Premature Evaluation: RimWorld

Every week Brendan scours the wastes for an early access title to tame and take home with him. This time, the haphazard space colonies of RimWorld [official site].

Before I tell you about RimWorld, let me tell you a story that happened in RimWorld. It’s about that girl up there, drinking a beer. If you’re not convinced to jump in by the end of this tale, then we have nothing more to talk about. We can’t be friends. Everyone else: we’re still cool. So here it is, the story of Min, a pop star with a privileged upbringing, who is about to come crashing down to earth.

Min slept with all her animals around her. Since the crash, the 16-year-old pop idol was finding it hard to adjust. She would not help with heavy lifting, or farming, or pulling up weeds. The only thing she would do is take care of the colony’s animals. Rabbits, dogs, tortoises. She loved them all. She even formed a close bond with a rat, whom she named ‘Illness’.

But she wasn’t alone. In this game, you can create your own scenario before crash-landing onto the planet’s surface, adding or removing starter items (wood, steel, pelts, gold, widescreen TVs). You can also set the number of colonists and tweak dozens of other small rules, like compulsory character traits or rules about the planet’s climate. The game let’s you mould your scenario completely, right down to the flavour text.

As you can see, my five colonists had all escaped from a crashing party yacht. They were all rich, famous or both. A jeweler, a wealthy businessman, an ace fighter pilot, a star surgeon and (of course) Min the pop star. They all landed with severe hangovers. I am not kidding, this is a setting you can change.

Fast forward some weeks. The colonists had settled in. They had even survived their first few pirate raids. During one of these raids, they captured a large pirate with a low IQ called Ferdnand. This man was physically capable of nothing but sculpting statues and communing with animals. He was like Hodor with a paintbrush. FERDNAND! Eventually, we convinced him to join the colony.

I set him the task of taming a Megatherium – a huge and powerful ground sloth – so that the colony would have some extra muscle. But Min the pop idol was not having it. She had always been the colony’s animal trainer, and she had little ‘Illness’ to prove it. Spurned, she decided to take on the job herself. She left the safety of the village walls and approached the huge beast with some corn in hand. It went mad.

Ferdnand was already on his way to train his new would-be pet when he saw Min being savaged. He took out his Uzi and started firing with surprising accuracy. FERDNAND! Every shot landed. But the Megatherium turned and charged. By the time Ferdnand started to run, it was too late. The animal ripped him to pieces and he died on the spot.

The other colonists formed up. They lured the beast into the walls, where they riddled it with bullets until dead. The colony’s nudist surgeon (who weeks ago had experienced a mental breakdown and now did everything naked to keep himself happy) rushed out to rescue Min, who was lying in a bloody heap, writhing in unbearable pain. He took her to the clinic, wrapped her in bandages and made sure she got everything she needed – medicine, food and rest.

Well, maybe not rest.

You see, I had already scheduled the clinic’s floor to be renovated during this time. And as Min slept (or tried to sleep) my other colonists were busy ripping up planks and replacing them with shiny while tiles, sending sparks and wood chips everywhere. The noise was unbearable. Min snapped.

Crazed with pain and lack of sleep, she went berserk and chased everyone out of the clinic. She terrorised the dinner guests in the common room, and pursued them into the garden, where she chased them around. When she couldn’t catch the colonists, she turned on the animals – hares, pigs and rats – punching the poor creatures to death in her rage, ignoring the scratches and bites she got in return. Ignoring her old friends.

Finally, a colonist stepped up, walking up to the rampaging diva and knocking her out cold. When Min came to, she was back in the clinic. It was completely refurbished, clean and presentable. But the same could not be said for Min.

This once beautiful pop idol, who people would fall in love with before she even started to sing, was in tatters. She now had no nose, no left ear and no right arm.

Over the next two weeks she locked herself in her room and fell into terrible moods. She stopped handling the animals and was assigned to work only on sculptures. Her first work of art depicted a chicken vomiting on the shoes of a lawyer. I put it in the centre of her workshop.

One day, a ship appeared in orbit. They had items to trade. Among them was a prosthetic limb called a “power claw”. After some thought, I decided it was better than nothing. And besides, these rich castaways could afford it. The nudist was scheduled to do the surgery. Min was getting her arm back, even if it was a claw.

When she woke this time, she went straight to her room and locked herself in. I wondered what was wrong. It wasn’t until she was back at her post, carving new statues that I realised what had happened.

We had amputated the wrong arm.

Now, not only was Min a noseless, earless, armless monster, she also had a terrifying claw instead of her only remaining hand.

