RimWorld is such a unique gaming experience, especially when it comes to storytelling. The way that it simulates the entire game’s world and people down to their personality, traits, and goals allows for endless stories.
Throw that in with trying to keep them all alive in a colony on an alien planet, making sure they’re all satisfied – it can result in some hilarious (or tragic) scenarios. It is easily one of the best titles in the survival-simulation genre, and our list will help you find games like it.
From RimWorld-esque gameplay set in a fantastical Chinese-inspired world to even managing a kingdom of dwarves, this list has you covered. Here are the best 10 strategic games like RimWorld to check out today.
Available on PC (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux).
Let’s go back to the game that started it all. No ‘games like RimWorld’ article would be complete without Dwarf Fortress. It’s the grandfather of the genre, and it pioneered the style of gameplay!
To this day, it still offers the deepest gameplay mechanics and simulation of a world compared to any other game created. There’s a reason Dwarf Fortress has been reigning supreme since its release in 2006.
RimWorld takes a lot of inspiration from Dwarf Fortress, and was actually an attempt to make the gameplay more accessible. That alone should be all the reason you need to give Dwarf Fortress a shot.
If you enjoyed RimWorld for its emergent storytelling, Dwarf Fortress does it better. The simulation aspect is so complex, at one point all the cats in Dwarf Fortress were getting drunk! If your favorite part of RimWorld was the incredible and wacky stories that can happen – you’re in for a world of laughs and limitless enjoyment with Dwarf Fortress.
With that being said, Dwarf Fortress does have a steeper learning curve, but that makes it all the more rewarding. There are also plenty of guides online, and mods you can download.
As the title suggests, you’re building colonies of fortresses and dwarves. The game is also completely free! It won’t hurt your wallet to just download it and give it a try.
If you love the Viking, dark age theme that Dwarf Fortress has, we also recommend our games like Valheim list to see more.
Available on PC (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux).
UnReal World is a game that surprisingly predates even Dwarf Fortress. Whilst it isn’t a colony management game, it’s still part of the survival-simulator genre, and features roguelike elements.
It might seem out of place in an article recommending games similar to RimWorld, but trust me. UnReal World is also about surviving a harsh world with realistic conditions.
UnReal World is very one-of-a-kind, I’ve never played anything like it. It’s completely free to play, it won’t cost anything to give it a shot – and the survival elements are great if you’re coming over from RimWorld.
It features a lot of the ideas and themes RimWorld offers, it just explores them in different ways. Instead of controlling an entire colony, you’re just a lone survivor.
With that being said, UnReal World probably offers even more depth than RimWorld does in terms of interaction with surroundings, simulating the world, and storytelling opportunities.
The game is set in the Ancient North, inspired by a fictional Iron Age Finland. It’s low-fantasy, and the world is procedurally generated. No two play-throughs will be the same! It’s a huge change from the sci-fi setting found in RimWorld, but you’ll find a sense of familiarity in UnReal World. From the controls, user interface and emergent storytelling.
There’s also a wide range of variety in play style and narrative. Want to be a fisherman? Or maybe a hermit trying to find peace and seclude. Or maybe a tradesman? Or a hunter providing for their family? You can build your own story from scratch.
If you’re on the hunt for more games like RimWorld, you’ll love this game.
Available on PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, iOS, Android.
Prison Architect feels like RimWorld with a tighter vision in terms of gameplay and scope. Instead of managing a whole colony on a massive planet, you’re just running a prison.
As the title suggests, you’re an architect for a prison! You’ll design and create your own personalized penitentiary. You’ll be in charge of managing everything, right down to funds, doctors, lawyers, guards, security, and most importantly – the prisoners.
Something you’ll love coming from RimWorld is that in Prison Architect, every prisoner has their own personality and story to tell. You can’t help but love for them, and laugh (or cry) at the events that unfold! It’s a very immersive part of the game.
The game also has plenty of different modes. Whether you want to go crazy building in a sandbox mode, test out other players’ prisons, or even play with friends. That’s right – friends! The game has co-op.
The chaos of prisoners breaking out, stabbing each other in showers, forming gangs, Prisoner Architect has it all.
Best of all, the user interface and controls are a bit more intuitive than RimWorld. You’ll feel like a pro in no time, setting up walls, building new rooms, and setting up the circuits. The learning curve is smaller, which means you jump right into the fun.
Games like Prison Architect are ideal for fans of games like RimWorld. Prison Architect is intricate, immersive, and very challenging in places.
Available on PC.
Picture this. Let’s take RimWorld, but send it thousands of years in the past. Done are the days in space. Instead, you play as a medieval feudal lord, trying to manage your village.
That’s how you get First Feudal! The aim of the game is to grow your village into a mighty castle. You’ll have to defend it off against enemy attackers, manage farms, and keep your villagers happy.
If you enjoyed the strategic gameplay of RimWorld, First Feudal goes full force with it. Surviving the seasons is just as brutal, and you’ll need to put proper thought into your castle designs.
At the same time, you’ll need to manage mining resources, researching new equipment to ensure your survival, trading, and managing your peasants.
The medieval setting is a nice breath of fresh air, and great if you want a break away from RimWorld’s space aesthetic.
The game also has a huge tech tree, and the combat is fairly engaging. The controls and user interface are pretty easy to learn, too. A breeze if you’re coming from the complexities of Dwarf Fortress or RimWorld.
If you’re looking for more titles set in the medieval era, check out our games like Kingdom Come: Deliverance list to find more! There’s plenty of them.
Available on PC (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux).
We’ve been designing prisons, surviving the harsh reality of a fictionalized Iron Age Finland, and managing dwarves in a fortress. What’s next for experiences like RimWorld? Designing your own automated factory.
