Every so often, I break out of my gaming routine to try something new and different. These turn into my Try-It Tuesday sessions, and they are a mixed bag indeed!
My doctor was a hard worker, but she was subject to fits of depression — and then she got dumped by her boyfriend, Wolf, which sent her into a downward spiral. A timberwolf trailed one of my miners home and ambushed him, leaving him bleeding out on the country side. The blight started running rampant through my crops… and then the tornado came.
This is Rimworld. This is pretty awesome.
I had long been meaning to pick up this colony simulator, but I was also cheap and waiting for it to go on sale. Finally, I said what the hay, and I got it at full price. Considering just how many hours I’ve dumped into the game so far, I feel like I got a good deal here.
A more visually pleasing (if only just) Dwarf Fortress with a dash of The Sims tossed in, Rimworld starts you out by handling a crash-landed crew of three on an alien world. From there, you give orders and try to corral your “pawns” (as the community calls them) into creating a sustainable colony. It’s not easy, as dangers can come from the group itself, the difficulty of trying to provide all of the necessities, and from various natural and manmade threats. One bad fire, one small infection, one psychopath biding his time in your midst… and it can all go to pot real quick. Shockingly quick.
And yet Rimworld isn’t frustrating or mean so much as it is engrossing. Every game is a layered story where group survival unveils in a myriad of ways. There is a deep level of strategy going on, and during my first few attempts, I kept starting over once I realized that I had been doing something wrong (or sub-optimally) for a while now.
While you don’t get to outright tell each pawn what to do, you are the overseer who makes priority lists, sets up tasks, and can even draft characters into a shooting war if necessary. I had to keep track of so many variables, from terrain to temperature to moods to the best materials to use for what — and yet when it all comes together to make a colony work, it’s pretty satisfying. I have not stopped being amazed at all of the factors that my characters take in during their day-to-day lives. They can get freaked out by seeing a corpse, scared if they sleep in a room in the dark, and spontaneously throw a party just for fun. Having one get shot and then desperately trying to save her before she bleeds out can be a nail-biting venture, especially if one disables the ability to load previous saves.
I find a deep satisfaction in setting up everything Just So and then watching a colony tick, from the food production cycle to having the power come on to training animals to assist you. There’s a lot of research into more items that can help, but the threats start to ramp up and choices have to be made on the fly.
Probably my only complaint is how slow everything goes at the start. It feels like there are all of these mood debuffs that I’m powerless to address because I haven’t enough research or building supplies to make the items needed. I also kind of wish I could see or hear my colonists talk to each other or see moodlets above their head instead of having to constantly evaluate their character screens, but that’s pretty small potatoes.
There’s so much in terms of options, here. You can choose different biomes, different levels of difficulty (just try surviving on an ice sheet), and there’s a massive modding community that I haven’t even begun to research. I’m hoping to get my colony (Hill Valley) to its second year at some point without starting over, but I keep learning something that I feel will help me more if I just had another shot.
Anyway. Rimworld amazing. A must play.