Welcome to RimWorld, where stories like this pointless tragedy are commonplace. It can probably best be summed up as: “the game for everyone who wanted to get into Dwarf Fortress but couldn’t because ASCII.” That’s not say it doesn’t have its own share of confusing menus. Supposedly there is a fluid teaching system but it seemed more to me like hints handed out at random. In the absence of a proper tutorial, it takes a lot of clicking and umming to understand why everything functions the way it does.

Let’s look at the colonists, for instance. For the most part, they run around of their own volition but you can still take direct control in a number of ways. When I said that Ferdnand took out his gun, I meant that I clicked on Ferdnand and clicked the “draft” button, putting him into military mode – something you’ll need to survive raids and attacks. But when I said he was already on his way to the gigantic animal, I meant he was heading to it autonomously, because it had been assigned to be “tamed” and he was a designated animal handler.

There’s a task grid that gives some order to it all. You can select which jobs you want each individual colonist to do and which jobs you want them to ignore. An advanced version lets you organise these even further by priority, fiddling with the numbers until you have each person specialised in a strict set of tasks. This is hidden away under “manual” control but it is something that soon becomes essential to learn.

It looks far more complicated than it is. And at any time you can just click on a colonist and right-click on something you want “prioritised” to have them commit to this instead of their job. It’s a bit fiddly but comes in useful in a pinch, for example, when someone insists on milking a cow in a burning barn instead of putting the fire out.

Building your settlement is a lot more straightforward. Prison Architect is the obvious inspiration for the way much of RimWorld’s construction and furniture placement works. You drag lines of walls made of wood, steel or stone until you have what you want, filling it with nice floors, beds, billiards tables, lamps and so on. Power is supplied by solar panels, windmills, wood-burning generators. And electricity is stored in batteries and disseminated by carefully laid power conduits. Sometimes these power cables like to explode, sending your whole colony into darkness and spoiling all the food in your freezer. Sometimes the batteries get wet and go on fire. Sometimes that fire spreads to your sleeping quarters and burns everybody to death. How whimsical!

It’s these accidents and mistakes that make it much more than just another management sim. And coupled with the finer details of the simulation, it makes for some great examples of ‘losing being fun’. Once, I had a doctor set up a bunch of wooden traps by our fort’s only entrance, only to have one of the traps go off in his face. The wound got infected, spread to his torso and killed him. There was only one other person in the colony and since he was exhausted and couldn’t haul the body away (some colonists can’t or won’t do certain jobs), he had to sleep in the same room as the corpse. The next day, when a group of travelling traders came to visit, they found a ruin – a gateway covered in blood, wooden splinters everywhere, a dead body in the only bedroom, and the sole surviving member of the colony wandering around naked in the potato patch, undergoing a post-traumatic episode.

These visitors from other tribes are among the more regular events thrown at you by the “storyteller AIs” – the three personalities that govern the game. There’s the laid-back Phoebe who gives you time between disasters, Cassandra who ramps things up on an exponential curve, and Randy, who just throws stuff at you willy-nilly. I recommend going with ‘Cassandra’ on ‘Rough’ for the best introduction – you will die smiling.

Having played an earlier version, I’m also happy to see how free of bugs this latest build is. There’s also a bunch of new stuff. Animal taming – the job of Min the claw-armed pop star – would have been unthinkable when I last played. But this time I raised a whole barn full of hens, with roosters and little chicks. I fed them too much corn and they vomited everywhere. The cows vomited too. Basically I could not move for vomit. Then I accidentally sold all the grown-up chickens to a visiting psychopath who travelled everywhere with three trained arctic foxes. We ate rice that night.

I have lived through so many other small incidents, it pains me not to be able to recite them all. Even the story of Min and Ferdnand has details I can’t include without boring you into oblivion but which were nonetheless hugely fun for me. Even looking back at these screenshots makes it look rubbish. It’s probably better to watch the trailer to get a better sense of just how eventful this game can be. In only 18 hours of game time I have suffered kidnappings, dry thunderstorms, muscle parasites, monstrous fires, countless infections, and mental breakdowns. I have had my PRICELESS JADE CHESSBOARD stolen. And I know from last year that there are still robot attacks, psychic storms and much more hidden away. There’s also the potential for relationships to blossom. Or so I’ve heard, because I saw no smooching in my colonies (although the jeweler’s brother did show up at one point). [Update: It turns out that a whole bunch of events that were meant to be in this build were broken but have just been fixed – heatwaves, animal insanity, crop blights, eclipses, infestations… crikey]

As far as I’m concerned RimWorld is already worth the entry fee. And it was probably worth it last year too. If its creators can muster even a fraction of the stamina that the Adams brothers have with its ASCII ancestor, we can all look forward to a PC classic.

