RimWorld is perhaps one of the most complex and rewarding RTS experiences in recent years. As of 2018, the RimWorld is finally in beta, after spending more than five years in early access. Still, the game feels more polished than many triple A games, with each new release bringing even more content than before. If you are still on the fence about purchasing this game, read on for an in-depth RimWorld review.
|Type of game:||RTS, Colony Builder|
|Total Play Time:||14+ hours|
|System Requirements:||CPU: Core 2 Duo
GPU: Intel HD Graphics 3000
OS: Windows XP, MAC OSX 10.5, Linux
HDD Space: min. 500 MG
The World of RimWorld Review
This comprehensive RimWorld review will touch upon the game’s atmosphere, location, in game characters, storyline, DLC, and expansion packs. The RimWorld experience allows gamers to manage a group of weak survivors to thrive in extreme conditions. Although the game does have a learning curve, gamers will soon find themselves immersed in the lives of the colonists. This RimWorld review will speak to the essential features and gameplay experience of RimWorld.
What’s the Story Behind RimWorld?
Developed by Ludeon Studion, RimWorld was initially released as a Kickstarter project in 2013. Originally called Eclipse Colony, the strategy game boasts a futuristic plot that involves the player looking over a colony of people on a non-Earth planet. But things aren’t as simple as they seem at first glance. Your colonists have their own personality and vices, so you won’t be able to control them 100%. In fact, keeping them alive and in good spirits will be a struggle.
That’s the beauty of RimWorld – just like real life, the game is unpredictable. You can be happy with how your colony thrives only to suddenly find your people under attack. Or learn that all the hard work you’ve put into building your colony is wiped up when a fire gets out of hand.
However, you’ll also look over your colonists as they grow and develop relationships, which is a lot of fun. Plus, every colony grows organically as resources come and go, so RimWorld wins bonus points for the realistic factor.
Atmosphere & Location
If you have played Dwarf Fortress, you will recognize the familiar sci-fi survival atmosphere of the game. The 2-D graphics are very simple and easy to discern. Although the graphics are not necessarily the selling point of the game, they do not distract from the gaming experience, and the simple graphics actually give off a feeling of novelty. The RimWorld soundtrack also gives gives a kind of Western vibe.
One of the very first choices upon starting the game is to choose the colony’s location. Being able to choose the colony’s location is just the beginning of the game’s intense level of micromanagement that will be highlighted later on in this RimWorld review. Arguably, the most important factors that go into deciding the location are temperature and elevation. Temperature influences the length of your crop growing season, with warmer temperatures allowing for longer growing seasons. On the other hand, high temperatures also mean a higher rate of diseases. Elevation, on the other hand, determines the type of surroundings. Mountains yield more minerals, and make for good defenses but don’t leave a lot of free space for growing crops. Flatter areas are harder to defend but do allow for larger crops and hunting grounds. These factors become even more complex as the game goes on. With various weather patterns, such as heat waves and temperature drops, RimWorld provides gamers an experience that is truly customized.
Earlier in this RimWorld review, the learning curve was mentioned. RimWorld is not a “hit the ground running” sort of game. This survival simulation is a complex strategy endeavor similar to games like Dwarf Fortress.
The colonists are people first. They are driven by their own internal motifs and have unique reactions to situations. As a simulation game, this is where the game really shines.
This RimWorld review will speak for the default game scenario, but the game scenarios are customizable depending on varying levels of customization. In the default, scenario starts with three colonists. As the game progresses there are opportunities to add new recruits into the colony.
Each colonist is unique with their own skills, attributes, interests, and desires. A few examples of useful skills to look out for are mining, construction, growing, shooting, and cleaning. Some colonists will dislike certain types of work while preferring others. For example, some colonists will not do hard labor, while some will get a mood boost if they plant something. Colonists will also be passionate about certain skills, which means they will enjoy using those skills more, and they will upgrade those skills faster. Passions are no longer fixed, as of Alpha 17, so a colonist may become passionate about a skill simply by using it more often.
