Early Access Watcher Reviews
Update Version: Initial Release (Alpha 14)
Disclosure: This game copy was bought by the reviewer. I also have never played Dwarf Fortress or any iteration of the genre. I also never played Prison Architect, but know of the visual aesthetic.
Full Review: https://www.gatewaytogaming.com/rimworld.html (Intro Paragraph cut below to make room)
The overall look of the game is very similar, if not identical, to Prison Architect in regard to the overlay and character models. While it is not much to write home about, it serves the needed purpose and for a 2D overview, that is generally enough. I will give credit to the music, which does give off a slight Firefly vibe. It is simple enough to maintain the groove set by the setting and does stick with you even when you turn the game off. The sound work used for basic, daily routines also works well with the sound of welding steel and hostile gunfire keeping the mood stable. It is nothing extraordinary, but it does the job well.
Building, maintaining, and defending your colony will be the main focus of the game. You start off scavenging for supplies, building a makeshift home to establish basic needs, create better gear to defend against raiders and establish a routine of expansion. The low to mid game segments can be slightly interesting and building the initial layout of your future home will keep you busy. Your colonists will create relationships, rescue downed humans, train pets, work and sleep all while you maintain their happiness levels and keep them from going insane. It is not very deep, however, with most of the issues being resolved by crafting one of the very limited furniture options or by installing a light.
What drags the game down is the glaring lack of engaging content in mid to end game, where you focus shifts from general survival to building a ship to escape the planet. Research will be your defining progress meter and a lot of time you will be twiddling your thumbs waiting for it to finish so you can construct the next best thing. Depending on your luck, some of the materials might not be available on the map and you need to wait for traders to miraculously have what you need. I was personally waiting a good four hours for a AI core to be on offer from a trader (or for the supposed event to spawn so I could harvest it from the enemy). I understand the argument states the fun is in survival and not completion, but the option to realistically finish should be up to scripted events over random generated chance.
While the main game can become incredible dull waiting for simple items to miraculously generate, the scenario creation options can offer hours of fine tuning. Three scenario templates are currently available and can be edited to change the starting equipment and number of colonists. To further diversify playthroughs, a storyteller is selected to facilitate or harden the progression of events. Five difficulties are also present and range from less combat with a focus on construction to continual raids while struggling to maintain a growing colony. Colonists are all randomly generated with unique stats, relationships, traits and even injuries that can lead to interesting interactions further down the line. I could even go as far as to say the main appeal and general fun in this game isn’t actually playing, but setting up to play.
The underlining issue with difficulty is how often the randomly generated events decide to occur and in what variation. Random disease, for example, has a tendency to immobilize and straight up murder a colonist for no real reason, even with a highly trained Doctor treating them in hospital beds and using vital monitors. I decided to test it out by saving once the disease hit, then reload to see if the same result would happen. The first time the doctor helped the colonist build up an immunity and sent him on his way, only to treat the same patient and watch them die after the reload. Raids are a bit more predictable, with either humanoids or mechanical monstrosities taking the hammer to your colonies. Weather events are also prone to happen, but are easier to combat if you have the right heating and cooling equipment installed. Events are spread out depending on your storyteller selection and for the most part only blindsides you in the terms of random diseases.
The colonist AI is rather well structured, but it has shown flaws in the duration of my several attempted playthroughs. I spent more time ensuring each colonist had no flaws or work limitations to ensure a proper test of the game than actually playing my first six attempts. Using the work tab, I stripped down a character to only plant seeds, and once I established a growing zone, the individual who manually was set to 1 would never touch the plant zone. This happened about an hour into the playthrough and once I started a new game the issue was fixed. I also had issue with colonists idling when they clearly had work to do, such as constructing walls with plenty of steel to do it. Stockpiles are also a strange issue with the colonists, usually forcing me to delete and remake stockpiles on the same area to get them to place wood in the same spot they were placing it the first six hours.
One key feature absent from the current version is a tutorial, which is highly needed for some of the content. Recruiting other colonists can only be done as prisoners, how to acquire certain items, how to set constructed items to a different material, how to cure infections and something as simple as roofing are not covered very well, if at all. There needs to be an option for people in an offline setting. YouTube and the wiki (which is down at the time of this writing) can only help you if you are with an internet connection and even then, are highly inconvenient. It can be a turn off for players who never heard of Dwarf Fortress before this, but it is completely possible to stubble your way through the game too.
