The first time I played this game, my people nearly starved to death. I tried to solve this by getting tricksy and using sunlamps outdoors in order to boost my crop’s growth cycle, only to discover that many electrical systems explode and catch fire when exposed to rain. I did manage to pull through in the end, but it was pretty tight for a while.
That was all several releases back. When I last reviewed the game, I mentioned that I thought it wasn’t yet worth its $30 asking price, but that it could be if it continued to develop as well as it had thus far. Now, here I am several releases later, ready to tell you whether or not I think it’s continued to live up to its earlier promise.
My answer is easy: it has. I’m not saying that it’s all the way there yet, but the game is damn interesting and its central features have been expanded aggressively over the past few months. Any given change usually feels small, but the shift from when I first played back in early March has been impressive. In addition to there simply being more junk that I can make for my colony, the world around my colony has gotten considerably more interesting, and often far more threatening as well. I won’t cover everything, but…
As a quick example, there are now factions in game. Your neighbors exist off the map, but they come and visit sometimes and they all have an opinion of you. Most of them despise you. You can wire them money through your communications device, in an attempt to buy your way into their good graces, but it takes a lot of money to have much of an impact.
Similarly, you can buy up the favor of one of the few groups that doesn’t simply want to murder you and then cash in on that favor by asking them to visit you with lots of guns. Guns that they’ll use on other people, that is, because the game allows for fights between different AI controlled factions as well. Last time my colony exploded in a ball of fiery death, I tried to summon up reinforcements just a little too late and got to watch my colonists bleed out or burn to death while the neighbors had it out in a highly explosive gunfight. It was all rather spectacular, in a depressing sort of way.
This time, I’ve been better prepared. Thus far, I mean, since I’ll no doubt soon face some similarly terminal challenge. A raid or two ago I managed to bribe and then call for reinforcements with sufficient speed to flank my erstwhile attackers while they tried to force their way into the death-funnel that makes up my front entryway. That was very satisfying. More recently I’ve had to contend with truly large groups of pirate raiders complete with power armor, and while I mostly managed to see them off they were able to kidnap one of my colonists after they’d broken against my defenses and decided to beat a hasty retreat. I’ll miss you Hoglu, you were the best stonecutter I’ve ever had.
My current worry is something that has been broadcasted for several versions but which I had not, up to now, yet seen. Giant killer robots by the name of mechanoids are now roaming around a small section of my map, and I’m not sure what to do about it. Careful, this next bit will contain a few *SPOILERS*
The problem all began when a piece of an alien space ship crash landed near my base. It was emitting a quiet psychic hum and slowly driving my colonists mad, so I made use of another of the game’s recent additions to solve my problems. I constructed a small walled compound with access to my base, and installed a battery of mortars inside it, sending in colonists on shifts to man the guns and destroy the offending piece of debris. Despite being hilariously, frustratingly inaccurate, my mortars put paid to the problem in short order. Unfortunately, they also exposed another problem, those aforementioned mechanoids.
If they’d been the smaller variety, with some 90 hitpoints and a powerful single-shot gun, I might have sent out a party to dispatch them quickly, or at least drag them back to my base’s stationary defenses. Sadly, a larger mechanoid was also present, with around 800 hitpoints and armed with a minigun. My mortars have thus far only managed to land one hit after several days of firing, and if I continue dropping shells there willy-nilly, I’m likely to destroy the goodies that I want to extract from the damaged debris. Also, the mechanoids appear to be repairing themselves, slowly but surely. I’m running out of ideas.
My most recently hatched (and as yet un-discarded) plot involves a truly enormous battery of sentry guns, hidden within the cliffs nearby the mechanoids. Perhaps I could then mine out the last bit of wall hiding them from the killer robots and simply hope for the best? Barring rocket launchers dropping from the heavens straight into my lap, this seems like my best option. If I’m careful, I might not even lose more than one or two colonists while doing it.
The truth is, I’m quite worried about the chance that I might be visited by unwelcome guests with guns while I’m trying to pull this off. Given how close they came to succeeding last time, I’m not sure I’ll be able to survive another attack. Or maybe this time they’ll set up mortars of their own to drop rounds on me, and force me to come out and fight them while trekking past those horrible robots. Either way, I’m not especially confident of my chances. That’s the *END OF SPOILERS*
On the plus side, I’m enjoying the game tremendously. It’s nowhere near as complex as Dwarf Fortress (yet), but it’s certainly in the same genre and gives me a similar sense of satisfaction. Better yet, the trappings of the game are wonderfully flavorful. It even has good music to go with all the desperate sci-fi frontier stylings. I’m still not certain that you’ll want to pay $30 for it in its current state, but barring catastrophe I’m now confident that the team will deliver more than $30 worth of enjoyable content, and I’ve had a good time watching it grow. I like Rimworld, and if you like hardscrabble base-building colony management games with a penchant for creating good stories, I suspect that you will too.
Of course, if you’re willing to put up with staggering levels of complexity and detail, and with a learning curve like a cliff, you can always play Dwarf Fortress for free. I hear it can be played with non-ASCII graphics now, too.