Ludeon Studios’ RimWorld is quite the household name and is probably one of the biggest smash hits in the logistics subgenre of strategy gaming in recent memory. Its popularity and warm reception likened it to Subset Games’ FTL and how it took indie roguelike strategy gaming by storm in the early 2010s.
Unlike FTL, however, RimWorld’s impact on game development hasn’t fully realized quite yet, with only a few games taking direct inspiration from this modern landmark. There are plenty of games that take management strategy gaming in their own direction, while still capturing some of RimWorld’s spirit. So if you’re hungry for more crazy emergent storytelling and freedom of action, we got you covered with a list of games similar to Ludeon Studios’ masterpiece, with a one entry per series limit.
Games Like RimWorld
Developer: Wube Software Ltd.
Publisher: Wube Software Ltd.
RimWorld is known for its exhaustive freedom, where players can take their nascent sci-fi colony in any sort of direction – whatever your heart desires. Unfortunately, it’s a single-player experience where you can’t actively share in the colony management shenanigans and coordinate your efforts, but Factorio has you covered in spades with its multiplayer take on logistics games – a rarity in these types of games.
Factorio isn’t as open-ended as RimWorld in that the player and their comrades are tasked with extracting resources, building refineries, and establishing supply lines all the while fending off aggressive wildlife irritated by your intrusion. There’s a clearer set of goals and central gameplay loop within Factorio to focus the gameplay to a greater degree on problem-solving than on role-playing or finding your own unique path to establishing a functioning colony.
The massive multiplayer mode is the selling point of Factorio where you can easily invite hundreds of players into a session and communally work together to extract the world’s resources. For players looking for a communal and goal-oriented logistics game, Factorio will be right up your alley.
9. Cities: Skylines
Developer: Colossal Order, Tantalus Media
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
For something more open-ended, you can’t go wrong for one of the most prominent current city builder games on the market – Cities: Skylines. Setting-wise, this game has little to do with RimWorld, but the freedom it gives you in approaching city development is where Cities: Skylines captures that RimWorld spirit.
Cities: Skylines only has a loose set of goals and progression system, all mostly geared to incentivize the player to make a modern city of their dreams. It also helps that the game includes a wide range of maps with varying types of terrain and environments to really challenge the urban designer in each of us. The massive and flexibly-integrated modding scene also provides countless options for city design.
Colossal Order’s flagpole city builder title may stay away from RimWorld’s character-centric gameplay, RimWorld still has plenty of structure planning and development that makes it closer to Cities: Skylines than you’d initially think. If you’re more into the hustle and bustle of cities and taking care of people on a large scale, definitely give Cities: Skylines a look.
8. Evil Genius 2
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Publisher: Rebellion Developments
Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
RimWorld is so open-ended in its gameplay that players can easily role-play as a super villain building a secret base on a faraway planet. The precursor to such an ambitious venture is definitely Rebellion’s Evil Genius 2 where players take the role of a James Bond-esque supervillain with the goal of bending the world to your very evil will.
Like Cities: Skylines, Evil Genius 2 focuses more on the construction and management of a secret lair with rooms full of gadgets, dastardly devices, and hordes of gold and artifacts. Characters, such as henchmen and pesky superagents do play a role, but they act more like powerful means to an end rather than the center of attention. Everything in Evil Genius 2 is quite goal-oriented and you’ll be spending plenty of time finding the most efficient layouts and positions for your essential rooms.
One of the biggest selling points of Evil Genius 2 is the tower defense-style trap construction and placement, where you can create hallways of doom where even the most experienced agents will struggle to get through. Also, if you thought RimWorld had a sense of humor, it’s close to guaranteed that the writing and Despicable Me-inspired art style will entice you to do your villainous schemes with a big evil smile on your face.
7. Two Point Hospital
Developer: Two Point Studios
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Let’s say you’re more into saving people and harvesting their organs for the greater good of the community. Two Point Hospital will probably scratch that itch, just take care not to scratch that itch with a scalpel.
Two Point Hospital has players act as CEO of a medical company, trying their best to care for the community across a great many environments, including nuclear power plants, areas rattled by earthquakes, and hospitals where someone forgot to install the heating. Safe to say there will be plenty of challenges from the physical geography, as well as an increasingly diverse array of diseases requiring specialized equipment and machines to deal with. Unlike Evil Genius 2 where your minions are a means to an end, the staff, their well-being, and skills are quite integral to the success of your medical operation in Two Point Hospital.
Of course, the matters of health in Two Point Hospital and colony survival in RimWorld can be quite grisly, both share a sense of humor in their writing and aesthetics to lighten the mood. As a model of service management and caring for people, Two Point Hospital is a great experience.
6. This War of Mine
Developer: 11 Bit Studios, Crunching Koalas
Publisher: 11 Bit Studios
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Android, iOS
There’s little in the world that’s as grizzly and horrific as war, especially in its effects on regular people, civilians, and non-combatants physically, psychologically, and emotionally. While RimWorld purposefully creates a playground for endless emergent story-telling ranging from the hilarious to the absurd, This War of Mine asks players to zero in on the lives of just a few in their effort to survive through a war.
The central gameplay dynamic of this innovative simulation wargame is survival, which on a thematic level at least compares to RimWorld’s sci-fi colony management design that includes plenty of survival. However, characters in RimWorld can at times feel like guinea pigs with minimal personality, whereas 11 Bit Studios puts people, their well-being, their health, and their thoughts front-and-center, which can also lead to plenty of emergent, albeit harrowing, storytelling moments, as you struggle to keep them alive and well.