RimWorld is available on Steam for £22.99/$29.99. These impressions were based on build 1226962

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88 Comments

Top comments

  1. Smashbox says:

    This game has been worth the price of admission since at least last year – I completely adore it. I've had some very memorable colony collapses – my favorite site was burrowed over months into the heart of a mountain. I shouldn't have had to collapse a society to learn how important fire exits are.

    Frequent updates, low tech specs, this is a great game.
  1. TaylanK says:

    I can attest to the game’s flair for drama and hilarity. Last night a wanderer joined my fledgling community and my colonists decided that three was a crowd and a dainty can-do-no-hard-labour leech could not possibly be worth the resource drain. So one of them walked the newcomer to the woodshed and summarily executed her. Later on when they got the plague and were shivering in their deathbeds, it was remembered with regret that the newcomer was a highly skilled doctor. There in the wilderness of a rimworld out there, there is a cute little village with two houses, and a skeleton in each bed.

  2. Smashbox says:

    This game has been worth the price of admission since at least last year – I completely adore it. I’ve had some very memorable colony collapses – my favorite site was burrowed over months into the heart of a mountain. I shouldn’t have had to collapse a society to learn how important fire exits are.

    Frequent updates, low tech specs, this is a great game.

    • apm says:

      low tech specs only for the base game*
      the game can lag hard if you are using one of the bigger modpacks.
      still totally worth the price, you can easily spend 50+ hours on the base game alone and its only getting better with each update.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Whoa there me boy. That may be entirely the Mod pack. A loop or stuck code etc for the mod (fork bombs are easy to accidentally make etc).

        The game runs very well, but as with all management games (DF/Tropico/city building games etc), lots of characters or items can lag it a bit. Still, if playing realtime and not Fast Forward, I’ve not had any trouble (on an i3 with intel on chip graphics, though 6gb of ram is nice).

    • Talksintext says:

      Yeah, I think I’ve been saying for over a year that if development stopped now/then, I’d still be fully satistfied.

      It helps that there’s a massively productive and competent modding community surrounding the game (helped in great part by the dev’s mod-friendly coding). It’s easy enough to mod yourself as well, if you’re so inclined.

  3. Ethaor says:

    I never could get into that game. I’m an avid DF player, loved prison architect for years and watched several times Firefly.

    I tried it for about ten hours, It just didn’t excites me. (I also had a very hard time getting past the 5 year’s-old graphic art style)

    • chiablo says:

      Yea, some of the menus have wonderful artwork. But the actual game looks like it’s using discarded art assets from Prison Architect. The artwork for the animals is hilariously bad.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      …But you like Dwarf Fortress?

      I will never understand people.

      • Nevard says:

        Dwarf Fortress doesn’t have graphics at all.
        This game does have graphics, but poor quality ones.

        I’m not saying it’s the case here because I haven’t played this game (and don’t plan to, until it is out of early access), but sometimes honestly just having nothing and using your imagination completely is better than having something, but that something being ugly.

        • Ethaor says:

          Absolulty right. Any graphic isn’t better than no graphic, there are btw charming tilesets for DF that are borderline pixelart.

          You have to feed, would you prefer to eat a neutral food paste that taste nothing or borderline rotten smelly meat (still technically edible)? ^^’

          The maker of Rimworld ever since the Kickstarter, sold the art of his game as placeholders he made himself (not being an art person at all) until proper visuals could be outsourced. Maybe he abandoned the idea of replacing it with proper art as it seemed good enough for him and many players since I don’t know.

        • Sin Vega says:

          Dwarf Fortress doesn’t have graphics at all.

          Oh for god’s sake. Just because you can get out your nerd hat and go “well technically…” until everyone agrees just for the chance to get away from you, doesn’t mean you’re right. Of course DF has graphics. Visual representation of code is the same damn thing de facto.

          • cafeoh says:

            I’m very confused by your comment. You’re the one that looks pedantic in this instance.

            I also don’t believe that DF really has “graphics”. In a game like Rimworld you have to either enjoy the graphics or play enough that you mostly see things mechanically and thematically. In a game like dwarf fortress there’s no art, just pure symbolism. It’s not a poorly drawn dog, it’s a lowercase d. I think the difference is important enough.

