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Iconic, 98% rated Steam colony sim reveals new horror themed expansion

One of the most beloved Steam colony sim management and strategy games is getting a horror expansion in Rimworld Anomaly, coming in April.

Rimworld Anomaly is a horror-themed DLC for the beloved Steam colony sim - A woman with brown hair wearing glasses. She holds a golden cube in one hand, smiling at you. Pink, fleshy tentacles can be seen rising up from behind her back.

When it comes to the most iconic colony sims and management-driven strategy games of all time, Rimworld is a name that always stands out. Alongside other classics such as Dwarf Fortress and Banished, Rimworld helped set the groundwork for more modern games including Oxygen Not Included, Frostpunk, and Surviving Mars. It still bears a staggering 98% Steam review score, making it one of the top-rated games on the Valve platform, and now developer Ludeon Studios announces a new horror-themed expansion, Rimworld Anomaly, that’s set to arrive in April.

Rimworld Anomaly will add “all manner of monstrous, mysterious, and maddening threats, containment facilities to capture and study dark entities, and a new reality-twisting endgame” to one of the best strategy games on Steam. It will launch alongside the also-vast Rimworld 1.5 update, itself 18 months in the making (and with a corresponding 18 pages of patch notes, according to Ludeon Studios).

“I wanted to give players new kinds of emotions they haven’t encountered before in Rimworld,” studio founder Tynan Sylvester explains. “I wanted to provoke new emotions – dread, psychological tension, suspicion, and mystery. The horror theme unlocks a new emotional landscape for us to explore. Plus I saw Cabin in the Woods and I thought the monster lab was awesome.”

Rimworld Anomaly expansion - Screenshot of the new DLCfeaturing blood-strewn research labs and a cult performing a ritual.

Sylvester says the team wants to avoid the update feeling just like “a collection of monsters to shoot at,” so instead “made sure to design the new threats to follow the arc of classic horror stories: The protagonists encounter a mystery, then realize it’s a threat, and try to survive while they learn more about it, slowly building advantage before they try to turn the tables. It’s a very Rimworld kind of chaos when several of these things are happening at once with different threats.

Other inspirations include The Thing, Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian mythos, and Hellraiser, Ludeon Studios says. You’ll have to deal with everything from curiosities and mysteries that bear further investigation to parasites capable of infiltrating your camp and world-twisting, sanity-shredding phenomena.

You might have to face some of your colonists being mind-controlled. Who could it be? They all seem to be doing their jobs normally. Or perhaps an “invisible hunter that feeds on human souls” terrorizes your community, and you’ll have to scrap with it each time it shows up to learn more about its physiology before you can fight back. Or maybe the community finds a beautiful golden cube – why wouldn’t you admire it, build statues of it, worship it, even love it? I’ll not spoil everything, though Ludeon offers even more examples if you’re curious.

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Free Rimworld update 1.5, meanwhile, is also packed with changes as noted above. There’s too much to list in one go, though look forward to readable books, two-person couches, wall and flood lights, the ability for injured colonists to crawl, waterborne mechanoid enemies, a bionic jaw prosthetic, a new disease causing organ decay, improved mining, the ability to clean entire dirty rooms at once, and all manner of additional UI tweaks and quality of life improvements. You can take a look through the full details and changelog courtesy of Ludeon Studios if you’re desperate for the finer details.

Rimworld Anomaly is set to release in mid-April. While Ludeon Studios doesn’t give an exact date, it says to expect the expansion’s arrival “in one month” alongside the Rimworld 1.5 update. You can visit the Anomaly Steam page to learn more and add it to your wishlist to receive a notification when it launches. You can also test Rimworld 1.5 right now by switching to the ‘unstable’ Steam branch from the betas tab of the game’s properties menu, although this doesn’t include any of the Anomaly content at the moment.

Until then, you can test your ability to run all manner of towns, facilities, teams and more with the best management games, or browse through the best indie games you need to play in 2024.

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