Rimworld Review: Why I love it

Wow this couch is awful comfy, is that a freckle on my armrest?

Rimworld. Will you be a generous leader, capturing prisoners only to release them when you feel their time is served, raising relationship levels with otherwise unfriendly factions? Or maybe those kidneys will sell for a good price on the market…..

Rimworld is a sandbox colony building simulation game from Ludeon Games. It was first released on Kickstarter under the name Eclipse Colony in November, 2013 and released its 1.0 version on Steam on October 17th, 2018. At the time of writing it currently has a 97% positive rating on Steam and it’s no wonder why. 

It is a game of exploration, of failure, of triumph, love, loss and everything in between.

The game is played from an isometric view. You start at the main menu, (crazy i know!), choose a storyteller, generate a map seed, pick a few starting colonists to thrive, (or drive to ruin). You have the choice of 3 different storytellers that will guide the events and story of your colony throughout your play sessions.

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Cassandra classic as the name suggests is a classic for most strategy games. As the days go on the difficulty curve goes up and up, meaning tougher raids, harder events and more challenges. The second storyteller setting is Phoebe Chill-axe. This is going to be easier than Cassandra, with more of a focus on base-building. The third option is Randy Random. The thing about Randy Random is that anything, good, bad or just plain unfair could happen throughout the game. Maybe he will drop packages of chocolate or literal gold on your colony, maybe your favorite Husky will be attacked and eaten by a Grizzly bear. Anything can, and will happen With Randy.

Rimworld Storytellers
I only have love for Randy

You are then put onto a game map where you collect resources and build some shelter for your starting colonists. Will you build a quick, yet flammable base from wood? Perhaps you will take an existing ruin on the map and make a home from it. Maybe you will burrow into the side of the mountain for shelter but beware what could be lurking deep within….The end goal of Rimworld is to research your way up the tech tree and build a spaceship with which you can escape the Rimworld. But that is not where the fun lies. The real magic is the stories you have along the way, the marriages, the Pyromaniac builder who created a Masterwork Royal Bed only to burn it down 2 days later because god forbid he ate a meal without sitting at a table. The replayability is incredible. Having spent over 400hours in the game myself (and counting), every playthrough is unique. When it does seem repetitive, there is an incredibly active modding scene. Though Rimworld is a single player game, if you must commit war crimes, why not do so with a friend with this multiplayer mod.

Rimworld Screenshot
Violence, Diplomacy, Monkeys and everything in between

The game does not feature start of the art textures and animations. In fact it has very few animations at all. One nudge of the colonist is the same action for slicing someone’s head off with a longsword and chipping away at a piece of ore in a mountain. There is no animation for putting on a suit of armor, just a timer bar. What the game lacks in animation and graphics it is very clearly put into things like temperature systems, full body health systems with different body parts and just plain character diversity. There are many different objects on the Rim, each with their own unique sprite. The animals all have distinct differences, and though the characters may start to look repetitive in the game, there are a large array of different hairstyles and about 3 different body shapes. And if you aren’t happy with that, as with almost everything in the game THERE’S A MOD FOR THAT.

The game’s music features a beautiful tame acoustic guitar, which tends to make me feel safe and relaxed as I have my colonists tend to the corn fields, milk the Muffalos and play billiards with each other in the evening. The music is catchy and at times completely out of place. The guitar weeps beautiful chords while I harvest the legs of my prisoners to stop them from escaping my prison camp corn farm.

The ambience of rain, thunder and weather effects if quite nice and with a good pair of headphones always has me checking outside my window in real life (for the few moments i draw my eyes from the screen). The melee sounds, animal attacks and other miscellaneous sounds leave a lot to the imagination but don’t really need to be too intense. I always feel this problem in games like Apex Legends, or later Call of Duty titles that it is just way too busy. You have a helicopter flying overhead, someone is screaming for ammo while a grenade explodes behind you. Rimworld’s sound design doesn’t have this claustrophobic feeling for my ears and I appreciate that.

The game runs incredibly well on my relatively old Lenovo Y700 Laptop. Not to say it is without issues. The base game will keep relatively problem free, until you start getting into the very late game area. Personally I have only had a colony of 28 max characters. (not including animals), and have experienced no noticeable lag at all. Though there are reports and evidence all over the Rimworld subreddit that late game saves with many objects on the screen will decrease performance. The game also tends to spit out a lot of error reports when downloading multiple mods but to be fair, even then with over 100+ mods running with each other it still boots up every time. Speaking of, see a list of some of my favorite mods here.

It’s a cold, dark (Rim)world out there

At the time of writing Rimworld is available on Steam for $34.99USD (30EURO). The game very, very rarely goes on sale. In fact in the many years I’ve owned the game I have personally only seen it on sale once. Having over 400 hours in the game I would be an absolute human leather chair (Poor) to tell you it is not worth it. If there is any one game on my steam library i would say is worth the money it is Rimworld. So go! Go buy it and don’t leave your desk until you hear the bad event siren haunt your dreams.

SCORE 9/10

Related: How to feed animals in Rimworld