I keep hearing about how amazing RimWorld is. If you spend any time reading about video games on the internet at all, it’s kind of hard to ignore the hype for RimWorld right now. But, for the longest time, I managed to avoid actually playing it. It definitely seemed like something I’d be into, but it also seemed like kind of a big commitment, so I was hesitant to start investing time into it.

But then, developer/publisher Double Eleven gave me a code for RimWorld Console Edition. This, of course, was their attempt at twisting my arm and getting me to play it to see what it’s all about. And it worked; I did play it. It turns out that both my assumptions were correct: RimWorld is totally something I’m into, and it’s also a pretty big commitment.

Not only is this game brutal, but the learning curve is pretty steep. It’s not insurmountable, by any means — plenty of regular folks have been able to climb that mountain and see the beauty that awaits on the other side. However, in the Console Edition, this learning curve is compounded by the fact that the game also has to acclimate you to using a controller.


In case you couldn’t tell from my introduction, I never actually played this on PC. So I’m forced to compare the Console Edition (which I played on PS5) with the imagined PC version in my head. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this probably feels incredible to play with a mouse and keyboard. I’m also willing to assume that playing this on console after having already played the PC version would probably smooth out that learning curve a whole lot. I don’t know this from experience, of course, but I strongly suspect this is the case.

The biggest issue is that everything important is buried in a submenu. You’ll use L2 to bring up your colony-management menus, and you’ll hold R2 to adjust the game speed. So you’ll get used to holding L2, then pressing whatever button opens the particular menu you’re interested in, then use the D-pad to navigate that particular menu. It’s not ideal, but it’s also not terrible. You’ll eventually have the button layouts memorized, at which point you’ll feel like you finally have some measure of control, but until you’ve invested a few hours, you’ll probably flounder a bit.

But once you get past the initial awkwardness (you should definitely do the tutorial if you’re jumping in somewhat blind), there’s a really complex, really satisfying game here. Seriously, RimWorld is incredible. Yes, it’s a game that’s filled with tragedy, but that’s kind of the point. RimWorld wants to make you feel overwhelmed right away, and as soon as you start feeling comfortable with it, it’s going to throw some curveball at you to mess everything up.

And, oh my god, the megaspiders…

RimWorld - Megaspiders

But don’t worry, it assures you. Your goal isn’t to survive. Not really. Your actual goal is to just see what stories emerge from your failures.

The first time I set up a colony, I ran the tutorial, which means I was forced into picking the location that the game wanted me to pick for the sake of learning how to play. I wasn’t in love with the starting area, so once I completed the main tutorial, I started a fresh colony. Only, I forgot that I needed to pick at least one colonist with some fighting skill and ended up with three pacifists. The very first time a raid happened, well, they just sat around while being shot and bludgeoned to death by enemy raiders.

Okay, so I started again, and this time I set up shop in a rain forest. There was an ancient temple that had fallen into disrepair, and I built my base around it, feeling confident I was making good choices.


But then, out of nowhere, a raider showed up and killed one of my colonists. Because of the emotional turmoil this caused, our pet Yorkshire terrier went completely bonkers and murdered the rest of the colony. RIP jungle temple. I hardly knew thee.

I also admit that “Rhinoceros Revenge” was not on my to-do list for that particular day, but I guess I should have penciled it in.


I made more attempts, and I managed to eek out an existence for just a little bit longer each time before some (usually absurd) disaster would strike to end it all. If you don’t get your defenses set up early enough, you can get demolished by an enemy raid. If you tarry too long on growing food, you’ll end up with your colony starving to death. If you do both of these things right, you might take in a group of refugees, only to have them literally stab you in the back so they can take all your stuff. Or, your pet chinchilla can just go mad and go for your jugular. Or, one of your colonists might suddenly develop a taste for cannibalism, or for setting things on fire.

Basically, playing RimWorld for any amount of time means you’ll be seeing screens like this a lot:


Yes, your colonists absolutely suck at staying alive, and you have to constantly be micromanaging them out of disaster. Or, you can just play this the way a psychopath twelve-year-old plays The Sims and just see how terrible you can make the lives of these digital people.

Either way, RimWorld is a hyper-addictive game that I can’t stop thinking about. While a controller isn’t exactly the ideal way to play this, it does work well enough to make the Console Edition worth your time. If you’re interested in RimWorld and don’t have a capable PC, I would definitely say to go for the Console Edition. If you do have a capable PC (as well as a comfortable PC gaming situation), I would recommend playing this on PC instead, as it was meant to be played.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for RimWorld Console Edition for PS4, which I played on PS5. The opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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