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Rimworld is a space colony sim. These types of games have been around about as long as computers. They have a rich legacy of being either incredibly fussy or incredibly wacky, with little ground to tread in between. Where Rimworld succeeds, though, is by embracing those spaces - an attempt that is only as successful as the player's attitude towards...[read more below]

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Not Your Father's Space Sim

Rimworld is a space colony sim. These types of games have been around about as long as computers. They have a rich legacy of being either incredibly fussy or incredibly wacky, with little ground to tread in between. Where Rimworld succeeds, though, is by embracing those spaces - an attempt that is only as successful as the player's attitude towards the game's various systems.

Living on the Edge

If you're unfamiliar with Rimworld, you'll get your best understanding of the game's concept by looking at the world of science fiction. This is a game that's all about establishing a working society on a far-flung planet, embracing the process of creating something from a rough-hewn new world.

A game of building, managing, and watching it all fall apart.

As much as it's a sci-fi game, though, it's also a game about the new play.

It's as much a descendant of Dwarf Fortress as anything else, utilizing a sense of randomness that's driven by the AI director to test the limits of what one can expect.

So much of the joy in this game comes not from things going well, but from laughing as things go wrong. Rimworld is, at its heart, a game that you don't so much play to win as you play to see what horrible fates could befall you, poor colonists, this time.

She's Got it Where It Counts, Kid

Rimworld doesn't look great. There's no excellent way to put it - it's a straightforward game, again throwing back to some of the better skins for elementary games like Dwarf Fortress. It's not about looks here, though - it's about giving you a level of visual representation that allows you to work with the game's systems. It's adequate, but sometimes the visual design leaves a lot to be desired.

The sound design is fine. The ambient noises are reasonably good, and the background music is good. There's nothing either offensively wrong or shockingly good here. The audio does its job and stays out of the way.

Introducing the Director

If Rimworld were just a game about building colonies in isolation, it wouldn't be much fun. What's great about this game, though, is that it's really about what happens when you let things more or less run itself. You're putting the elements into play, but there's no way that you are the person in charge. Instead, it all comes down to the Director.

Make no mistake: the directors are the stars of this game!

Left 4 Dead is probably the game that made AI directors famous, but Rimworld makes a good case for being the new star in town. The game has three directors, one that slowly ramps up the drama, one that keeps things calm, and the fan-favorite that is all about chaos. The scenarios they throw at your survivors range from the obvious to the absurd, and they make the game indeed something to behold.

In a way, the game feels a lot like you're spending your time setting up dominoes. At some point, you've got to see what happens when they get knocked down. Fortunately, the ensuing fall is an awful lot of fun.

Fun Isn't the Right Word

Rimworld isn't fun. It's something beyond that, maybe. It's a game about frustrating yourself and laughing at your failures. Victories, though rare, feel very earned here. If you're willing to embrace some incredibly well-built chaos, you will fall in love with all this game has to offer.


Rimworld is a colony-building sim that is chaotic, challenging, and ultimately incredibly interesting.

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From the Developers

What follows is the official description of RimWorld, from the developers.

RimWorld is a sci-fi colony sim driven by an intelligent AI storyteller. Inspired by Dwarf Fortress, Firefly, and Dune.

You begin with three survivors of a shipwreck on a distant world.

  • Manage colonists' moods, needs, wounds, and illnesses.

  • Fashion structures, weapons, and apparel from metal, wood, stone, cloth, or futuristic materials.

  • Tame and train cute pets, productive farm animals, and deadly attack beasts.

  • Watch colonists develop and break relationships with family members, lovers, and spouses.

  • Fight pirate raiders, hostile tribes, rampaging animals, giant tunnelling insects and ancient killing machines.

  • Trade with passing ships and trade caravans.

  • Decorate your colony to make it into a pleasurable space.

  • Dig through snow, weather storms, and fight fires.

  • Capture refugees or prisoners and turn them to your side or sell them into slavery.

  • Discover a new generated world each time you play.

  • Build colonies in the desert, jungle, tundra, and more.

  • Learn to play easily with the help of an intelligent and unobtrusive AI tutor.

RimWorld is a story generator. Its designed to co-author tragic, twisted, and triumphant stories about imprisoned pirates, desperate colonists, starvation and survival. It works by controlling the random events that the world throws at you. Every thunderstorm, pirate raid, and traveling salesman is a card dealt into your story by the AI Storyteller. There are several storytellers to choose from. Randy Random does crazy stuff, Cassandra Classic goes for rising tension, and Phoebe Chillax likes to relax.

Your colonists are not professional settlers theyre crash-landed survivors from a passenger liner destroyed in orbit. You can end up with a nobleman, an accountant, and a housewife. Youll acquire more colonists by capturing them in combat and turning them to your side, buying them from slave traders, or taking in refugees. So your colony will always be a motley crew.

Each persons background is tracked and affects how they play. A nobleman will be great at social skills (recruiting prisoners, negotiating trade prices), but refuse to do physical work. A farm oaf knows how to grow food by long experience, but cannot do research. A nerdy scientist is great at research, but cannot do social tasks at all. A genetically engineered assassin can do nothing but kill but he does that very well.

Colonists develop - and destroy - relationships. Each has an opinion of the others, which determines whether they'll become lovers, marry, cheat, or fight. Perhaps your two best colonists are happily married - until one of them falls for the dashing surgeon who saved her from a gunshot wound.

The game generates a whole planet from pole to equator. You choose whether to land your crash pods in a cold northern tundra, a parched desert plain, a temperate forest, or a steaming equatorial jungle. Different areas have different animals, plants, diseases, temperatures, rainfall, mineral resources, and terrain. These challenges of surviving in a disease-infested, choking jungle are very different from those in a parched desert wasteland or a frozen tundra with a two-month growing season.

You can tame and train animals. Lovable pets will cheer up sad colonists. Farm animals can be worked, milked, and sheared. Attack beasts can be released upon your enemies. There are many animals - cats, labrador retrievers, grizzly bears, camels, cougars, chinchillas, chickens, and exotic alien-like lifeforms.

People in RimWorld constantly observe their situation and surroundings in order to decide how to feel at any given moment. They respond to hunger and fatigue, witnessing death, disrespectfully unburied corpses, being wounded, being left in darkness, getting packed into cramped environments, sleeping outside or in the same room as others, and many other situations. If they're too stressed, they might lash out or break down.

Wounds, infections, prosthetics, and chronic conditions are tracked on each body part and affect characters' capacities. Eye injuries make it hard to shoot or do surgery. Wounded legs slow people down. Hands, brain, mouth, heart, liver, kidneys, stomach, feet, fingers, toes, and more can all be wounded, diseased, or missing, and all have logical in-game effects. And other species have their own body layouts - take off a deer's leg, and it can still hobble on the other three. Take off a rhino's horn, and it's much less dangerous.

You can repair body parts with prosthetics ranging from primitive to transcendent. A peg leg will get Joe Colonist walking after an unfortunate incident with a rhinoceros, but he'll still be quite slow. Buy an expensive bionic leg from a trader the next year, and Joe becomes a superhuman runner. You can even extract, sell, buy, and transplant internal organs.

And there's much more than that! The game is easy to mod and has an active mod community. Read more at http://rimworldgame.com.

(All non-English translations are made by fans.)

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