This War of Mine is also worth checking out for its simple, yet effective aesthetic style that encapsulates the despair and uncertainty a war brings to the populace. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, This War of Mine is one of the best grounded counterpart management experiences to RimWorld that’s worth playing through at least once.
5. Oxygen Not Included
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
Oxygen Not Included is definitely more directly in line with RimWorld’s setting with its management and sci-fi colony survival. Oxygen Not Included takes the Factorio approach in its game design, where players have a pretty clear goal of establishing a functioning colony and tame the land to the best of their ability to keep the colonists happy and alive.
RimWorld challenges the player with its open-endedness, reflecting the disorientation and uncertainty a brand new colony faces. Klei’s game instead brings a high level of challenge in the intricate balance of resources needed to sustain a colony. In addition, getting sufficient resources is quite the hassle in Oxygen Not Included, as the player must manage waste levels and consider the innovative vertical geography system that can really bend the mind.
Klei Entertainment follows in RimWorld’s footsteps in doing its best to disarm the player with a cutesy and silly art style, which doesn’t at all reflect the mindwracking task players will be wading into. Luckily for Oxygen Not Included, the devs found just the right amount of difficulty without it becoming prohibitively frustrating and instead maintains a highly addictive gameplay loop and is totally worth the investment.
4. Prison Architect
Developer: Introversion Software, Double Eleven, Tag Games
Publisher: Paradox Interactive, Introversion Software, Double Eleven
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Android
Prison Architect, at its core, is essentially RimWorld, but for a prison system. The similarity between these games can even be seen in the animations and graphics of the individual characters and their movements.
Crucially, Prison Architect is a near-limitless sandbox, giving players all the tools necessary to create a functioning prison. This initial premise may seem static or lacking in any sort of challenge, but this is where the game’s flexible customization system comes in, which lets aspiring wardens tailor the experience to their liking or try some extreme scenarios to really test their management skills.
The flexible scenario customization system is also at the crux of Prison Architect’s storytelling potential, perhaps not to the same potential crazy degree as RimWorld, though plenty broad-ranging to capture its spirit. RimWorld can be a bit overwhelming with its setting and random event generator, so Prison Architect is an excellent starting point for such expansive management games.
3. First Feudal
Developer: Harpoon Games, Holistic Games
Publisher: Harpoon Games, Holistic Games
Following in the footsteps of Prison Architect, First Feudal is basically RimWorld, but set in a medieval-esque world. The lack of fancy technology or modern equipment altogether makes First Feudal a unique management experience, as you make due with more primitive analog tools.
RimWorld can of course include plenty of combat encounters in its random events, but that’s not really at the center of the survival aspect of the game. Since First Feudal is trying to capture the authentic Medieval European survival experience, combat, or at least the threat of it, from raiders, brigands, and other ambitious lords is more prevalent and provides a fresh twist on colony management.
Unfortunately, First Feudal doesn’t quite have as good a presentation as either RimWorld or Prison Architect, though neither are contenders for best graphics. Nevertheless, First Feudal’s gameplay and great choice of setting offers plenty for players to mull around with to become a powerful feudal lord.
2. Amazing Cultivation Simulator
Developer: GSQ Games
Publisher: Camera Game
Now, if you thought RimWorld was intimidating and overwhelming with its open-ended sandbox nature, then let us introduce you to Amazing Cultivation Simulator. On paper, it’s supposed to be a martial arts school manager, but the game’s complexity belies its true nature.
Perhaps Amazing Cultivation Simulator’s highlight feature is just how complex it is, not just in the depth of the management systems, but in the actions and procedures players have to follow just to reach seemingly minor objectives. It’s a great game for number crunchers and all things absurd and fantastical as the vast number of gameplay interactions and systems will leave you both in awe and dumbfounded.
It’s safe to say that this game is quite dense with a steep learning curve, which may dilute its awesome story-telling potential, as you’ll be busy trying to figure out all the interwoven systems rather than experiencing the life of your followers. If RimWorld’s endless possibilities haven’t sated your appetite for the novel and the unexpected, Amazing Cultivation Simulator should be right up your alley.
1. Democracy 4
Developer: Positech Games, Stagazy Studios
Publisher: Positech Games
Platform(s): PC, macOS
The most intense settings of RimWorld’s random event generator can certainly be an acquired taste, due to its unpredictability and absurdity, but just like with any logistics game there are always numbers and logical pathways at play that can inform your management approach. Democracy 4 is the ultimate numbers-focused or spreadsheet-style management game, as you’ll be busy tracking numbers and relationships through abstract representation rather than direct interaction with characters.
This doesn’t mean Democracy 4 lacks any sort of spirit. Depending on the player’s actions as a political leader and their experimentation with different policies, you can certainly create some strange political situations that lead to story worthy material. Aside from the political theme, Democracy 4 stands apart from many logistics games, including RimWorld, in its portrayal of limited action bandwidth or in other words that leaders will always have a limited amount of attention to address all issues.
This approach makes each decision and choice all the more vital, as these policy changes are themselves a limited resource in that there may be a thousand problems to solve, but you can only really affect a small percentage of them at any given moment. It may abstract characters into certain stakeholder groups and focus more on numbers and graphs, Democracy 4 is a great political management game to check out if you’re looking for more politics in your RimWorld.
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