Rime

Rime
 
 

Rime is one of those terribly non-descript games; plonking you in a highly contextualised world without much context. You’re a young boy who wakes in a semi-ethereal land and makes his way toward the visually dominating structure that intuitively shows you where to go (also called “weenies” in game design-talk). You’ll piece together the story of the mysterious island by interacting with unhelpful locals and questioning fallen buildings like an architectural critic. This is a game that’s happy to leave you wondering until the end with narrative blueballs.

Rime was originally conceived as an open-world, but was later culled to be more linear, which was probably for the best. Though you are stranded on a big beautiful island, I don’t think a sandbox would have improved what’s here. Open-world games, for all their scale, don’t usually achieve much with their freedom aside from providing more places to stand.

 
Ad FeedbackAdvertisement

You can’t go anywhere you want in Rime; most of the time you’re climbing the giant tower anyway. But the game feels big because I can see far into the distance; because while I can’t go to every spot, I can go to a few of them, and isn’t that why we create open-worlds, to give a sense of scale?

The mission design has you running from point A to B anyway. Unless more space is of benefit, you may as well cut out the middleman as Tequila Works have. Nor is there any kind of map. Rime lives in a subtler realm of game design. The closest thing to hand-holding is your supervising fox, whose beckoning barks and cries do little to aid navigation. He’s so physically insignificant and eager to rush through every section you normally don’t know where he is anyway.

Rime does have some great examples of how to show players where to intuitively. Like Uncharted or Tomb Raider, climbable ledges are painted a certain colour. The game doesn’t tell you this, you just learn. Neither do you have to look at a well-lit area and wonder whether you should go there - you know you’re meant to, and the game does this alot. And don’t forget the weenies. Collectively these make for a visually discerning game, so the player barely recognises they’re being led.

The richly-coloured style of Rime’s world is reminiscent of Overwatch. This is certainly not the bloom and overexposure I associate with the Unreal Engine. It’s a quasi-cartoonish aesthetic befitting of a game where you play as a kid.

The puzzles are based on neat ideas; perspective illusions, light/dark, and even time. They’re a few notches too far on the easy side, though I did come from Talos Principle to this, so maybe I’m over-prepared. Your character also spends an inordinate amount of time yelling at things. Activating trinkets, orbs, or buttons means raising your voice at them. Maybe he thinks that’s the best way to solve problems.

The game’s design does become considerably less motivated once you reach the penultimate chapter. Not because things necessarily slow down – if anything they ramp up. Rime has a story it wants to tell, one that’s poignant as hell, but it doesn’t have much to do with the gameplay surrounding it. So the puzzle wheels stop turning while the narrative ones go faster. By the end you’ll see how the story is what Rime was really interested in, and while I’m not unimpressed with its skills in the puzzle genre, I am very aware of the disconnect between these elements. The interactive parts felt like a means to an end, because Rime had a specific idea to share.

The story is so stirring in part due to the music. You know that line of thinking which says “the composer has done their job right if you don’t notice the music?” That person must have been awfully uninspired – because what a load of bollocks. Rime is not a game I’ll start evangelising, but I will remember the music. Picture the best moments of a Disney soundtrack, because Rime is like that all the time.

Rime is for those who appreciate Team Ico, That Game Company, Abzu, Never Alone, or any peaceful-minded game where emotion plays centre stage. Granted, it doesn’t have the same finesse, as the mechanics have little to do with anything else. The developers clearly had a story on their hearts, but didn’t sync it to the rest of the game. Subsequently the gameplay often feels like a reluctant participant to a particularly touching tale.


Ben received a digital copy of Rime from the developer for review.


Rime
"Journey on an island."
- Rime
7.0
Good
 
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 30 Min


 

Relevant Articles

 

Comments Comments (11)

 
Posted by czk51
On Wednesday 31 May 2017 11:45 AM
4
I played through this over the weekend and overall enjoyed it though had a few frustrations with certain puzzles where the answer was far less complex than what I was attempting. I deliberately stayed a narrow path to finish the story so's to leave more exploration for collectibles on a subsequent run. The last chapter and ending really resonated with me and it's something I'll remember for a long time. Might have even been someone cutting onions nearby.
 
