RimWorld Console Edition Review: welcome to our world(s)
RimWorld is one of those games that you’re going to either love intensely or can’t get into for one of two reasons — you don’t like this genre, or you don’t like this art style. There’s really no in between, but, surprisingly, both of the barriers to getting into the game can arguably be overcome by simply trying it out. In fact, your odds of ultimately enjoying the title are pretty good — at least, the 114,000+ players who gave the game a positive rating on Steam would argue that, its Overwhelmingly Positive title ridiculously well-earned.
But what’s that? You don’t have a PC, so you can’t give RimWorld a go? Well, you’re in luck — thanks to Double Eleven (Prison Architect Console Edition, Rust Console Edition), RimWorld Console Edition has just graced XBox and PlayStation, so pack those bags and get ready to rough it on the outskirts of the known universe.
To quickly sum, RimWorld is a “sci-fi colony sim driven by an intelligent AI storyteller,” which is a fun way of saying it’s a space colony sim with varying levels of emergent storyline that progresses through gameplay. After choosing between three storytellers (difficulties) and setting up the basics of the desired world map (lush, barren, frozen, etc.), players will take control of three accidental colonists who have suddenly found themselves alone on an isolated planet. Although the ideal goal is to get back home, players are truly free to choose how to play the game and tell this world’s story. Sure, RimWorld may look and feel like Prison Architect, The Survivalists, or Honey, I Joined A Cult at first glance, but the truth is it’s more like the ultimate rogue-like/sandbox version of the entire genre.
For example, it’s pretty clear that you’re going to want to survive out in this strange wilderness, but how that happens is largely up to you… well, no, that’s not entirely true. In truth, it’s mostly up to how you react to increasingly difficult situations and how much luck is on your side. You could be living your best settlement life out in your cultivated corner of the universe when, suddenly, a roving band of raiders or herd of insects attack. You can do your best to fend them off, but life is often nasty, brutish, and short in these colonies, and you’ll be lucky if you walk away with just a scratch — especially at the beginning.
In fact, it’s this wild kind of emergent storytelling that keeps players coming back time and time again. RimWorld gives just enough information regarding the world and its inhabitants to allow players to come up with their own stories and lives. The colonists have differing backgrounds, body types, skillsets, and relationships to each other, so setting a variety of them loose into this brand new world presents a seemingly infinite number of ways for their stories to play out. If you have small issues here and there with the game or you’re not a huge fan of the art style, it’s the enormous potential for storytelling that is bound to win you over.
When it comes to RimWorld Console Edition, I will say that the developers did an amazing job taking a game that plays much, much better on PC and optimizing it for consoles. The controls are a bit fiddly at first but they’re much better than they could have been; in fact, after an hour or two of gameplay and it’s as intuitive as can be. I only have one complaint, if I’m honest, but in my opinion it’s not minor — text size. I have worn glasses since kindergarten, so if a game has tiny text I struggle to be able to play. It’s one thing if it’s on PC or Switch because I can usually optimize or hold it close to my face; with the PS5, it seemed like my only option was to sit close to my TV as if I had a wired controller. I understand not everyone will have the same struggles as I do, but for the bespectacled crowd, this was absolutely a point of frustration me, easily making the PC version the far superior version (and that’s not even mentioning the mods!).
RimWorld Console Edition is a fantastic addition to anyone’s game library, regardless of whether or not they’ve played the PC version. When the only criticism of the game is that it doesn’t go on sale very often, you know you have an absolute winner on your hands. I wish I could have seen all the text better without having to scoot so close to my TV, but the fact that it’s my only complaint in an otherwise addicting and enjoyable experience speaks volumes. If you’re looking for a game that breaks expectations in terms of depth and discovery, RimWorld Console Edition will sate that storytelling hunger.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC, XBox One, XBox Series X|S, PS4, PS5 (reviewed); Publisher: Double Eleven; Developer: Double Eleven; Players: 1; Released: July 29, 2022; MSRP: $29.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a digital copy of RimWorld Console Edition provided by the publisher.