Rimworld creates a randomly generated world from pole to pole and lets you chose your starting location. Different biomes have their own challenges and benefits. Except for the ice sheet biome, don’t start there unless you’re okay with your colonists resorting to cannibalism. You are put in charge of three crash-landed survivors and must work quickly to build a settlement and start growing food – but that is only the beginning. Storage, production, research, recreation, dining, prison, medical, and most importantly: defense. Your base is ever expanding as you rescue survivors, recruit prisoners and buy more colonists from slave traders. With an amazing development team and gamer community, as well as hundreds of fantastic free mods, this absolutely one of my favorite games ever.
There is no predefined story in Rimworld, instead you select from one of three “AI Storytellers.” Each event that happens in the game is caused by the storyteller but the narrative is up to you to build and imagined through the ways you and your colonists interact with events. Your goal is to build a ship big enough to get your colonists off the planet. Completing the game is a significant challenge but many players focus on building a base and a colony that can stand against the most brutal of challenges. Your first several bases will probably fail – burning down with your colonists bleeding out. But as Jay-Z once said, “I will not lose for even in defeat, there’s a valuable lesson learned so that evens it up for me,” and each time you start the game with a little more knowledge and a new plan. I have put well over 200 hours in this game and still learn new things and one of my favorite aspects of this game is its challenge.
Something that sets this game apart from others like it is its colonist system. Each character in the game, both friend and foe, is unique and granted a backstory and traits which affect how they work and interact with each other. One colonist might be an engineer that’s great at crafting and construction but has the social skills of a stump – another could be a teenage model and aspiring pop star that has little to offer other than social skills. The colonist relationship system works automatically as they develop and destroy relationships. Colonists will have an opinion of the others which changes as they interact; they become friends, rivals, and lovers. They will marry, divorce, and fight – potentially in that order!
Craft new clothes and armor to replace colonist’s tattered ones, new guns and turrets to defend the colony, or just some art to make the place a little nicer. Rimworld has an in-depth research and crafting system that will keep you constantly working to improve your base and your colonists. Or, if you got the silver and can find the right trader then you can buy and sell anything. This allows for a variety of different play styles to sustain or improve the colony, from farming crops to selling prisoners and drugs.
As you gain more wealth you will also gain more attention, and raiders will try harder and harder to take you down. You will constantly need to be prepared for attacks from raiding pirates, tribal hordes, giant bugs infestations, and deadly mechanoids drop pods. The planet itself will try to kill you with lightning strikes, tornadoes, meteors, volcanic winters and toxic fallouts, as well as the occasional attack from the local wildlife. You can never feel safe enough as the threat of the next disaster or attack is constantly looming. On top of the many external things to take down your colonists they also have moods. When their mood is high they work quickly and are good productive colonists, but if their mood drops too low they could have a number of possible mental breaks. Some are kind of funny or just plain harmless, while other times they burn your kitchen down or beat your doctor to death.
A recently added feature is the ability to create caravans and have multiple settlements. The player can gather animals, prisoners and supplies before heading out into the world. Rimworld offers multiple possibilities for your caravan; they can go to friendly bases to trade, or you can attack and destroy enemy bases while capturing survivors and taking supplies. Quests are randomly generated for your colony and can provide special weapons and items – that means if you want to get your hands on a Resurrector Mechanite Superdose or Orbital Power Beam Targeter you’ll have to leave the safety of your base.
While the game is still in Early Access the developer has indicated the next Rimworld update will be the final 1.0 release – that said, Rimworld is as good as any finished game already and if you’re into base-building colony sims this is a must have. There is an amazing community following and playing this game and the Steam Workshop offers an insane amount of mods that allow for practically endless possibilities. I have already put in well over 200 hours into this game and still love it! As Rimworld’s creator and lead developer said in this Reddit post, “This game can expand endlessly. That’s its nature. It’s not a closed story like Portal 2. It’s an open system endlessly moddable, expandable. You can always play longer, more colonists, more wealth, more colonies, more mods, again and again and again. There’s always more to want.”