I was surprised that the amount of glitches present was minimal, but there are a few to mention. During a test of the custom scenarios, I decided to start with seven colonists and ended up somehow losing one when they landed (only six spawned). Graphically, I noticed some strange texture blurring (swaps in and out rapidly) in a few areas on normal speed as if it was going 3x speed. Not so much a glitch, but slow down is a frequent possibility when engaging raiders or if you manage to get a large enough colony. I am happy to see a game at least somewhat optimized enter Early Access, so I give my hat to the developer for focusing on stability.
$30 bucks can be a steep entrance fee and if there was not an option to speed up game time I never would have pushed myself to finish. There just isn’t enough variety in build able structures or encounters to keep things interesting for long, which is why I cannot recommend this adventure, especially at $30 bucks. I do see effort being put into this game and while I might not recommend it, I am happy to see so many others enjoying it. It has even intrigued me enough to try out Dwarf Fortress, which has been evolving since 2006. I will visit this game again in six months and look forward to see what gets added in the mean time.
– Music is very fitting
– GUI is clean and easy to manage most the time
– AI is mostly competent
– Plenty of options to establish a scenario
– Content is lacking
– Slowdown expected late game (both in frame rate and in interaction)
– Key items can take awhile to obtain due to RNG
– No tutorial or reference in game (Youtube and Wiki are out of game)
(This is a review for build A16)
Rimworld is an odd game to review. The developer is still working on improving the game, new builds rolling out, and nearly every problem you might have with the game can be improved with the rather large modding community. So it really comes down to whether or not you find the concept of building a colony and trying to survive intriguing. I was apprehensive about buying this one and I’m glad I did as you might see from my hours played.
The honeymoon phase for this game lasted around a whole week for me before things started to really irritate me. Despite these irritants, I still played on. My bigger issues revolve around choices or features that the dev has implemented in a way that seems as though zero thought was put into them. Again, its difficult to scrutinize choices when they are still works in progress. Still… some things are really really ragequitty.
Maybe the biggest offender is the shooting skill. Even with a legendary lv 20 shooting skill described ingame as being ‘Godlike’, they are lucky if they point their gun at the ground and actually manage to hit it. It is imho extremely incredibly dumb. You can fix it with mods and the dev is working on it for A17 but still, I’ve watched a few let’s plays were the game ends in a ragequit when their best shooter can never hit anything. It is very lame and very frustrating and one of the first things I started looking for a mod to fix. It is very ridiculous. Elephant sleeping in an clear meadow? 5% chance to hit it with a legendary gun wielded by a legendary shooter. I’ve seen a guy shoot Aspirins out of the air with a bow. I’ve seen a guy shoot 15 shot pucks thrown at once with incredible accuracy and set the world record. I’ve seen the PrimitiveTechnology guy hit a stump from meters away reliably after just a short amount of practice. I’ve read about the longest confirmed sniper kill ever. Shooting in Rimworld is dumb.
There are some things the core game should do better without mods. Another frustrating experience is being raided. You always look forward to it to test your defenses, get some free loot, prisoners or recruit, but something always happens that drives me crazy. Okay so, the raiders appear on the left side of the map. One of my colonist B-lines right into them for the stupidest reason and dies. Reload save (I’ll talk about this later). Now you spend a bit of time doing what I feel is dumb micromanagement setting up restricted areas and setting animals and colonists to stay indoors and not pathfind into 20+ raiders and get insta-slaughtered (happens every time). If I know there are raiders attacking, shouldn’t my colonists? Why doesn’t an invisible restricted area maybe called ‘ATTACKERS’ appear around the raiders preparing so I don’t have to waste time microing something that seems like common sense… like not running to your death. One of the most infuriating losses I’ve had was being attacked by raiders and my colonists deciding they want to throw a wedding while being raided. The wedding took priority to not dying or becoming a slave I guess. Limited control of my colonist, they would run back to attend the wedding (don’t throw weddings while you should be fighting for your life). I don’t think I’ve ever been so mad at this game. Took a day long break to cool off and started a new colony. Just common sense problems that really need addressing and they do seem to be.
There is a lot of relying on modders to fix what the dev thinks are small issues. This is fine and pretty smart, but there are a number of small mods that really should be part of the vanilla game. Things like where traders pathfind to or where your caravans prepare instead of weird random points.
