My totally unsolicited review of RimWorld

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stratozyck
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14 Nov 2022, 7:21 pm

I am embarrassed to say I have nearly 1800 hours in RimWorld.

I am writing this to tell you I have a love/hate relationship with this game.

RimWorld is a top down RTS game where you try to build a colony in a "Rim World" populated by other humans and animals. It is billed as a story generator, and the appeal is each time you play it the story plays a different way. Or so it seems. I quit a lot of playthroughs because my character ends up as a dude living with his mom/dad in a mountain bunker.

The game is a giant time suck. It wastes your time unnecessarily as well. Of those 1800 hours in the game, I estimate I have probably spent 20% of it setting up a game.

For example, at the beginning it generates a map and you select a tile you want a colony on. You also then select colonists. But, the game narrows your selection so that if you want to change to a new selection its very time consuming. You have to hit "random" or sometimes you can go back and forth from that screen to get a new set.

The colonists it gives you - a lot of them are outright "yeah no one would play this colonist."

Yes - there are mods that you can save colonists for later and edit them - but with each major update the mods fail. Currently, the mod that allows you to save time on colonist selection does not work in the latest version and expansion pack.

What I am saying is that players of RimWorld often spend a LOT of time setting up a game. Its unnecessary and a deliberate decision by the developer to make it hard to select the colonists you want. The result is you end up hitting "randomize" a lot - many, many times. If you play on the "naked survivor" scenario (where you get one colonist without any gear instead of 3) you have to hit "randomize" a ton because the game gives you lots of colonists that would not survive long in that scenario. By the way, that scenario is easier I think because the mental load builds up instead of being a lot at once.

This is how I've noticed most of my playthroughs go:

You start, everything seems fine as you get started. The game throws events at you and you have to handle them.

You get used to the events, but then over time it will just throw events at you that are basically "end of game" events.

Like you will have a colony of 3 people with bows and arrows and the game will send you 2 sets of 3 guys with sub machine guns and grenades to attack your colony. Yes, its possible to defeat that if you are prepared but often the game gives you bouts of food poisoning where your entire colony can't do anything for a while. Seriously, the game LOVES to give you food poisoning and drive your characters bonkers (they go on "mental breaks") right as major stuff like that happens.

So often you get this feeling of "I worked so hard and some weird series of events occurred that basically made it moot."

Maybe thats life, but you also have to play the game a lot to figure out how the quirks of the rules. You can build turrets and they will defend you from "mad" animal attacks but not if an animal is hunting you. If you don't claim a door that appears on the map, animals can walk through it. There are a lot of things like that you often learn the hard way.

My second biggest complaint after the character selection is that the user interface is a little quirky. For example, when you right click on a character (they call them "pawns") to give it an order, the action menu comes up a little bit to the right of your mouse so you have to right click - move over - click. It seems like a small thing but its easy to miss the action item. A lot of actions only have once choice so the right click - move over - click thing could be replaced with simply "right click, click." Thats a 1/3rd less moving. It adds up especially if you are selecting a lot of things.

It also seems like the UI hitboxes for the buttons are a little off. You will go to the action menu to select to chop wood and select an entire area to chop and the game will seemingly ignore your order. I don't understand it, but I'd say about 20% of the time I go to give it an order I mess up the UI.

You could say its me - but I compare it to Factorio which has none of those UI issues. Factorio is about as perfect as a game gets, so maybe its unfair to compare to that game.

The game has expansion packs but honestly, I find them kindof pointless at best. The ideology expansion makes it more difficult to expand your colony because getting a prisoner of a different ideology is a pain. The latest one adds children to the game - which means a lot of the events you get are "would you like a 4 year old to join your colony?" Nope. It would be like 10 years in game for them to become useful.

Generally, the game is one of the most frustrating I've ever played - yet it is addictive in the story telling aspect is neat.

I would say that once there is a better mechanism for selecting colonists, its worth it. But as of now with that mod out of action, you will literally spend 20 minutes or more selecting colonists in a game that ends up lasting 30 minutes. I've had games where I spend 20 mins selecting a colonist only for the colonist to accidentally step on his own spike trap and die 10 minutes after starting.

On one hand, its cool that it can happen, but it would be a lot cooler if I spent less time selecting the colonist.

Again, mods fix that but the downside of having it fixed via mods is the mods stop working with every major update.

If you are going to buy it, I suggest forgoing the expansion packs. I don't think they add much value and in particular the biotech expansion adds pollution - and I hate pollution. Its a game mechanic I don't like. The toxic gas thing is cool (people build defensive death chambers) but these events that come up regarding pollution make the game worse, not better.

My view is that the base game + "prepare carefully" mod is a pretty good way to go. The game is great as a casual game that you don't need to commit to mentally. With Factorio, when I play that game its like "ok focus!" but I can play this game with other stuff going on.



Fnord
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14 Nov 2022, 7:43 pm

I did very well in RimWorld, and then I took an arrow to the knee.


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stratozyck
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14 Nov 2022, 8:27 pm

Fnord wrote:
I did very well in RimWorld, and then I took an arrow to the knee.


Did you choose the Greatbow (masterwork) over the glitterworld in your last event and now regret it?



Dox47
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28 Nov 2022, 3:33 am

I've tried that game multiple times because friends of mine rave about it, but it just never quite clicks with me for some reason, I'll probably try it again at some point.


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MergLocksprocket
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28 Nov 2022, 9:25 am

I would HIGHLY suggest checking out Kenshi if you like rimworld. They are in a similar vein. Kenshi very unforgiving so if you try would suggest save scum for first playthrough just till you get hang of it.

As for rimworld, I find myself doing themed playthroughs. Last time I made a torture chamber for my prisoners behind my air conditioning units so they were stuck in a sweltering hot room. The ones that didn't break ended up being harvested for their organs :skull:


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28 Nov 2022, 4:24 pm

stratozyck wrote:
I am embarrassed to say I have nearly 1800 hours in RimWorld.



Interesting name for a game. 8O


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stratozyck
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30 Nov 2022, 7:02 pm

Dox47 wrote:
I've tried that game multiple times because friends of mine rave about it, but it just never quite clicks with me for some reason, I'll probably try it again at some point.



Yeah Ive given up on it for now. Without the mod to make character selection easier it is a giant pain.

Yeah I know what you mean, I first returned it then bought it again much later.

It has a lot of annoyances in it but I do think it qualifies as a great game. However, it is the first game I've seen that the expansion packs can make the game more difficult. Like you will have a better time without them than with.



stratozyck
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30 Nov 2022, 7:04 pm

MergLocksprocket wrote:
I would HIGHLY suggest checking out Kenshi if you like rimworld. They are in a similar vein. Kenshi very unforgiving so if you try would suggest save scum for first playthrough just till you get hang of it.

As for rimworld, I find myself doing themed playthroughs. Last time I made a torture chamber for my prisoners behind my air conditioning units so they were stuck in a sweltering hot room. The ones that didn't break ended up being harvested for their organs :skull:


Hah see the way I play it is very narrow.

I like the character "Maker" and I like to play a naked survival challenge on 47 degree C tundra with large hills that has caves. The downside is since they updated the version the mod that makes it so you can save characters doesn't work.

The result is now if I want to play with "Maker," I have to cycle through a lot. Its not worth it for me.