Early Look @ RimWorld

The emergency sirens are blaring. You don’t know why the alarm has been raised, but you do know one thing – you have to get of this ship. Now. Once you reach your escape pod you realize that you have no idea where you are or where you will land. Hopefully it’s a civilized planet. Anything habitable would be fine, anything but a god forsaken rimworld that is.

Welcome to RimWorld, a sci-fi colony sim brought to us by Tynan Sylvester and Ludeon Studios. In RimWorld you lead a small band of accidental settlers, escapees of a space liner disaster, in their effort to survive on a planet far from home.

One of the selling points of RimWorld is its “intelligent AI storyteller” who controls the challenges you will face. There are currently five of these storytellers ranging from Phoebe Friendly, dedicated to giving you a fun relaxed experience, to Randy Random, a storyteller with no rules. This wide range in narrators allows players to customize their experience beyond the usual “easy, medium, hard” settings.

The building tools allotted to the player give a rather wide array of possible layouts for the colony, and the procedurally generated landscape only adds to the possibilities. My only gripe with the building system is how there is no third dimension. This means that although you can lay out your colony in many different ways on a plane, you can’t have multi-level walls or guard towers. It also means that your colony will either be outside, in a mountain, or straddling the two.

RimWorld Start

The beginnings of a humble settlement.

In previous versions of RimWorld, lone travelers would pass by and could be easily abducted and persuaded to join the colony. However, in the most recent alpha update, factions have been introduced. The faction system adds a new layer of complexity to the game. These factions include neolithic tribes armed with rocks and bows, other colonies in the same situation you are in, and space-faring pirate bands whose sole reason of existence is to make your colony extinct.

This brings me to the combat system. Cover, shooting around walls, and friendly fire are all simulated. The only early form of static offence, the improvised turret, explodes when destroyed, causing surrounding cover to be demolished. All of this combined creates very tense combat scenarios where you plan out troop positions and cross your fingers hoping no enemy has grenades. In my experience, no matter how quickly you develop your colony, an early raid with a grenadier will destroy you.

RimWorld Fall

The fall of a colony.

Despite its shortcomings, RimWorld’s pre-alpha delivers a great experience. RimWorld is clearly a game with a lot of potential, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the devs take this next.

You can pick up your own alpha access at rimworldgame.com

the author

Alexander is a student, a man of many hobbies, and most importantly a contributor to ManaPool.