Going Medieval will be huge. I had an eye on it, but didn't expect it to land quite so well as it already has, and now that I've had time to try it out, hoboy. What a delight.
It is, in a word, the leading contender for the next Rimworld. I try not to be so reductive, but denying Rimworld's influence here is pointless. It has a less colourful setting but aside from that it copies pretty much everything. And that’s okay.
Going Medieval isn’t just a clone though. It's less punishingly difficult, for a start, doing away with the 'We're Doomed' feeling most of its peers inherited from Dwarf Fortress, and replacing it with a more pastoral, homely mood. It's more of a building game than a survival-based story generator. Even the raids I've fended off were low stress on the default settings. Of course, you can change those, and perhaps I've been lucky, and its early access period could change anything. I'm looking forward to the addition of trade and caravans, an area where Rimworld never quite gelled with my playstyle.
What is here, though, is... god, it's just plain lovely. My little people aren't all that interesting yet, I concede. The framework is there, with the near-standard mood system giving people +2 happies for eating some really nice ham but -9 because you haven't built the right shrine. There are character perks too, hence one of my farmers working while everyone sleeps, but their effects are muted so far. Probably this is deliberate while the devs work on new systems to upset/comfort them with.
But I don't even mind, because the home I'm building with them already feels special. It's hard to put my finger on why beyond an absence of frustration. I never once had to micromanage what a colonist was doing lest a farmer leave a tonne of berries to rot or a hunter get mauled to death by an angry squirrel. And there's an emphasis on making the village you want rather than whatever's necessary to skirt around random events. I love its Z-level system, an already robust one that encourages digging a cellar to preserve food, and ceiling beams over your new stockroom so you can add a staircase that leads up to... hey let's move the beds up there and build a workbench in the old hut. And then we'll plant some more flax and carrots, and build another smoker for the venison and ready a second still when the barley comes up. This is a small place now. But it's going to be huge.