What happens when you mix in a puzzle platformer with the look and feel of Wind Waker and the atmosphere and stylised graphics of Journey and The Last Guardian? You get RiME. Made by the studio Tequila Works, this new release falls under the adventure puzzle platforming category. And considering their history with weird but fun games, this one is not a big surprise.
Made with the Unreal Engine, this title has been released on all 3 of the major platforms i.e. on PC, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Priced only at $29.99 at release, the question you are probably asking is whether or not it is worth a buy? That is exactly what you are about to find out.
At first glance, Rime has a lot of similarities to some recent indie titles like FirewatJourney ch, and even the well coveted The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. It is stylised to suit the needs of the universe it is based on and at times, it is capable of looking like something straight out of a children’s colouring book. And for a game that is meant to be atmospheric and plain fun, that is okay.
Having cartoonish graphics is never a bad thing though. As mentioned before, it has been made on the Unreal Engine and that consistently shows throughout the entire experience. The sea water glistens every time sunlight falls on it, the grass sways to and fro with the direction of the wind, the shiny reflections on the metal objects look exactly like they should and so on.
Whether it’s you diving deep into a cave to find the remains of an ancient civilisation or running out in the open under the sun with lush green fields lying beneath your feet, everything feels organic. The experience created by the design of the graphics is something that will pull you in inside of this world from the very start making it an immersive experience.
Sound and Music
The sound design is also second to none. Everything is perfectly placed all around; the clattering of two objects colliding, the thud of your feet hitting the floor, the splash in a pool of water and so on. The only small complaint I had regarding this game is with the sound of the footsteps. No matter where I stepped on, it never seemed to hit the sweet spot. However, that is only a small issue which takes nothing away from the overall experience.
Apart from the SFX, the musical score in the background is also top notch. The use of stringed instruments is gorgeous from start to finish. While none of the music is too dark or depressing, it creates this sense of eeriness and melancholy that perfectly matches the tone of the game. After all, you play as a child lost in a world which has a seemingly endless number of secrets to unlock.
The score of violins is also backed up by piano solos from time to time and boy do they complement each other so well. The use of post processing to create a game drooling with ambience is truly impressive and is something on par with the likes of Horizon also released this year just a few months ago. There is no voice acting, so let’s just skip that part.
Now we move on to the part of the game which is most important for anyone. As mentioned several times before, RiME is an adventure puzzle platformer. As such, this is not the first title to delve deep into this genre nor is it the revolutionary in this particular department. However, whatever it tries to do, it achieves with near perfection.
There is no real story to this game: You find yourself waking up on a shore and setting out to explore every inch of the land laid out before you. And that’s pretty much it. The game lets you craft your unique story from there on in, and that is where the fun lies.
The overall gameplay mechanism is also pretty simplistic with only the movement buttons, a jumping button and an interaction button mapped out. But that’s pretty much all you need considering you are either exploring the environment or solving puzzles. And there’s a lot of them while I’m at it, all placed at suitable, proper distances to make sure it does not get monotonous.
The difficulty of these puzzles isn’t that hard either. So if you are a hardcore puzzle solver, you may find it disappointing. However, for a game whose focus is set on exploration, it is understandable. Dying is also not that big deal in this game because the checkpoint system used is pretty forgiving in nature and you will have no problem beating the game. Overall, the game lasts around 6-7 hours in total.
- Breathtaking graphics
- Excellent soundtrack and sound design
- Simple gameplay which is still fun
- Exploration is well crafted
- Controls need to be tighter at places
- Story is a bit too short
Overall, Rime provides us with more of what previous titles like Journey and Ico have tried to give us. And that is never a bad thing. It takes some cues from it and builds upon all of that with its ideas. While not completely revolutionary in any way, it still feels fresh and is something which will last with you long after you have beaten it.
That brings us to the final verdict for this game. For someone like me who enjoys such atmospheric games which let the environment tell the story, Rime was a joy to play through. I enjoyed every single aspect of this game from start to finish: the gorgeous visuals, melancholic background music and the thought provoking puzzles. To put it short, Rime for me deserves an 8/10. A must buy if you are a fan of the adventure exploration genre.