If you want a game that focuses more on the crafting and building aspect of RimWorld, Factorio is perfect for you. It’s beautifully intricate.
The main goal of Factorio is to just build automated – you guessed it, factories! You’ll be building infrastructure, mining ore, researching new technologies, all whilst fending off enemies.
If you ever wanted to create a massive machine empire in RimWorld, you can live out that dream in this game instead! Factorio also has multiplayer support, and a huge modding scene.
The game also has multiple modes – including freeplay and scenarios. Freeplay is the core gameplay, where you’re free building. Whilst scenarios will have you design factories under specific challenges.
Available on PC.
What if you were the RimWorld AI Storyteller? Ruinarch takes this premise and drives it to the extreme.
If you ever wondered what it’d be like playing RimWorld from the other perspective, this is it. Ruinarch describes itself as an ‘evil overlord simulator’, with a focus on creating fun stories and starting chaos.
From summoning town-destroying meteors to starting a zombie plague, there’s a wide range of variety in Ruinarch. You can tear colonies apart with rumors, turn them into cultists, or even kick-start the apocalypse.
If you’ve ever been frustrated with your colonies in RimWorld, this is the perfect way to take your frustration out. Don’t worry, the game also has an end goal! The aim of Ruinarch is to slowly build up your “evil” portal, and eventually summon yourself to wreak havoc. The game’s world is also procedurally generated. No two colonies are the same!
What are you waiting for? Get ready to play as an (evil) God, sending out your minions to cause destruction, and shoot down curses. It’s one of the best games like RimWorld with a unique perspective, and it’s worth checking out.
Amazing Cultivation Simulator
Available on PC.
Amazing Cultivation Simulator is probably one of my favorite games ever. As a game like RimWorld, it features a lot of polish and a fascinating setting.
This game takes inspiration from Chinese mythology, and instead of a colony, you’ll be trying to bring your Taiyi Sect monastery back to its glory days. This is done through training new apprentices in your Sect, commercial trading, and even building up political alliances.
Along with heavy inspiration from RimWorld, this game also draws on Dwarf Fortress. It also pulls heavily from the xianxia genre, which has roots in Chinese folklore, Taoism and Buddhism.
This game is perfect if you want RimWorld with a more fantastical spin on it. The game will have you fighting off against evil spirits, and finding ancient artifacts, all inspired by Chinese mythology.
The maps for the Amazing Cultivation Simulator are also randomly generated each time – making every playthrough unique. It’s also a great way to learn about Chinese myths and legends! Whilst the game is also extremely accessible, especially when compared to RimWorld, it also has plenty of depth and complexities in its systems.
Available on PC.
This Colony Sim is a must-have for any fan of RimWorld that wants to see the world in glorious 3D, and it’s also set in the medieval era! It’s one of the best medieval games on Steam.
It’s the end of the 14th century, the plague has wiped out the majority of humanity, and the dark age is on its knees. It’s up to you to help bring humanity back from the brink.
Going Medieval will have you in charge of growing a new settlement in this new post-plague lawless land. You’ll need to protect your colony, collect resources, all whilst managing supplies and raids.
The game also has a huge focus on building with a ton of 3D design tools at your disposal. If you ever wished for an experience similar to RimWorld with Sims-like building, this is it! It allows for more creativity, and there’s just something so novel about being able to explore the castle and buildings you create in 3D. It puts a smile on my face every time.
This also allows the game to have multi-level buildings, which literally adds another whole layer to the experience.
Just like RimWorld, every villager also has their own story and history. You’ll get to see friendships forged and grow, or even fall apart. Try your best to balance their needs, and keep them happy.
Maybe one of your villages gets a bit too happy with drinking, and causes a ruckus? Or maybe you end up with a cannibal that wants to be a chef? Whatever happens, enjoy surviving the Medieval Era! It’s a lot of fun.
Available on PC, PS4, Xbox, Mac OS X, iOS, Android.
Frostpunk was a surprise hit when it first launched, and since then has received dozens of updates as well as a sequel. It’s a must-play if you want a strategy, colony-based game like Rimworld. Along with the gorgeous visuals, intense survival gameplay, it’s an essential for any colony sim player.
Frostpunk is set in a world that has been entirely frozen over, and is set during an alternate-history, steampunk era. You have to manage a society, and keep them satisfied whilst fighting off the harsh cold and maintaining your resources.
You’ll face with hard decisions – from child labor, to forcing people to work longer hours. Survival comes at a cost. The game really makes you feel the weight of every choice, and stress of every survivor you’re managing.
Frostpunk comes from the same devs as This War of Mine, so you know they’re good at tugging at emotional heartstrings.
The game also allows a lot of freedom with how the player manages their colonies. Do you want to rule through fear? What about love and nurture?
Frostpunk also masterfully crafts its atmosphere. From the visual style, to the tense atmosphere, the game is incredibly immersive. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat in a way no other game like RimWorld does.
Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead
Available on PC, Android.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead is one of the best survival games like Rimworld. Whilst it isn’t a colony simulator, it really plays into the harsh realism aspect.
You play as a survivor in a world where civilization is long dead. The game has a steep learning curve, similar to RimWorld and Dwarf Fortress, but the depth and payoff are incredible.
The game will have you scavenging for food, equipment, and anything else you might need to survive the apocalypse. You’ll be put up against zombies, giant insects, and even killer robots.
Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead is free, and also has a huge modding scene. The game also has plenty in the way of customization, which allows you to tweak the game to fit your playstyle.
In terms of emergent storytelling, Dark Days Ahead is definitely up there with RimWorld for creating unique, engaging narratives. No two playthroughs are the same!
I’d throw Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead in with UnReal World and Dwarf Fortress. They are games that have been running for years and really pioneered the simulation-survival genre. Even if it’s just for historic value, they’re worth checking out.