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            X_kot says:

            I’m with you, Sin: it’s all logography. I could even argue that ASCII is less efficient (file size excluded) at communicating information than pixel art. My mind has to register the letter “d” and then connect that to the word “dog” before understanding what it represents in game terms. A graphic of a dog bypasses the structuralism.

        • carewolf says:

          Dwarf Fortress has graphics, it just has really really bad graphics made with ASCII. Is it entirely text based, or does it make visual representations? It makes visual representations? Then it has graphics, it is just REALLY TERRIBLE graphics. Though not half as bad as the the UI.

      • mike2R says:

        Actually I nearly bounced off this game, I think because I’m a Dwarf Fortress player – I went into it very much wanting it to be Dwarf Fortress with graphics and a usable UI, and found that while its similar it wasn’t quite similar enough. It wasn’t until a got into it on its own terms that it clicked for me.

        The main thing is you have far fewer people, and this changes the way the game works quite a bit. In DF start with 6, and quickly get up over 20, and a full fort is generally 100 – 200 (depending where you decide to set the limit). This makes job allocations fairly static I find – I very rarely fiddle with job allocations to fit what I’m doing at any given moment, rather I aim to set up my dwarves so they can deal with any situation my fort will encounter. This is something I really enjoy with DF – fine tuning everything to make a robust fort that can cope with any situation with little extra input from me.

        RimWorld, where having a dozen bods is a lot, just doesn’t work like this, and trying to play it this way was just frustrating. But then I started to work much more moment to moment – every time I issue some order, I check the job allocations and make any alterations needed depending on what else is going on. This works really well, the UI supports it, and it fits with the ability to issue direct orders that you have.

        Its just zoomed in a bit basically – you have much less to manage, but considerably more granular control of what you do have. Its more about being a foreman than a manager, maybe. Very similar in many ways, but different enough to really put me off initially.

        • Ethaor says:

          Very true. It seem to be to Dwarf Fortress what company of heroes is to Supreme Commander.

          I find I get the biggest feeling of reward and accomplishment when I’ve managed to get a fort on its rails to a point where I can mostly sit back and watch various events being thrown at the fort and resolved (mostly) “on its own” because it’s a scenario that has been anticipated hours ago.

          The more complex it is to get there, the harder the events and the more efficient the response is: the more rewarding it gets.

          That’s something I couldn’t find in Rimworld, a great game still, but it’s a very different experience and I think it’s only compared to DF the same way some compare the real time tactical genre with the real time strategy genre.

    • noodlecake says:

      It’s an art style that allows them to make assets very quickly and focus on the actual gameplay. The art is more functional than the art style of Dwarf Fortress because you immediately know what it is. Everything can be figured out by clicking on things or floating the cursor over things.

      It’s not pretty but it gets the job done in a way that DF doesn’t, even with graphical tilesets. I like it.

      • Grim Rainbow says:

        @cafeoh, ‘you have to either enjoy the graphics or play enough that you mostly see things mechanically and thematically.’

        Reminds me so much of Civilization 1. I would pay all the money if I could get Civ 1’s simplicity (with) alliances, civ custom units and the ability to have all the civs on the Earth map.

        All the money!

        • Grim Rainbow says:

          I’m sorry. Civ 1. I didn’t mean it. I loved your graphics, then what I said before, then your graphics again.

  4. AshRolls says:

    I love the sound of this game! I do however have a particular problem with the idea of a supervising storytelling AI forcing events in the world. I would prefer the idea of the story being told purely through emergent events or even just plain old luck, without an overarching AI forcing a story for onto me. Knowing that just because I’ve had a rough time I will get a ‘breather’ from the AI ruins the suspense of the story my game is trying to tell.

    Perhaps I’m (pre)judging too harshly and there are game modes that don’t try and force events, the ‘Randy’ personality for example?

    • Jeremy says:

      It is far less intrusive than it sounds. The game basically leaves you to your business, but you just get to select a personality type (normal, escalating, random) and then the difficulty level within those bounds. So, if you choose the normal personality, with high difficulty, you’re still going to get extremely difficult scenarios, but with less frequency. Additionally, the events are anything as mundane as “rain” to “herd of animals goes psychotic” to “crash pod with a human lands in your settlement.”

      I recently had a herd of Muffalos have a psychotic episode and charge my settlement. I had a marine with a rifle kill 5, another 2 were punched to death by my other 4 villagers, and as I was preparing the marine to run over and take out the last Muffalo, unbeknownst to me, my cat had already landed a finishing blow on it. You know a game is good when a domestic cat can beat a space buffalo to death with it’s paws.

