Rimworld Preview

Written by Jake Tucker

January 18, 2017 // 10:25 a.m.

Tags: #dwarf-fortress #maia #rimworld #strategy #survival

Rimworld Preview

Preview: Rimworld

My Rimworld colonists don't keep diaries. They're often too busy working to get a moment to reflect, and if they did, I'd implore them to spend the time tending the crops, making new clothes, or crafting statues I could sell to passing ships instead. Thus, it falls to me to tell the legends of my colonies and keep the history of my failures alive. The stories sound like bad sitcom episodes taken at face value: The one with the organ harvesting, the one where everyone died of heatstroke, the one with the crop blight and subsequent cannibalism.

Rimworld is, ostensibly, a game about building a space-colony out of nothing, growing in power and facilities until you can build your own ship to escape the planet once again. In reality, it's a tale of harrowing survival and of the things that you — the omniscient player — will do to make that happen.

Rimworld Preview

As a game, it's made up of a lot of similar mechanics and ideas that underpin Dwarf Fortress or Maia. The premise is nearly identical to Dwarf Fortress's offerings too. In this game, you'll manage a colony from a top-down view against the odds while the game throws everything it can in your path, except this time the setting is science fiction instead of fantasy. You'll fail a lot, and from these failures comes the game's drama and fun. Life is cheap in Rimworld: food poisoning, heatstroke, or a bullet with your colonists' name on it can come at any time, and each of these deaths often have high costs, because everyone has a part to play in a fledgling colony; a single fatality can spell doom.

Most of what happens to you is dictated by the game's storytelling AI. There are three of these, with each billed as a separate personality. This trio offers the choice between a classic experience which gives a steady escalation of threat and is genuinely my favoured storyteller. Secondly, there's a more sedate AI that provides lesser threats so players can focus on building without worrying too much . Then there's the random AI, which is best described as pure chaos. The first time I tried him, I had no random events beside trade caravans for three whole months.

Rimworld Preview

The second time I tried the chaotic AI, my base was infested with incredibly powerful bugs within an hour of play. Without the more powerful weapons needed to fight the bugs and with the bugs turning my combined storeroom/kitchen into their new nest, my colonists died within the month.

These anecdotes and trying to survive the situations within them are the most interesting part of the whole experience. Rimworld has layer upon layer of systems that serve to make survival a complex and involving experience. A side effect of this is that hideous colony-ending disasters come from Rimworld's very own form of the butterfly effect.

Rimworld Preview

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