I’m not sure if the dev can differentiate between ‘strategy’ and ‘exploit’ as he keeps countering strategies. You really see this most with raiders. Say 30 spawn. 18 actually do what you think they should and the rest seem to pick from a list of things you don’t want them to. Like run around the entire map and avoid your defenses. Punch random bits of wall. Blow up random walls. Other odd behavior that makes an event that should be fun more frustrating than not. Combine that with your colonists being incapable of shooting the sky by firing their gun up at it.
Late game gets pretty boring. Add to that that resources you really need like Components are incredibly scarce. So you end up calling caravan after caravan after caravan and buying the 0-10 Components they show up with over and over. For reference, a single sniper rifle takes like 8 Components. Trying to build a ship to save a colony of 12 takes over 100+ Components. They are slow to craft and even slower to acquire EVEN if you buy every single one you can from traders. You will never have enough. So endgame feels more like waiting days->weeks->months to get the things you need.
I don’t know why an entire planet needs to be generated when its the one feature of the game that could be totally erased and not impact the game at all. You can build caravans, but it is never really worth doing as the risks and pain of getting enough food to travel is well… not great. They can be randomly ambushed, killed, lose everything and an invaluable hard to replace colonist. Its also kinda disappointing. At first I assumed you built your colonies on the same world. Maybe you could visit old bases. Nope. There was a mod trying to add persistent worlds to the game but its very WiP and buggy.
Permadeath mode is the intended mode to be played. My first colonies I did play with Permadeath on and now I’ll never do so again. There are moments that are completely BS that makes permadeath imho a bad mode. Things like random chance deaths like a lil bunny insta killing your best shooter that just missed 19 times in a row or random shots in raids instantly killing an invaluable colonist. I’m fine with losing to non-rng situations, but not rng ones outside of my control. Just not fun in the slightest.
Item deterioration and no repair. One of your colonists with a legendary firearm drop it because they were downed and its sitting unroofed in the rain? In less than an ingame day that 100/100 legendary becomes a 50/100 pile of garbage. No way to repair it. The rate of deterioration is kinda on the high end. This is another thing mods fix. Still, not very realistic. I guess the rain is highly concentrated metal eating acid.
Once you get around 10 colonists, keeping up with the food required to feed them with 1 cook starts to get harder. Your chef will work all their waking hours and your food stores will always be low. Add more colonists and it becomes a real struggle. Cooking enough meals at this point to feed a caravan becomes impossible without getting another cook and building another cooking area. For me, large colonies are not fun trying to maintain as the tools available are not well equipped to handle the growing load. You cook 1 single meal and it takes quite a bit of time. Your colonists can eat 2-4 times per day. The cooking skill level doesn’t help to address this.
Performance degrades the longer you play and larger your base gets. This appears to be an engine (Unity?) problem and the game running on a single core. This could very well be the biggest thorn in the games side and a major limiting factor for future features (like multiple colonies). Good luck with this one dev. =
As you might have ascertained, most of these are personal issues. Some Rimworlders are bothered less than them. Others avoid the game altogether because of them. Despite all this, the mere fact that a modding community exists to fill in the gaps should make you feel more confident to give it a try.
Before I start this review, I wish there was an option on Steam to make a 50/50 review, or just neutral because this game is amazing (with mods) but that doesnt mean there doesnt come with alot of flaws and frustration, that I will mention in this review because I feel the need to, and hopfully the developer could maybe look into the issues if he happens to see this review.
This can be an enjoyable game for an early access game, but the fact they released it to 1.0 (Full Access) is ridiculous as there are still so many issues they havent looked over yet, its not a bad game but its 1.0 and you expect some decency from that point and more work before calling it 1.0.
1 – Beginners are getting stuck all the time and dont return to the game.
You see most of the negitive reviews and they have under <68 hours and just leave a negitive review without even trying the game because they are confused on the concept and what to do.
For example, maybe the tutorial needs to be more indepth to make it more beginner friendly. From first glance the game isnt very cartoony and the ui is very simple and thats all they really see at the beginning of the game, and they do not see the fun stuff such as the raids and how amazing it is to progress as a colony.
This game is very hard to get used to, and when I first started playing this game, I played the short tutorial, and then got threw into the game without knowing actually what to do and how to not get killed all the time, so I quit and came back a year later.
2 – Too many unpreventable/unnecessary events
I understand that this game tries to get the storyteller to give you a challenge, but sometimes it drives me insane.
Like when a colonist goes into a daze or anything related to that, even though there is food next to them, they just ignore it. Blight also is a problem because there isnt even an option to ‘cut all blight plants’ instead of all of your non blighted, plants, so now you have to click on each blighted plant individually, then it spreads, ‘might as well cut it all now’.