    • Talksintext says:

      You have 3 options. The “Cassandra” one is the one you don’t want. “Phoebe” is very light and easy, “Randy” is very random. There’s really not a lot complicated – the coding for each is quite straightforward. Cassandra simply has a far more steady rate of attacks/bonuses that ramp up fairly steadily, while the others have smaller “min time between” and “max time between” and “severity randomness”. You can go 6 months with Randy doing nothing but trifling things, then you get a perfect storm. Phoebe will probably never be a serious threat, and it’s for people who prefer a more relaxed “builder” or “light RP” game.

  5. popej says:

    I’m looking at those screenshots and I’m getting a Sundog vibe. Is it anything like Sundog? Loved that game!

  6. Stense says:

    I got the game based on what was on offer with the Alpha 9 release a while back, I don’t think any other game has come close to the amount of time I’ve put into Rimworld. Each new update brought with it new joys and stories. I’ve absolutely loved every bit of it. I loved it enough to even get into modding it (first time I’ve done any modding myself since Half-Life), adding in monstrous hedgehog fauna. It’s a very real pleasure to see others enjoying the game as I have, it truly is a game that deserves nice things to happen for it.

  7. stuw23 says:

    Have to say, this review has totally sold me on the game, and was superbly written. I’ll probably not pick the game up for a while – working through the backlog and having too much fun with Mordheim (as well as staring Prison Architect recently, which seems apt) – but this has gone very near to the top of my “to buy” list.

  8. Malarious says:

    Rimworld is probably the only Kickstarter I’ve backed and been happy with. Great game. I probably have over 100 hours in it and I haven’t touched the mods yet, of which there are many.

    • Premium User Badge

      caff says:

      I agree. It’s constantly evolved in both quality and depth, and always stayed true to it’s original vision.

  9. froz says:

    Can someone write a little more about how the game plays out mechanically? Specifically, is there crafting a lot of inventory management (which I hate in such games) or is it more like settlers in this regard? The trailer showed a worryingly gigantic list of items in one menu at some point.

    In other words – do you need to know and remember that you require 4 boards, 12 nails and a specialised tool to create a table, which in turn lets you create other tools, needed for something else etc. etc. Recently I realized I really don’t like games that requires you to remember such things or go look it up in some wiki or even in-game help.

    • Smashbox says:

      No, people will take care of a lot of that fiddly stuff on their own

    • Jeremy says:

      I’ll double Smashbox on this. You deal with basic materials like steel, gold, parts (literally an item called parts) to build most things. As you get deeper into crafting, it doesn’t get much more complex. Types of leather based on the animal that was butchered, or meals using a vegetable and a meat. Admittedly, I haven’t gotten deep into crafting weapons and armor, so I’m not sure if that gets more complex.

      • froz says:

        Thanks to you both. It sounds good, I’ll add the game to my wishlist.

    • Talksintext says:

      There can be *some* management of supplies, but you never really need to go into the weeds on “what exactly do I need?” to build something. Usually, you can just build a bunch of X and start working on Y until you run out of X. Most of the vanilla crafting is fairly simple anyway. The dev made a point of keeping things simplified.

      • hungrycookpot says:

        There are also some thoughtful production options in place: ex. your production stations can be configured to various build orders, such as “Build [item] [#] times.” or “Build [item] until we have [#] in storage” and “Build forever”

        The second option never goes away either, so every time someone is looking for a job to do, the system will check that you have this number in storage, and queue up a job if you don’t.

    • noodlecake says:

      You don’t really have to remember much like that at all. If your guys aren’t making the things you asked them to you probably need to get them to mine some metal or chop some trees and then they’ll start making things again. That’s usually the extent of it.

  10. removeme says:

    It’s a wonderful game.
    I backed it early on when it was Alpha 5.
    The only knock on it I have is…

    I don’t think it’ll ever be finished. :/

  11. Spuzzell says:

    So in Rimworld you can assign people to do certain tasks?

    You can give them all Rimjobs?

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    Nauallis says:

    “Give” is probably too weak a term

  13. brucethemoose says:

    FYI there’s a big with events not firing (aka half the game) in the first release. Make sure you’re running Alpha 14b.

  14. Sir_Deimos says:

    I’m very interested in this, but there’s been too many times that I got into an EA game, loved it, but never went back to it for new content (ie Factorio, Terraria, Starbound). Lately I’ve been holding off until games are content complete so that I don’t do this and can enjoy the full game (I’ve got my eye on you Subnautica…).
    It seems like this is very close to a “done” state, does anyone know if there’s a planned release window?

