Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on May 24th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under PC, review, strategy, simulator

RimWorld is an early access game developed by Ludeon Studios that has been available for purchase since 2013. Updates are steady, if a bit slow at times. It is the winner of multiple Indie Game of the Year awards for 2016, despite being in early access alpha, so there has to be something to this unfinished game, right? While I'm sure most by now have long been turned away from the idea of early access, there are still exceptions where games have plenty of content.  Whether or not the content is polished or finished is another question. For Rimworld, each implementation of new features with every major update are actually functional, if a bit buggy for a few days post-release. RimWorld is in many ways easier to digest than Dwarf Fortress, and while Dwarf Fortress' simplistic graphics, archaic UI, high learning curve, and incredible depth are bound to turn off most would be players, RimWorld's simplistic art style at least adds flavor and something to look at.

The concept of Rimworld is to build a base to defend the group. The game gives you an incredible amount of customizing tools. The player can customize their starting parameters and scenario, on top of the three default starts. You can try playing as a solo outcast and build a new base from there, all the way to a 10 person cannibal tribal village with enough labor to get everything done before sunset. It's not uncommon to start as a lone outcast, get a few wanderers and chased people, have a healthy stock of food, and have it all unravel when your storyteller launches an immediate raid at you in the middle of a dry thunderstorm during a heat wave. If the raid doesn't kill you, the fire from the lightning strikes will burn most, if not all of your base if its still early. Or, it could get better when one of your colonists snaps after seeing his wife die and goes on a homicidal rage that cleans everybody else up...

Never fret, as Rimworld gives the outcast the ability to travel around its world. You can leave the colony you are in by starting a caravan; colonies can then be abandoned so you can run away if you know your colony is essentially dead in the near future. Once on the main world map, the game shows its truly endless options available to the player. You can travel and trade with the various colonies surrounding you, and there exists a deep economy that simulates everything from slavery, tanned human leather goods, drug production, to artistic masterpieces.

The kinds of stories and tales you experience in Rimworld will leave you in awe at times, and it's usually how you fail that sticks out in your memory. Tales you will recount to others while playing on the random storyteller might include having him make an elephant on the map go mad on the first day before shelter can be built, leaving your poor, new colonists to be gored by tusks and trampled to death. All the player can do is restart and hope the next base attempt goes even better.

Once you learn the game, or at least how to save scumm, then you can start building up the industrial options in the base game. There is farming to meal production, along with electricity production and cooler manipulation so that you can build freezers and refrigerators around the base. There is animal rearing and resource collection from many of them, with others, such as boomrats and boomalopes, being hilarious to tame for use in combat. The player will eventually find themselves able to support high level industries such as microelectronics, which will allow you to build most of your high-tech level tools and improve existing industries or build the spaceship that will lift your colony away from the Rim.

This is already a game that you can become lost in for dozens of hours. You always have something new to do in the game, whether it's trying harder starts, playing with the AI storytellers, or moving and building on different biomes. Each map only has one to three types of stone as well, so you can try the different kinds of stone to find which ones are stronger or weaker and more or less valuable. Either way, Rimworld is a great value, even at its full price of $30. It has already gone on sale a few times, and many more price drops should be in its future given the game's popularity and high ratings.

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Rimworld is pretty heavily based off of Dwarf Fortress, a similar game with a fantasy setting. Despite, only using ASCII characters in it's graphics (or perhaps because of it), DF is about the most deep and complex strategy game you will ever play. It's free, and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to play a similar, but more finished game in the same style.

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