 
 
Posted by WCMC13
On Wednesday 31 May 2017 1:20 PM
1
31 May 2017, 11:45 AM Reply to czk51
I played through this over the weekend and overall enjoyed it though had a few frustrations with certain puzzles where the answer was far less complex than what I was attempting. I deliberately stayed a narrow path to finish the story so's to leave more exploration for collectibles on a subsequent run. The last chapter and ending really resonated with me and it's something I'll remember for a long time. Might have even been someone cutting onions nearby.
I've been quite keen for this. Was it a particularly short game - if you managed to get through it in a weekend? Trying to decide if I jump in now or wait for it to end on sale at some point....
 
 
 
Posted by Benny
On Wednesday 31 May 2017 1:42 PM
2
It's about 6 hours, give-or-take a few hours looking for hidden stuff.
 
 
 
Posted by czk51
On Wednesday 31 May 2017 1:46 PM
2
31 May 2017, 01:20 PM Reply to WCMC13
I've been quite keen for this. Was it a particularly short game - if you managed to get through it in a weekend? Trying to decide if I jump in now or wait for it to end on sale at some point....
Yeah I'd say it took around 8 hours for me. I say weekend coz that was the majority of my play time but actually finished it Tuesday. I bought physical so that I can play through again then sell it on.
 
 
 
Posted by WCMC13
On Wednesday 31 May 2017 3:11 PM
-
31 May 2017, 01:46 PM Reply to czk51
Yeah I'd say it took around 8 hours for me. I say weekend coz that was the majority of my play time but actually finished it Tuesday. I bought physical so that I can play through again then sell it on.
Cool thanks for the heads up - might just hold off for the time being. Art style looks awesome tho!
 
 
 
Posted by Newsboy
On Thursday 1 Jun 2017 2:49 PM
1
"Rime is for those who appreciate Team Ico, That Game Company, Abzu, Never Alone, or any peaceful-minded game where emotion plays centre stage." Welp, I'm sold.
 
 
 
Posted by captain X nz
On Thursday 1 Jun 2017 8:50 PM
-
1 June 2017, 02:49 PM Reply to Newsboy
"Rime is for those who appreciate Team Ico, That Game Company, Abzu, Never Alone, or any peaceful-minded game where emotion plays centre stage." Welp, I'm sold.
You should be, right up your street mate.
 
 
 
Posted by Newsboy
On Thursday 1 Jun 2017 11:11 PM
1
1 June 2017, 08:50 PM Reply to captain X nz
You should be, right up your street mate.
I'll wait for the Switch version. :)
 
 
 
gspcdNZ
Posted by gspcdNZ
On Saturday 3 Jun 2017 10:41 PM
-
Ive been so out of the gaming news since my daughter was born... but the idea of a game of the Ico style, sounds good to me.
 
 
 
Posted by Nibblo
On Saturday 10 Jun 2017 12:32 PM
1
I played this last weekend and loved it. It is a million times better than Abzu which was kinda a nothing game, I would call it a mixture of Zelda and The Witness more than anything. Recommend it to anyone, the graphics and amazing music are top notch and the puzzles satisfying though nowhere near as difficult as The Witness they are more connected and fun to do. I almost overlooked this because of some ho hum reviews but am very glad I got it.
 
 
 
Posted by Wozza
On Thursday 13 Jul 2017 6:39 PM
1
Played through this the last couple of days. Two days of stormy weather on my days off so I really felt like a game I could lose myself in.

The art direction, concept, level design and music are amazing. I enjoyed the puzzles and how they were integrated into the landscape. I can see how the game got some average reviews though. If I was to review the game in the traditional manner, the gameplay and puzzles themselves aren't bad - but not a game changer.

Rating the game on how much I enjoyed it overall though, I'd rate it very highly. I wanted to keep playing to see what was around the next corner and was amazed with the games creativity. The game is simply beautiful.

I was actually expecting a great concept that was highly flawed, like Shadow of the Colossus - But the controls and camera here are great. You just have to enjoy a minimalist style and lose yourself to the experience,.