Despite a steep learning curve and a sometimes difficult to grasp user interface, Rimworld’s interesting scenarios and stories make it more than worth the effort.
Rimworld is a strategy and base-management indie title developed by Ludeon Studios.
The game has been in Steam Early Access for nearly five years now, but as of October 17, it finally earned the status of 1.0, marking its full release.
Your Colony, Your Story
In Rimworld’s default scenario your job is to manage a group of survivors from a crashed spaceship as they struggle to survive in a new and (mostly) hostile planet. The official goal of the game is to either build a spacecraft or find a working one so your people can escape.
There are several more scenarios, like the “Tribal Start,” where you play as a small tribe and begin your game with no technology, or the “Naked Brutality” scenario that sees you controlling a single guy with no starting items, resources or even clothes.
After choosing your scenario, you will need to generate a planet and pick a spot to land, which is where you will most likely be building up your new colony. The planet is randomly generated each time and may contain several biomes, from deserts to temperate and tropical forests and even ice sheets. Each biome provides the player with a set of challenges they will need to overcome to prosper in their new colony.
The game then allows you to choose from a pool of random colonists, each with their own backstories, skills, traits, and limitations. Every colonist is unique, and you can get attached to them very easily thanks to their personalities and the flare they bring to your colony.
The next step is choosing between 3 different AI Storytellers. The Storytellers controls the story of your colony by triggering events depending on your progression. These events can be anything from pirate raids to cargo pods full of human leather crashing down in your backyard.
The Storytellers turn every scenario to a personal story, as the events that unfold aren’t predictable and even always manageable. You might lose your entire colony to a single naked pirate with a Molotov, or you might lose your best soldier to a pack of man-hunting ducks.
Survival Isn’t Easy, but Always Fun
To survive life on this hostile Rimworld, you will need to build a base and take care of your colonists’ needs, from food and sleep to recreation and making sure they have a table to eat on. As your colony grows and prospers, you will be able to recruit new colonists either from events or by capturing pirates during raids and convincing them to join you.
Combat in Rimworld is in real-time, but you have the option to pause if you need to strategize. You can control each colonist and give them orders where you want them to go or do, be it to hide behind a wall or attack their target with one of the many different weapons available. From melee to bows and guns, there are plenty of ways to turn your enemies into the finest leather.
My favorite system of the game is the detailed medical system. Injuries and disease often don’t just generally affect the colonist but appear on specific body parts. For example, being shot in the arm or leg might lead to cosmetic scarring or the loss of limbs, fingers or even internal organs.
It’s also possible to replace most lost limbs and organs with either prosthetics, bionics or body parts “donated” by enemy prisoners. It’s really all up to you and your philosophy.
Standing on the Shoulders of Dwarfs
Rimworld is heavily inspired by Dwarf Fortress and has many similarities to it. Despite those similarities, I’ve found Rimworld to be significantly more user-friendly and way more accessible than its inspiration.
However, the controls and menus in Rimworld are its weakest link as they can often feel confusing and difficult to grasp to new players. While the game’s tutorial does provide a basic explanation for the menus and how to use them, a lot of the intricacies must be learned through trial and error.
The game’s simple graphics feel perfect for their intended purpose, and both look great and allow the player to identify the different items on the screen with relative ease. The soundtrack is also great and perfectly fits the themes. I still enjoy it even after spending a very long time playing the game and listening to it.
Enhance Rimworld with Community Mods
While not directly a part of the game, I can’t review Rimworld without mentioning its incredible modding community. The games workshop page on Steam contains mods ranging from quality of life improvements to adding entirely new mechanics and systems to the game. You can find new technologies, magic powers, Star Wars mods and abilities, vampires, werewolves, and even demonic cults.
These mods add so much additional depth to the game, enhancing its replayability even further than the base version does, and giving significantly more variety in how you choose to play.
While Rimworld might not be for everyone due to its steep learning curve and difficult UI, I’ve enjoyed every second I spent playing it.
I am proud to have taken part in this game’s development as an Early Access supporter for the last two years of its existence. During that time, Rimworld has earned my respect for having so much depth and content, and became one of my favorite games of all time.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.