When randomly generated chaos and fun have a baby…
One of my closer friends who sometimes knows more about my gaming likes and dislikes than me introduced me to this hidden treasure. The name of the game today is Rimworld, and if you love strategy games, sprinkled with a hint of colony management/simulation and maybe also in a weird way The Sims then you would want to try this bad boy out. This is one of those games I love to just sit down in front of and watch what my colonists/survivors get up to, along with expanding my small camp/farming grounds into something that will be able to hold more survivors as they randomly stumble into my region of the map, in need of rescue from a whole host of things. But also try and research fast enough in order to arm my colonists that have the occasional threat from bandits or raiders that want to either enslave us or just wipe out all traces of us from the map.
This was a solo play, although you have the option after some mods from other players give you the ability to play with some friends and make colonies of their own to ally up with you, or become your rivals… Depending on how solid the friendship is. But for the purpose of this review I will stick to my solo play and experience around that. To get a bit more into detail it is so hard to peg down what this came exactly is, there are so many labels to it but the best way I can describe it would be a “time black hole”. The amount of times I started the game up just to add some amenities to my colonists/survivors lives and lost a whole day just honestly faffing around in the colony happens way more often than not (which in my opinion is a good thing as that means the game hits some right buttons).
Gameplay/Map and Story
Where to start…ohh where to start, I have such a brain overload at this point with everything I want to write about this game, as they did so many things right with it. So let’s just start at the beginning once fire the game up. The maps are extremely customizable and you get the option to determine the difficulty level you want to host your colony in like with most games. That will also determine your starting resources and tech level and then you progress to the actual point you want to be on the map. However before you crash land at this location you have the daunting task to pick only 3 colonists that will be going on this journey, where you encounter your first difficult choice in the game as they all have unique personalities and character traits, and you get that sense of connection after reading everyone’s little backstory as you sift through the host of little characters that will fill your screen, and then knowingly have to leave them behind to “perish” in the game world. After you have chosen your top 3, making sure they will all gel as they have individual needs, likes and dislikes, so if you pair the wrong bunch of survivors they will not be happy and you will feel it in the sense where they just wont function at all and just wander around dazed, where in some cases just straight up angry and then proceed to destroy what has taken you some time to build, this is where that Sims aspect came in where you have to keep everyone happy and make sure their needs are sufficiently met, just to a lesser extent off course.
Now there is no real main protagonist in this game and you pretty much control all your colonists either directly (when there is a combat situation that comes in the form of rabid animals or bandit threats/raids), which brings in the strategy aspect of the game that I love so much, I enjoy when a game at least gives you the option to take control of a situation in order to affect the outcome. But for all the normal mundane day to day tasks you are left to focus on colony expansion with your colonists all going around taking care of those elements as you queue them up, harvesting or researching (if that is where their passion lies). Touching on that and this is why it was such a difficult review to write as you just have so much to talk about that goes on in this game that it is hard to scrape the surface. So trying my best to keep it all short I will touch briefly on the needs of your survivors, this was another fun little addition to the game, where their backstories affect their passions and what they are willing to do in the game and what not. Where if they had a bad history of violence they won’t handle weapons as an example, and they all have their own individual passions and likes that will greatly affect their abilities. So when someone is passionate about construction you will have far less botched construction efforts from them, just like a math genius will be passionate about research and thus boost his speed while researching new technologies for your colony to adapt.
Moving on to random events in the game, depending on what difficulty level you choose, the events will either be frequent and quite extreme or spread far apart and a lot more manageable. You off course have the option to decide whether want to partake in the event or not. So if Betty Loo is trying to escape from slavers you can decide if want to provide her shelter and safety by taking her into your colony or leave her to her fate, to either be captured or killed. So the game will definitely play on your morals a tad which was another fun little element to throw into this soup pot of amazingness that is called Rimworld. There will be no shortage of things to do or achievements to strive for, where you move from fighting with bows and arrows to researching high velocity automatic rifles to get the upper hand. This game throws in the perfect balance of strategy and simulation, allowing you to also grow, expand and explore.
The map, now I have played games on some big maps, and I cannot even put into words how massive this map is. They basically generate an entire planet made up of little blocks, with every block being a place you can send a scouting party to explore, or if want even relocate your colony. In all the hours I have spent in this game I haven’t even touched the map exploration part that much, apart from the off mission you do here and there to gain influence with other colonies. So if size is something that always bothers you, this will definitely satisfy everyone’s needs 100 fold. Noting again that it is completely your choice if want to explore or not.
Depending on what starting conditions you choose the main goal always stays the same, so yes there is a main mission to all of this if you don’t feel like an endless loop of colony management. This comes in the form of your survivors striving to build a spaceship (after researching it I might add) and then escaping the planet to live happily in space or to go and settle on a different planet. I have not gotten to this point, nor have I even gotten close to researching the ability to build said spaceship, as this game just keeps on giving, and I find everything else just way to fun to be bothered by unlocking and building the ship to escape the world we inhabit.
If you are a fan of strategy games then this title will be a good one to pick up. Rimworld just has a lot more micromanagement involved but that was something I came to appreciate and love. As mentioned in earlier paragraph you will find that this game just eats away time, how and why is because you actually just sit and have un-scripted fun. Testing your skills and seeing how effective you will be able to manage “people” and any situation that might arise, be it how small or big. This game mashed up so many different concepts and tweaked them into something extremely functional. I can honestly say that I have never regretted firing up this game and just getting lost in my own little world, so I would highly recommend that you give this one a try (even if it is just to fill a gap – although you will find it does a lot more than that). Now like with everything else if you want a bit of an in depth look into this, watch some let’s play videos to get a feel for it. This game won’t win best looking game of the year, but what it lacks in graphics it makes up for that with everything else, and the look of the game is unique and something that I came to love and appreciate about it.