This leads to another interesting element to the game: motivation and happiness. Each colonist has a needs tab. These needs must be met to maintain motivation and happiness. Needs may range from simple things, such as eating or resting but they can also get more complex. A colonist may in love with someone who is not reciprocating their affection, which leads to a major mood debuff.
Once a colonist’s mood gets very low, they can suffer a mental breakdown. Depending on their personalities, some colonists become violent, randomly attacking other colonists, while others may binge on alcohol, or simply wander completely naked through the freezing tundra until they collapse from hypothermia. Mood is important is what we’re saying.
Lastly, the characters have unexpected levels of depth. Colonists interact with each other in unexpected ways providing an extra level of entertainment and spontaneity. Colonists can form relationships or even act aggressively towards each other. Again, this feature adds to the realism of the game.
RimWorld doesn’t have a clear storyline per se. Rather, it encourages players to make up their own story as they go along. To make up your RimWorld story, you are given all sorts of bits and pieces, from detailed and unique colonist backgrounds, to random events that are not so random. The end goal is always to get off the planet. But what you do in between is the real story.
There are three RimWorld storytellers that determine the rate and severity of the random events. By default, Cassandra Classic will be selected. She provides the most balanced sequence of random events. She tailors the difficulty and frequency of events such as raids, cold snaps, wild animal attacks, or cargo pod drops according to the strenght of you colony. This means you’ll rarely be truly overwhelmed by the events.
Pheobe Chillax, on the other hand, always gives to easiest versions of events. They are usually few and spread apart. While it may seem easier to play with Phoebe, keep in mind that even dangerous events, such as raids, may provide you with useful resources, such as guns, or new recruit in your colony. While it may be easier to start with Phoebe, it will become increasingly difficult to scrounge resources and grow your colony without these random events.
Randy Random is the most difficult RimWorld storyteller. He dishes out random events without paying much care to your level or strength. Randy Random is best suited for advanced RimWorld players.
This is basically the only part of the RimWorld story you can control. Colonists will develop relationship, they’ll fight, they’ll fall in love, they’ll get depressed when their pets die, or get get happy after attending a wedding party. You have basically little to no control over your colonists’ relationships.
Next, the economics incorporates an additional strategy aspect to the game. Rather than setting the game to simulate towards a goal, all production and growth are micromanaged. This means that a delicate system of specialized colonists will determine the shape of your economy.
DLC & Expansion Packs
RimWorld has one DLC available for purchase. At a whopping $370, the RimWorld Pirate King Access allows purchasers to create unique characters with customized skills, appearances, and special work requirements. With this DLC, gamers can create characters with any job they can think so. The characters enter the game with the ability to influence outside colonies, but they cannot join the purchaser’s colony. These customs must adhere to the creative rewards guidelines set by RimWorld developers.
The RimWorld Pirate King Access is the result of a once free service that the RimWorld developer did for community members. As service requests went up, so did the price. Even at the astonishing price of $370, avid community members still purchase it. For the average RimWorld fan $370 is a very steep price point, but if you would like to support the developers the option is certainly there.
Apart from this DLC, there are tens, if not hundres of RimWorld mods you can download. The game is open source, and modders are free to add content to their heart’s delight. Mods range from minor fixes or cosmetic changes, to full-on RimWorld expansion packs. Some of the older mods actually became part of the RimWorld main game. The only minor annoyance with RimWorld mods is that, since the game gets updated so frequently, you need to redownload mods quite often. But the RimWorld mod manager makes it quite easy, and since RimWorld beta came out, mods you have previously installed will automatically download the latest versions.
Imagination is the limit for RimWorld. The full spectrum of the game’s custom gameplay is driven by unique character interaction and external events. The examples of gameplay illustrated in this RimWorld review are just the tip of the iceberg for this highly interactive game. RimWorld is an excellent game with a price point of $30, three different game modes, tons of possibilities for scenarios, and a clean design. This game will surely be a hit for any survival simulation fan. Please share your personal experiences, thoughts, and questions about RimWorld!