The Heart of the Game
So enough of the mechanics, what is the overall experience like? The difficulty curve is steep, but not impossibly so, and there are several difficulty settings so you can make it a little more forgiving if you need. At first, it can be hard to really empathise with your characters but, once you become familiar with gauging your colonists’ moods and quirks, you can get some really interesting emergent stories like the downward spiral of madness in my previously mentioned first attempt. In fact, this game is at its most entertaining when everything goes wrong. It is quite satisfying to build a colony that works optimally, keeping everyone comfortable and fed, and fending off outside attacks. However, the really interesting stories of heroism and heartbreak happen when things spiral out of control. Colonists, events, and worlds are all procedurally generated, so you’ll have a different experience each time. Given the ease with which mods can be created for RimWorld, and the huge number of mods available, it’s very difficult to get tired of this game.
I came to RimWorld having not played too many base builder/survival sims. I’d dabbled in Dwarf Fortress, but hadn’t been able to get past the lack of friendly UI. RimWorld’s UI felt familiar very quickly and, while not every command is obvious, they are easily accessible once you know what you’re looking for. The randomly generated nature of the game makes each playthrough unique and, while there are generally only a few optimal ways in which to build your base, random events frequently throw a spanner in the works and force you to think on your feet. What stood out most to me was how much fun it is watching your colony struggle to survive. I’ll be honest, i have a tendency to save-scum (reload from a save whenever something goes wrong), but in RimWorld it never occurred to me – i just watched my colonists do their best to live, let them earn their survival. I’d highly recommend RimWorld to anyone who’s remotely interested in the survival/base builder genre, and especially to anyone who has ever want to play Dwarf Fortress, but has been intimidated by the UI. Ludeon Studios have crafted a very solid game that can provide many hours of entertainment.
5 stars – genuinely challenging with incredibly absorbing stories to unfold