    • bandertroll says:

      No. “We’re not sure how long the game will be in Early Access. That said, it’s fully playable, low in bugs and balanced now. We’re just not sure how much more additional free content we’re going to add before calling it done.”

      • Sir_Deimos says:

        Thanks, I was thinking this game would be worth breaking my rules for and this article certainly didn’t help my wallet’s case against it.

        • brucethemoose says:

          FYI this has been the developers attitude for the last few Alpha versions.

          The game is basically complete right now. His attitude is just to continue expanding on it until he burns out, which is a great attitude IMHO.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            Yup. The game’s been immensely playable for over a year now. Didn’t even feel like early access when I picked it up. I burned out on it for a while, then had my mind blown when I returned a few builds later. Repeat once or twice more. And it seems like this post might be ending the current lull. Every major update or two breathes new life into the game, almost like the proper old “expansion packs” of yore, but without making the previous builds seem any less robust. If you’re at all interested in the genre, this was already one of the best games of the last few years when it first began. Can’t wait to see what the new updates have brought.

          • Talksintext says:

            He’s also got a helper dev now, so even if he personally burns out (which he did sort of this past year), someone else is working on it.

            I would love if he just kept 1 guy working on this perpetually, especially if money just blasts in from the Steam releases. Project Zomboid, another “been good enough for release for a long time EA game” has been in “permanent development” for years, and it just keeps getting better and better, though it does need NPCs still.

  15. Sin Vega says:

    I’ve never been bothered about the graphics (which are fairly easy to replace with tilesets anyway); it’s the UI that puts more people off DF, I’d say. Even if Rimworld is imperfect and slightly fiddly, it’d still be a vast improvement.

    I just wish it was cheaper. Over £20 for an unfinished game takes the piss a bit, but I’m glad to see they’re succeeding anyway.

    • Ethaor says:

      I think it’s a great game for people that always were attracted to DF but couldn’t quite ever crack its visuals and menus enough to play it.

      I think this game is a story telling focused super light version of DF. DF for the masses basically, which so many have been trying to do over the last few years with more or less success. That one really seem to have succeeded. Which is great.

      • Talksintext says:

        To expand on how it’s “lite” DF:
        1) the world is basically nonexistent outside the “fortress” map. There are technically other factions, which have relations with you that can be changed, but nothing is actively simulated, just random events pop up, like “faction X attacks” or “faction Y refugee arrives” stuff. There is no history generation like in DF, though that might be planned for later.
        2) no adventurer mode
        3) supply chains are a bit simpler
        4) no “economy mode” for late game (just trading money always)
        5) Pawns move a lot slower, so maximizing movement efficiency is key, whereas it was less cumbersome in DF.
        6) No Z levels – 1 level only (though the dev has mentioned wanting to expand to perhaps a few or a 1+ level or something, but nothing like DF with 30+ levels)
        7) biomes are simpler and fewer in number
        8) the dev is more actively interested in improving siege AI, with sappers and “spawn inside base” and “long range mortaring” being options.
        9) pretty much bug free (with that one unfortunately huge bug marring the release, but I’ve otherwise never come across anything significant in several releases), no accidental “features”, and the dev is committed to also removing “gamey tactics” and exploits.

    • Shadow says:

      30 dollars for an Early Access game is a bit of a hard sale for me as well, particularly because they won’t be allowing any discounts for a long time.

      It seems they’re also planning to further increase the price once the game leaves EA? A tad nuts, if you ask me.

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        alms says:

        This looks like one I would have got if it went with Minecraft’s pricing model.

        Hell, now that I think about it – Rimworld is more expensive than Minecraft Oo

    • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

      I’ll agree with the interface issue of DF. I just got into (read obsessed with) Dwarf Fortress and the interface is all over the fucking place. There’s so many different menus, and half the shit in some of them would be much better placed in other menus.

      Also stupid controls in some ways, like how to scroll in some menus it’s + and -, and some it’s the up/down arrows. Or how you set the size of designations with enter, whereas with farms you have to use ujhk or something absolutely stupid like that. Other than the hideous hideous hideous menus and interface, the gameplay is pretty accessible in itself with a tile set – not only that but in two weeks it has become perhaps the best management/dungeon keeper/God game I have ever played by a country mile.

      • klops says:

        Yes to this and yes to Sin Vega’s post. UI, UI, UI, UI, UI and UI. That’s the reason I don’t play DF anymore. Tarn Adams’s priorities are way too engineer-Tolkienesque for a game developer for me to enjoy the game.

