“A sci-fi colony sim driven by an intelligent AI storyteller.”
So this game has consumed my soul and destroyed my will to do anything else except watch as my group of wayward colonists struggle to survive before collapsing and inevitably turning towards cannibalism.
Developed by one dude, it’s been in pre-alpha for years and has recently hit Steam early access and is blowing up.
The game involves setting up a colony on a titular Rimwolrd, an untamed planet well away from the galactic centre where everyone lives. In this wild frontier reminiscent of Firefly, you build your colony from humble beginning to a (hopefully) thriving community, interacting with other communities and managing randomly spawned colonists whom you’ll either get attached to an mourn the loss of (or conspire to murder because they refuse to take the garbage out), reacting to various events ranging from pirate raids to alien infestations or worst of all… packs of Yorkshire Terriers.
Visually, it’s suspiciously similar to Prison Architect, but plays more like Dwarf Fortress with real time combat and a better interface. The base game is excellent as is and is more than worth the price tag, especially given the modding scene and all the content it’s spawned – some are truly phenomenal and once you find a couple that tickle your fancy it’s impossible to go back to vanilla.
The worlds are created at random and with the AI story teller no two games will ever be the same. There are three different storyteller AI who orchestrate your misery – they create events and scale difficulty based on how we’ll you’re doing:
- Casandra Classic – Scales gently but ever upward, with lots of gifts in the form of random cargo drops, but like space invaders it just keeps getting harder until she pisses in your cornflakes
- Phoebe Chillax – More of a base builder mode, scales a bit faster early on but with long breaks between events and more than enough time to recover between crises
- Randy Random – Fuck you, your plans, your happiness, and the horse she rode in on
It’s a way more interesting way to play.
Fortunately you can change the AI storyteller mid game, so I’d recommend starting with Casandra while you learn the ropes, the swapping to Randy to get the real Rimworld experience.
Rndy can be incredibly difficult during the start-up phase, raids are harder early on, but he may also shower you with drop pods full of chocolate. Late game raids on Randy are actually not as difficult as they are on Cassandra, however Randy may do them back to back and when the RNG gods decide to end your game it will be spectacular.
It’s possible to customise your starts (and with a mod, even your colonists), however the basic start is three crashlanded spacers with limited supplies – the Tribal start (neolithic primitives whose ancestors blew themselves into the stone age) is prone to getting wiped out by heat waves, although the last alpha has fixed that and there are mods that give options to deal with heatstroke early game short of tossing everyone in a freezer room you may not have the research for, let alone power to run.
Also while I alluded to it in the thread title and opening paragraph, cannibalism is only a last resort if you mismanaged things or get a bunch of REALLY bad events that wipe out our food stocks – that being said last time I tried to avoid putting long pig on the menu and slaughter one of the puppies for meat, a colonist who loved him went postal and murdered half the colony before being put down and eaten raw by the starving survivors.
My advice if to keep dead people in the cooler as emergency supplies.
… this game can get really dark.