Theres also too many ‘zzzt’ events, (electric blows up or starts a fire), which isnt preventable unless you dont use any Power Conduits.
Along with physic ships and maybe posion ships, you are forced to destroy them (Mainly the physic ship as the posion ship gives you some time, but you still have to destroy it) which is not right, because you’re either going to win (and maybe get 1 colonist to be alive and make an awesome comeback, just to then get something like an infestation if you build in the mountains or if you happen to be on flat land, you get manhunter packs from all sides and no ‘killbox’ or ‘killtraps’ and get overun and killed, and many more forced events. Maybe even another physic ship if you’re lucky! (: ) or start a new colony all over again and hope to get lucky and not get screwed over by the broken wealth system because you have 10 hats.
3 – Mods
This game is great with mods. Vanilla? No. It lacks too many essentials things that the game should have, and doesnt. I know the developer of this game has accepted many mods in the past such as the wildlife tab, but to say this is a fully access (1.0) game after coming out of early access is not true. This is one reason people leave this game, they dont instantly have mods installed, they start off vanilla, and it sucks, and so they leave.
4 – Mechanics
Mechanics is an issue in this game, if beginner players are being welcomed with these unfinished mechanics then they wont interest in the game and simply get frustrated at the vanilla mechanics and leave if they wont know about mods.
Do you ever get that time when you just click on a button for the colonist to do something? For example: < I get someone to haul a dead body or rescue a friends or something, oh wait, whats that? Why are they walking off? I thought I assigned you to do my task! > This is an important issue that the devs have to compete to, and I had to go out of my way to install, yet again, a mod to replace this, for your own sake, use the ‘Achtung!’ mod because of this game’s bad mechanics to ‘force’ a colonist to do a task without doing something else.
4.1 – Hauling is also a bad mechanic, why do the colonists just pick up for example 1 tshirt when they can use their whole inventory?
4.2 – Why do colonists just ignore items that could be hauled when going back to base? For example, a colonist just went to do a task, lets say hunt an alpaca, lets now say he was heading back to base, theres some steel on the floor right next to him, why would he just walk past it when he could pick it up, its right there, right?
4.3 – Why do colonists skill not matter? A 20 skill builder with 20levels of skill in contruction happens to make a ‘poor’ bed because this game does random quality rolls, just like a dice. Same with hunting, its russian roulette, and shooting skill 20, theres a turtoise coming your way and you miss everything and hes dead.
4.4 – Why do colonists not goto a table when its close? Now they have a debuff because they are too stupid to goto the table right near them.
4.5 – The colonists are injured, they go in the hospital bed (Well, hopfully they do, sometimes they just run arond bleeding or burning to death despite the ‘patient’ work tab) and they get up like a few minutes later to do some other stupid crap instead of healing themself, and before you know it, they collapse like a jerk.
4.6 – The colonists sometimes go on fire and dont know how to roll over, so they run around like an idiot in raids and get in the way of gunfire and die.
4.7 – The colonists just had a raid, they instead walk off leaving all of their dead buddies to go eat, why are they so stupid and incompetent to save their buddy themselves? Instead I have to do it myself because the mechanics are not great.
4.8 – Along with 4.7, the colonists have a choice of saving the one who is about to bleed out in 3 hours, what do you do? Save the one who is downed but will survive longer/go eat/go work/go do useless stupid sh*t or save the one who will die out in 2 hours? Oopsie Doopsie, you go do some other useless job.
4.9 – Hunting is such a tedious action in this game, you have to micromanage everything just to make sure that your colonists dont die to a turtoise.
4.10 – And in general the mechanics can just be buggy, such as prisoner food being left in front of a door and causing a prison break and leaving my colony to die and having to restart, colonists sleeping in the freezer when theres no bed, having me to micromanage even more for no reason, along with a bunch of other small things but very frustrating that I might of forgotten to mention because there are so many things that sometimes get on my nerves and this game litters a bunch of events to cover up a frustrating game, never the less, these all examples of frustrating game mechanics.
5 – Keybinding and UI
The UI sucks, looks so simple and along with that, the keybinds suck. Hauling things is P, Mining is L and if I had another arm (Lets say a bionic arm installed) this wouldnt be a problem but this is another thing of the many frustrating things stacked up onto eachother that I wish was more easier.
Please upvote so Tyran can read this review and fix this game, it has so much potential and if it does get better ill change my review, but for now it just has too many flaws for a fully access game.