RimWorld is a story generator. It’s 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 – they’re crash-landed survivors from a passenger liner destroyed in orbit. You can end up with a nobleman, an accountant, and a housewife. You’ll 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.
This is going to sound like a cop out but:Go back to the store page and read the «ABOUT THIS GAME», the full description, not just the blurb up at the top of the page.This is probably one of the only games where the description is pretty much spot on.There’s almost nothing I could tell you about the game that is not already in the rather lengthy about this game description right on the store page. It’s not lying, it’s not making anything up. Take a close look at the pictures too, it’s not hiding anything. This is a minimalist graphics game that uses cute icons to get it’s point across. There’s no impressive 3d visuals and there never will be.From the ground up this is a colony management sim. You have some crash landed survivors, well; go survive. If that’s not enough of a hook to get you interested, skip it.Everything else the game does is predicated on that scenario. What makes the game shine is the size and scope of what you can manage from there. It literally generates an entire planet. Every square block of the entire planet. Let the magnitude of that sink in.Beyond that it’s a story simulator only in the loosest sense. Your colonists will have events happen to them, natural disasters, invading raiders, animal attacks and so on. In vague terms you could sum up every story as «life happens, deal with it». And how you deal with it is mostly up to you.Or at least it would be if your colonists didn’t all have minds of their own. You can give them directions, you can lay out plans, you can set out a path to bring your stone age campground back to a proper civilizations standards. And you can watch it all burn down when one of your colonists goes nuts after having his arm torn off by a hungry monkey that used to be his pet.The size and scope of the life stories that can be told are basically endless. If there is any major flaw with the concept… well, it’s the same thing: the life stories that can be told are basically endless.. but that generally means they are also going to end in tragedy (forced start over) or go on in tedium without any goals beyond what you set for yourself. And once you reach those… then what? Keep surviving for the sake of surviving.Winning basically either puts you in an endless loop of treading water until the end of time watching colonists give birth to new generations of colonists. Or it all just comes crumbling down as you decay into random methods of failure whether that’s on week 1 because you lost all your food and there was nothing to hunt, or it’s year 3000 and your colony despite many generations of growth is flattened by some invading aliens who want to build a hyperspace freeway through your home and demolish the planet.The game is simultaneously one of the most boring and exciting games I’ve ever played. The scope is incredible, the scale enormous. And the random nature of event’s is only as profound as it’s tedious repetitive treadmill that is survival.The bottom line, if theoretically massive scale colony building in a massive world filled with random events sounds like a good thing to you and you are willing to sludge through a very repetitive early game no matter how many times you lose, you are going to find several thousand hours of fun here.On the other hand if you are easily annoyed because you laid out a godly plan on how to build an entire civilization only to have it foiled by a stupid monkey. This might not be the game for you.Now excuse me, I need to go start a new colony and this time we’re shooting all the stupid monkeys and eating them instead of trying to make them into pets….