In another turn of events, we get to look at an extremely interesting game that is just hitting the early access phase of its release. Rimworld (get your minds out of the gutter) is an extremely dynamic game that tell stories in ways you wouldn’t expect. The best way to describe it is Prison Architect combined with a punishing strategy and resource management game that combines many wacky, but sometimes unfair elements that can make up dynamic storytelling. If you’re a huge fan of games like The Sims or Prison Architect or even older games like Age of Empires, this is probably for you.
We’ll start with the Pros. Rimworld has a lot of pros. I’m not going to compliment the art style because it’s not THEIR art style. The creators of Rimworld borrowed this art style (with permission) from the creators of prison architect. What I will compliment is the game’s ability to tell a story. It’s pretty fascinating just how well or how wrong things can go. There’s something extremely satisfying about repelling a raid on a colony, or recruting a new colonist…and so many other things that really make this game unique. I think it has an excellent foundation so far. However, there is definitely A LOT that the game lacks.
Beyond any of that, I think that the way the game tells stories is so fascinating. The dynamic events of recruiting colonists, the depth in which characters are created, and the sheer amount of tasks in the game is fantastic. I think that it’s so interesting when little things like characters having babies or psychotic breaks or really these A.I like moments show through. That’s where the game really shines. Each colony is different. It’s fascinating to see how each one individually develops. If you’ve ever had an ant farm, it’s extremely similar…except that the ants are digital and your sister won’t think you’re weird…probably.
Now, to the bad. For starters the game has HUGE problems when it comes to events and balance. I think that the modes need to be severely recalibrated. For starters, there are only three modes. I can’t remember the exact names of them, but I can tell you they basically boil down to this: absurd, more absurd, too absurd to play. Basically, the third option makes the game unplayable. It throws too many raids at you, or burns down all your crops with a random bolt of lightning, or decides that a perfectly happy colonist will go on a shooting spree. It’s a little ridiculous.
I’m also pretty sad that there’s no endgame. Basically, at a certain point the game will just decide to kill you off. There’s no survival here, really it’s just an endless death march to an arbitrary end. If you live too long, the game will just throw a literal random bolt of lightning to zap a colonist, or decide that your colony will burn down, or even decide to throw a forty man raid on your eight person colony. It’s pretty disappointing. At a certain point, I would love if you’d be able to really conquer the land. Become czars or the most powerful colony out there. Alas, you’re simply fodder for the game’s RNG systems to play with until it decides that sweet death is their only embrace.
So, my recommendation? Buy Rimworld. It absolutely is worth the purchase. Will it be worth the purchase once the game is fully out? I have no idea. As of right now, it’s an amazing, addictive game that definitely needs some work, but has an extremely interesting/fascinating foundation. Don’t let the minimalist graphics and approach fool you, this game has TONS of depth just waiting to be explored. The price tag is definitely steep at $29.99, but, I have a feeling that these devs have a ton more in store to show us.