Rimworld (Game, 2018) – Review

Rimworld: Fantastic, until it isn’t.

This one is not easy because I did get some hundreds of hours of enjoyment out of playing Rimworld, but I just can’t recommend a game with such major, frustrating issues.

Performance

Medium to late game, when your base has grown a bit and you have some dozens of colonists and animals going about their day, as well as decent stockpiles of various materials lying around, not to mention years of history having been written, the game just slows to a crawl.

This simulation speed slowdown is mostly due to the game only using one thread, and it almost doesn’t matter what kind of specs your system has, if it’s at least from the last decade or so. Your game will slow down eventually, and it will ruin your enjoyment. It’s just not fun to need longer and longer to make any progress because x3 speed is now slower than what x1 used to be, while the framerate drops to 10fps or worse. It’s not fun to wait an hour instead of 10 minutes for your next building to finish.

And I don’t care how difficult it is to support hyperthreading in a simulation heavy game. I don’t care if it’s because the game records everything that ever happens. Knowing what causes the issue does not make the issue less frustrating. Knowing the team behind the game is small does not make the issues less frustrating or the game better.

I have now abandoned my last save game with more than 200 hours put in even though things were going well and I still had lots of plans, simply because I have run out of patience for the slowdown and things would only get worse. I won’t be starting a new one.

The budding dumpster fire that is this game’s performance

Mods

I know most people think it’s a good thing that a game is heavily moddable. For many it may be their favorite feature. Yes, I enjoy being able to mod a game as well, though it’s not exactly a priority for me.

The thing that bothers me is that Rimworld basically needs mods to be enjoyable at all. Hundreds of them. Dozens to fix the most severe mistakes or oversights of the base game, just to make things make sense, and the rest to add content, or “replayability”.

And if an update to the base game breaks one of the essential common sense mods like “Smarter food selection”, or in fact “Common Sense”, or worse, a mod that is necessary to load your save game at all, well, tough luck. Hope for the modder in question to eventually update the mod to work again, or start fresh without it. Yay.

I also prefer it when games are fun right out of the box, without spending hours to find the best or most necessary mods to be able to enjoy it.

Conclusion

Not Recommended

Rimworld would be a fantastic game and I would absolutely put up with all the mod issues if at least the performance wouldn’t make long/infinite games an exercise in frustration resilience training. If at some point hyperthreading support is added, I’ll pick up where I left off and change this review to Recommended.

PS: Yes, I know there’s a hyperthreading mod named Rimthreaded in the making (calling into question how difficult it really is to implement in the base game), but it is nowhere near ready/playable and leads right back to the modding issue. Things like this should be core. But I’ll probably try it once every other comment is not that it crashes the game.

 

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