In the past half-decade, the strategy employed by developers to release games through their development progression, sometimes called early access, has become incredibly popular. Most games released in this fashion are small-time indie titles, trying to garner attention and raise enough money to complete development of their game. While some games that go down this path end up being disappointing or never get finished at all, “Rimworld” is a staunch exception that has risen above any expectations I had ever held for an early access indie title, even after following the game along its three-year development cycle.
“Rimworld” is a survival game at its base, giving the player the reins of a group of characters who must survive the world around them and all the baddies that come with it. The game starts with the player creating a randomly generated world to play in. From here, a small square of land is chosen in which the player and their characters will crash land and try to survive. That is, assuming that the player chose that baseline story, as Rimworld now offers a variety of ways to start the game, from its classic of three characters crash-landing on the planet after their spaceship explodes, to taking control of a group of tribal people that call the planet their home.
After picking that out, the player then may choose which of “Rimworld’s” A.I. storytellers they want to play with. Pheobe Basebuilder lets new players relax between minimum encounters and difficulties, and is perfect for that relaxing game session after a long day of classes and homework. Cassandra Classic runs the game the way it’s meant to be played, with encounters and enemy attacks slowly ramping up difficulty with time and forcing the player to develop their technology and weapons to survive. Finally, Randy Random does exactly what his name says: he throws anything at you at any time, and can end an early game with an attack from enormous mechanoid enemies or gift your colony with medicine drops. Any A.I. storyteller you pick is guaranteed to make your game play out differently, but for a first run I would go with Cassandra on one of the tougher difficulties. New players are sure to lose, but will hop right back in for another run.
First-time players can expect a bit of difficulty getting into Rimworld, as its systems and menus can be difficult to understand and navigate through at first. Thankfully in one of the later updates to the game, a comprehensive tutorial was added, setting first-timers free of the endless “um’s” and “what’s?” that used to come with getting into the game. However, after enough time at the controls and what is sure to be a few lost runs, players will get set into “Rimworld” and its in-depth mechanics, more of which are being added with each update.
Controlling the game is one of the most difficult things to get a hold on, as characters by default will go about whatever tasks they want, which might not always be the best thing. Sometimes you need someone to go mine iron to make weapons, or a doctor to take care of a hunter injured by an elk. However, once a player understands how to manipulate the characters properly, the possibilities of their desert colony are endless.
“Rimworld” is easily one of the most time consuming games I’ve ever played, with tons of hours in each version that has come out so far and eagerness to play more with the next version. I recommend Rimworld to anyone who’s looking for something a little different, and certainly a little harder, than what is typical for games.
“Rimworld” is made by Tynan Sylvester and Ludeon Studios and is available on Steam for $30.