We gamers are an emotional bunch, aren’t we? I have found myself tearing up at some of gaming’s most famous polygons dealing with loss and endearing situations. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons had me tearing up at the heartbreaking finale and I can’t be the only one as more games like it have arrived. From the same guys who brought you Deadlight and The Sexy Brutale have developed a beautiful looking game that’s emotionally driven with a compelling narrative. Can Rime be this year’s biggest heartbreaker for all the right reasons?
Rime centers on the tale of a young boy who’s been washed up on a strange island. We have no time, location or even a name for our young protagonist and Rime does well to keep its many secrets alluring. Playing as the young boy, you’ll have to explore the island which leads to venturing into strange new worlds that center on different emotional states. Within these beautifully crafted worlds are vastly engrossing challenges both lateral and physical, progressing higher in complexity while revealing more on what brings our young hero to this strange.
Rime is simple in nature making it easy to understand how the world functions and what purpose the core mechanics have in play. Everything is communicated visually with very little information presented in text form, so feedback such as guides or tips are absent allowing players to figure out for themselves what to do and how to do it in total freedom. Everything from exploration and puzzle solving is encouraged through visual aids such as color variation, sound and framing various focal points. It’s really up to players to go and explore, figuring out the complexity to each world and understand what makes them tick. This could be from discovering statues that can be interacted with by signing or being alerted to the attack of a giant flying creature from its roar getting louder and louder before the attack.
This is what impressed me most about Rime, it’s compelling nature and how well the game teaches you everything you need to know without forceful guides or annoying tips. It’s very rare to see a game genuinely never hold your hand but at the same time guide you without you really knowing it. This can be both extremely beneficial to Rime’s intelligent nature but also what breaks it down in some respects when it comes to the lateral gameplay. In early stages of Rime, puzzles can be rather simplistic, to a degree where it’s slightly annoying.
Not to say there’s no creativity behind their designs as they can be visually interesting. But rather they feel shallow, more of a brief interruption to a beautiful journey. It’s only until much later where the puzzles start to form more structure and actually require more brain power to solve than just turn a dial and wait for a reaction and a result. There are some truly staggering moments of platforming that incorporates intensity, danger and lateral elements fluently well. The second act provided the most variation in gameplay styles including the main focus of avoiding a giant griffin helps set up a tension-filled segment of cat and mouse.
Rime hosts beautiful worlds, each with a distinct theme and visual style that grabs your attention and engrosses you completely. Each world not only presents its own form of beauty but also introduces new elements to the story, with many discoveries adding to a wonderful lore. There’s a haunting and lonesome vibe to the worlds you explore, each with a tale to tell. Through visual aids and small encounters, you gather a sense of a complex universe that’s rich in history and substance. From viewing a broken landscape of decaying ruins to escaping a labyrinth covered in black rain, everything about each world you visit copulates your attention from the get-go.
There’s more to Rime than just exploring as players will indeed confront antagonizing forces that’ll do everything to stop your journey. The most sinister being the shadowy figures that’ll drain the very life from you. These foes can be combated with a neat trick involving smashing orbs of light that burn away the darkness. This aspect of gameplay blends into both lateral and combat aspects of the game, changing the pace and breaking away from the plentiful walking you’ll be doing. Plus it creates a great moment of satisfaction when you see these freaky cloaked figures vanish within the bright light.
Throughout my adventure, I did encounter a fair few issues involving drops in framerate, music cutting out and starting again and a crude sense of control. Controls became a problem as the young protagonist could spiral out of control after a small drop onto a platform below. Not a major problem but during some segments that involve high platforms and jumping and dropping, this became a little annoying after the first few deaths as a result.
These issues should discourage you from player Rime as it is a wonderful game. I felt the campaign could’ve gone on much longer as the third act felt as though it ended before it was meant too. Overall the game time will last about 7 hours which could be a little disappointing considering the price tag. But the replay value is high as there a number of interesting collectibles to discover.
Rime is a fantastic game and worthy of its praise. The developer’s talents have shone through once again with this incredibly beautiful and immersive title. The exploration is engrossing, the aesthetics are stunning and above all, it has heart and grace that’s not seen often enough in gaming. It may come across as cheesy or a little overly emotional to some but its message is clear and the gameplay is enjoyable.
An Xbox One Review key of Rime was provided by Tequila Works for the purpose of this Review.