Having spent many hours trying dwarf fortress, getting to a level of modest but below average competence, but always finding the interface to much hassle to work with to come back to very often, I’ve been looking for a good graphical colony simulator for a long time. All I wanted was something easy to navigate, something where each colonist felt interesting and individual (and thus you actually care about them a bit), and where there was plenty to do to build something self maintaining. I’ve tried a few and nothing really held my attention .. until Rimworld.
It captures so many of the fun parts of dwarf fortress (colonist Bob getting unhappy because the new arrival ex-lover happens to be a sister of another colonist that he was making passes at, which then makes the ex-lover start a fight with the sister who goes crazy, runs off to the wild, starving until she gets shot by a raider who was passing by – this is not a contrived cliche, these stories are commonplace and great). It has research, the ability to make cool stuff out of daft materials that makes no sense which you can then sell to traders with poor taste, it has pets that breed out of control and carry stuff for you. The only thing that dwarf fortress has that I noticeably missed was excellent handling of fluid management, but I can live without that.
Colonists can be pyromaniacs and repeatedly set fire to your crops because they’re bored, they can refuse to fight just because they’re pacifists, they can lose body parts from entire arms to single toes (which can almost always be replaced by amusing prosthetics), they can be homosexual, they can have drug addictions, there’s so much ‘flavour’ to each member of your colony that it’s easy to grow attached to specific colonists.
Raiders, heatwaves, toxic clouds of radioactive waste, animals going mad and attacking everyone, there are numerous events to ruin your day that you can tweak (both the frequency and severity) and change on the fly midgame, and there’s even the somewhat-beta-ish ability to run more than one colony at a time.
Not everyone’s cup of tea unless you like micromanagement colony games, but if you’ve always wanted to get into Dwarf Fortress but been put off by the ASCII, this is the closest you’ll get, falling short in some areas but surpassing it in others, and capturing the ‘feel’ of the game like nothing else I’ve played yet.
I saw my playtime on this game today and it felt criminal that I haven’t reviewed it yet. I’m only slightly ashamed of how much I’ve played this game, because it makes total sense when I consider how great it is. It was one of the very first (if not the actual first) Steam games I purchased. Every time I buy a new game, my hope is that it will be better than this one. Over 100 games later, and I still can’t beat or even match the everything experience that is RimWorld.
The basic objective is to research new technology so you can eventually build a ship to escape, but there’s so much other fun to be had, why would you want to? Multiple difficulty variations mean you can choose to have a big bloody hectic exploding mess on your hands, or a relaxing day of what I call ‘laze-gaming’, where you’re really just watching Netflix with the laptop on, and everything in between. Whether you want to farm, raise and care for animals, mine the ultimate base made of gold under a mountain, craft weapons and armor to crush your foes, their friends, and your friends, implant artificial parts into colonists, traffic humans, or to run Vault-Tec-style social experiments with unstable colonists in less-than-livable conditions, this game will only disappoint if you let it. There is a lot to this game. The learning curve is real and it can take a while to understand some of its complexities. Your first several colonies will likely go up in literal in-game flames. However, with some practice and a trip to the workshop, this game is practically limitless. And you should definitely check out that workshop, because the modding community for this game is killing it too. There are tons of well-made mods that can really enhance and tailor-fit the game to suit your preferred play style. Prepare Carefully in particular opened up a whole new world of personal game objectives and scenarios. It’s a good one no matter how you play.
Ludeon, I’ve been playing for a long time, and the beta road to alpha was exciting. Every post and every update filled me with weird double rainbow joy, and I feel weirdly but truly honored to have been able to watch it grow from the fun-but-buggy game it was to the massive beast it has become. Caravans?!?! That one blew my mind, dude. You’ve done a great thing here, but now you’ve ruined other games for me, so please go and do another one. I have more money and another thousand hours for you.