed, yelling and swearing as the boy approached him. He froze, staring at the silent gaze looming over him. Slade lifted his pistol once more.
The shot rang true.
Art was crafted of the bane of the Hyenas. A party was had. The colony continued to thrive.
Through the on-going raids, the fighting grew harder and harder. No one recalls who, what, or exactly when it happened, but a lucky shot to the young criminal’s arm rendered it useless, and for a time seemed to rein the young Slade. But the colony had not been resting on their laurels. They, like the mountain, did not abandon their kin. Their labours and budding connections with the nearby Tribes and towns, eventually brought a caravan to their midst.
And from one such caravan, they purchased a Bionic arm, and rushed Slade to the operating theater.
The seasons pass, the colony thrives. Word wanders the wastelands, telling of that place, nestled deep within the mountains. To some: peaceful and just, where the hardiest of raiders have grown into peaceful, helpful souls. To others: the mountain that harbors the Bane of the Wilderness, The one with his shining metal arm, who tore the fangs from the hyena, and the wings from the vulture.