We've been playing hours and hours of Rimworld since we updated it with the Royalty expansion, and it still feels like we've got a long way still to go in terms of experiencing everything it has to offer. For the uninitiated, the base game is a sci-fi survival sandbox where you have to guide a colony of survivors through the highs and lows of living on a hostile alien world, including love, death, calamity, and the occasional curveball thrown by the game's AI director.
Royalty's focus is subtly disguised in the title. With the expansion activated, the game opens with a royal visitor on the run from an angry hamster (or something equally absurd). We have to put them up in our fledgeling colony for a short time, keeping them safe from angry rodents and the like, before a shuttle comes to take them away. Doing so nets you a new title for one of your colonists and handy new psychic powers, as well as introducing you to the new quest system that, over time, has you dealing with both angry mechanoids and regal guests while you also try and keep everyone alive and sane.
The colonist you designate as yeoman will soon develop a taste for the finer things in life, forcing you to up your game and snazzy up the place while driving your game in strange new directions. This includes the use of your new-fangled psychic powers, which come at a cost but can come in handy during raids and battles with the new mechanoid clusters. The eventual conclusion of this royal campaign is a new endgame where you get to leave the planet with your regal friends. Of course, most of your time will be spent on the day to day business of colony management, and RimWorld's complex simulation will continue to throw up plenty of eye-opening moments and cruel twists of fate.
The recent free update that landed alongside the paid expansion should make things more stable for content creators, which in turn should help the game's already vibrant modding scene grow further. There aren't many games where we'd outright recommend everyone check out the available mods, but there is so much cool community-driven content in there and some of the mods are borderline essential (we particularly like being able to tinker with our colonists' stats before we start a new game, and there are a bunch of interesting starting scenarios and lots of new in-game assets that will improve your base-building).
Ludeon has been supporting RimWorld since it left Early Access, and the Royalty expansion was a welcome excuse to dive back into one of our favourite strategy games. The new content puts a fresh spin on an already deep and engaging colony management sim, with the new royal theme bringing a bit more structure to a typical playthrough if that's something you're after. Most of all we're just pleased that the game continues to receive support, and the new mod-friendly features should mean even more meaningful player-made content will be layered on top of the fine work done by the development studio. Is it the most impactful expansion we've ever seen? Probably not. However, it's not criminally expensive, there's new music by Alistair Lindsay, and it appears to precede more diverse expansions and improved modding support. If you're still playing RimWorld, we think it's worth picking up.
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