        Oh, your dwarf’s left toe got broken through his sock made from cave-spider silk and mule-leather boot because a goblin whose civilization worships demons since the demon arrived in their region hit it with a sword made of pinewood. At the same time controlling your soldiers is just plain mess. I appreciate DF and its developer’s attention to details that shouldn’t matter but are big part of the charm, but don’t want to play the game.

    • Talksintext says:

      As someone who loved DF – for a while until the UI just got to me – this game is definitely worth the price. It’s a full game as-is, and development will continue probably for a few more releases still (6+ months), with each release adding a ton of content (comparable to a decent DF release).

      Personally, I’ve gotten well over the 50-100hr mark out of the game, and I haven’t played it barely since about 2 releases back (I’m waiting for a full game having sort of burned out), and it was that fun back then.

      Also, there’s a ridiculous amount of mods available and still regularly updated. Some are very extensive. You can play vanilla, or just vanilla + furniture/hair/etc for a very long time, then dip into a “hardcore” modpack or an economy modpack and play a long time again.

      • Sin Vega says:

        I honestly don’t doubt you, and I’d be uncomfortable saying that their pricing is definitely wrong or silly. But aside from being too poor right now, every time I’ve paid more than £20 for a game I’ve regretted it, and I don’t like buying games that could turn into something I dislike. Put together, I can’t see myself buying it.

        Which is a shame. But I really am glad they’re doing well, and that people are having fun with it.

    • SomeDuder says:

      I’ve played several Early Access titles over the years, and if there’s one thing that’s consistent, it’s that the UI is always a huge fucking mess and something to be addressed “later”. Current examples are Factorio (Grey, bland, blocking the visuals) and Rimworld (No idea what’s even going on here, what a mess).

      I didn’t think it’d be that hard to create some screen elements that would be non-intrusive but also informative, at least compared to writing a whole game, but hey, the struggle is real.

    • Premium User Badge

      alms says:


      18/07/2016 at 22:35 Sin Vega says:

      I’ve never been bothered about the graphics (which are fairly easy to replace with tilesets anyway); it’s the UI that puts more people off DF, I’d say. Even if Rimworld is imperfect and slightly fiddly, it’d still be a vast improvement.

      I just wish it was cheaper. Over £20 for an unfinished game takes the piss a bit, but I’m glad to see they’re succeeding anyway.

      Cannot agree more.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Herzog says:

    Sounds great. Still I normally dont buy into early access (Reflex, Dirt Rally cough…) Anyways, any roadmap or timeline for the final release?

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      See bandertroll’s comment, above.

    • Talksintext says:

      Not really. The dev will continue until he doesn’t want to anymore. TBA perpetually.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Look at it this way: it was basically final an Alpha or 2 ago.

      Everything else the dev adds is just icing on the cake. It doesn’t feel incomplete atm.

  17. Uberwolfe says:

    This was a great read, resulting in a purchase from me!

  18. vanhisa says:

    Is there no alt text on Premature Evaluation anymore? :(

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      Sorry, I don’t have the terrifying reserves of knowledge that Davies has!

      • ThePuzzler says:

        I don’t think you need ‘knowledge’ to write those alt-texts; you just look up something relevant on Wikipedia and search around until you find something interesting to write about.

        • Brendan Caldwell says:

          Yeah, I used to do alt text on my Free Loaders column, but I got out of the habit because after X hours of downloading, playing, writing, formating and posting, needing to add fun alt text just became an extra job. Far from being a wee bit of craic where I could scribble garbage jokes or insight, it just became a chore that only about 1% of the audience would ever appreciate. Eventually, I gave it up. I’d rather get on with the next full article. Just think of it ALL as alt text!

          • Premium User Badge

            X_kot says:

            Think of it all as alt text.

            That sounds like a great tagline for the site! :D

  19. fidgety says:

    Thank goodness that “Brenden and Anti-Brenden” scenario isn’t an official scenario. The harmful “evil alter ego” stereotype doesn’t need spreading.

  20. Phasma Felis says:

    I’ve heard good things about Rimworld, but I couldn’t get past the thing where you’re stranded on a wretched backworld with no hope of rescue and no way to survive except to harvest local resources and trade them with…the…spacefaring traders who drop by on a regular basis? What?

    I mean, yes, vidyagame logic and all, but in a game that’s specifically about telling emergent stories, I’m not sure I can enjoy it if the fundamental setup doesn’t make any sense. Do they try to explain that? Some kind of weird quarantine where humans once exposed must never return to galactic society, but livestock is OK?

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Don’t think so.

