RiME

PS4/Xbox One/Switch/Windows

€34.99 

Rime is Tequila Work’s third outing, the Spanish devs are largely known for their debút Deadlight – a post-apocalyptic survival-horror game unsurprisingly far removed from this review’s subject matter.

Rime is […] a twee, arty adventure-platformer with some mild puzzling

RiME intro
Like many adventures; it begins washed up on a shore and confused

The player wakes up as a nameless little boy on a beach. After a little scouting, it looks like we have to follow a fox and a mysterious shadow I have seen before. The plot reveals itself without any text or dialogue. Instead, Rime relies on pictograms, the architecture and some of the saddest cutscenes you will behold to tell its story. As our boy makes his way through Rime, we (very) slowly learn the true nature of our journey and the world in which our incredibly sad tale takes place.

RiME stages
Probably the least subtle part of the game: chapter titling
Halfway Between Art and Game

At first glance, Rime is a twee, arty adventure-puzzler but after a few minutes that illusion is shattered and the game reveals its true nature – a twee, arty adventure-platformer with some mild puzzling. Most of the game is spent shuttling our way through the beautiful, mysterious terrain frequently punctuated by almost insulting brain-ticklers. Rime doesn’t seem to want to challenge a player or else doesn’t know how.

Wall art RiME
The visual style, game art and overall presentation are superb

This vagueness will frustrate many while others will value the muted style of narrative and navigation

The art direction, visuals and how they are used to subtly tell a powerful story are excellent. The game has a way of tenderly manoeuvring a player where you are meant to be going; glowing lines, light & shadow, the cutesy fox companion, a stampede of helpful robots, etc. Player will find themselves lost from time to time due to the game’s lack of overt guidance.

This vagueness will frustrate many while others will value the muted style of narrative and navigation. One in which they are invited to explore and observe environmental cues. The living and breathing game-world is an explorer’s paradise with plenty of plot-enriching collectibles and plot-enriching non-collectible cave-esque art to reward the curious or the lost.

RiME wall art 2
The game rewards exploration with haunting, cryptic hints
Rime & Punishment

The puzzles are all variations on a very limited set of mechanics, all of which are industry staples

Rime has a few issues that spring from its love of subtlely, however. For instance, it takes a while to give a player a reason to do anything. Once you wake up on the beach, the sense of intrigue will take a player so far. Many players won’t care without being hooked on knowing the truth. Without any words whatsoever, the plot is simply too vague for most of its run-time. 

The puzzles are all variations on a very limited set of mechanics, all of which are industry staples. Weights, shadow casting, water raising and the odd balancing are basically all a player will do for half of Rime’s seven hour run-time while the other part is feeling a bit lost and easy platforming.

This is neither the first nor last time we do a puzzle like this…

For many, the initially indistinct raison d’etre, heavy use of symbolism and lack of challenge will be a huge issue. If you don’t buy into it, it will probably bore you. Rime may be beautiful, heart-breaking but it won’t make an interesting adventure for most gamers.

The game also suffers from a general lack of polish; an erratic frame-rate, some poor camera-work and occasional stutters during cut-scenes. On one such occasion, the game was looping at the end of a cut-scene – I just had to reload.

RiME bug
I watched this loop for several minutes before I realised it had just stalled 🙁
Can’t Escape Its Colossal Influences

Rime is a good game on its own merit but it’s always going to be compared to titles that fans of the genre are probably familiar with. The game simply isn’t as ground-breaking or fresh as it wants to be

RiME is a beautiful, poignant tale of loss

Rime is a good game on its own merit but it’s always going to be compared to titles that fans of the genre are probably familiar with. The game simply isn’t as ground-breaking or fresh as it wants to be. Ico, The Last Guardian and, to a lesser extent, Shadow of the Colossus and Journey offer most of what Rime has to give. The gorgeous and sparse atmosphere in which a tiny, language-impaired protagonist is whispered through a heart-rending tale seen in Rime is too perfectly in line with its influences.

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