      What’s especially weird is you can sell slaves to the trade ships, which means they obviously can and will pick people off the planets.

      Maybe they’re just really, really serious about how no-one rides for free.

    • noodlecake says:

      I can’t tell if you’re serious and missing the point entirely, or are being ironically pedantic.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        It’s a pretty simple question. Does the game explain why your characters don’t buy passage with the traders, or not? I honestly have no idea what’s hard about this for you.

        • Premium User Badge

          alms says:

          Didn’t you get the memo? people are not allowed to have non-uniform opinions of games.

          HATE or LOVE. UP or DOWN. No in-between, please. (And no surprises, silence)

    • Azurain says:

      There are alternative (and custom) start conditions as of the latest build. So, don’t play three crashed survivors: play five intrepid misfits who set out to build their own small colony.

  21. The First Door says:

    RimWorld really is an excellent game! So far I’ve seriously considered planting cotton (rather than potatoes) for a dog bed for Lubov the husky, had a raccoon repeatedly ‘reject the offer’ of friendship from a colonist, watched helpless as someone got mauled by a turkey he was supposed to be hunting, and discovered a budding sculptor. All this before getting attacked and not being sure if I was more pissed off about the raiders shooting and injuring Lubov or blowing off my sculptor’s right thumb, thus damaging a once promising career.

  22. Czrly says:

    Oh’for’f’s’sake. Can’t we please have clickable screenshots, RPS? The game looks awesome and the review is golden but the inability to enlarge the screenshots really sucks. (I know you’re using WordPress but, come on. It’s 2016!)

  23. slerbal says:

    Lovely writeup! I was looking forward to getting this for ages and it has definitely not disappointed. It is compulsive stuff. Oh god I’ve twice almost lopped off a healthy arm instead of replacing a missing one. I laughed a lot!

  24. carewolf says:

    This is an awesome game.

    I had one colony wiped out by angry deers. I had chosen to hunt the oldest male, thinking he was the least useful for breading the herd, but he was apparently the leader, and after injuring he went berserk along with the entire herd of 20 deers. They injured the hunter, killed the colonist coming to rescue the hunter, ran to my base, killed 10 well armed guards from a travelling merchant, broke down the doors the rest of the last three surviving colonist had barricades themselves behind, and ate them…

  25. ata says:

    After just barely surviving a particularly nasty bug infestation, my last standing colonist decided that rather than putting out numerous fires, try to save his fellow colonists or finishing off the bug hive (to prevent further bugs from spawning). He decided his first priority should be to butcher, cook and then sit down at the table and eat his lifelong bonded pet dog (which had died during the attacks) as the colony burned down around him. After this I discovered manual job priorities. This game is utterly fantastic and I feel like I’ve already had my money’s worth several times over since buying it a few months ago.

  26. Premium User Badge

    Flavour Beans says:

    As many have said, I’m also a Kickstarter for this game and I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it several times over. I’m glad to see it hit Steam and do well so far. It’s an absolute gem, and every play session yields a few good stories to share. For those concerned about Early Access, the creator has said that the game is pretty much finished, and that he’s just planning on adding more content as he comes up with it. As it stands, if someone told me it was a complete game and would never see another add-on, I’d still be happy.

  27. geldonyetich says:

    I think that, for many players, Rimworld will be the most interesting game they’ve played since FTL. Both games deserve a permanent spot on your desktop for when you want to remind yourself what indie excellence looks like, and Rimworld isn’t even out of Early Access yet.

  28. LimaBravo says:

    £23 quid for a Prison Architect alike.

    No thnaks. Gimme a call when the hype trains ran outta steam & its realistic price for a dirty knock off.

    • Azurain says:

      So, taking some design and aesthetic elements from another game makes it an ‘alike’ now? Because I’ve played both games and they feel like fundamentally different games (Rimworld being, to me, by far the more interesting product). If you’re gonna call Rimworld an alike, at least get it right and call it a DF-alike.

  29. Hoot says:

    Read story. Bought game. Watched Quill to get an idea of what to do. Started on EXTREME DESERT and CHALLENGING difficuly, default Crashlanded scenario.

    Within 2 in game months I was dealing with a toxic fallout + cold snap event during which I was raided an my doctor and effective leader character got her left arm shot off. Wouldn’t have been so bad except that an animal taking went bad a few weeks before and she lost her right hand.

    She’s married to another of my colonists, since the early days. I’m pleased he still makes love to his double amputee wife and she isn’t totally useless to the colony either, 15 research stat, time to build that research bench then.

    10/10 would buy again.