Since its initial reveal a few years back, RiME has intrigued and fascinated many, mainly thanks to its visual appeal and mysterious setting. It’s also garnered many comparisons, from the Wind Waker to Journey and even The Last Guardian, but it’s very much able to stand on its own two feet.
You control a boy who is shipwrecked on an island. You don’t know why he’s there, where he’s come from, or what lays ahead. RiME doesn’t come with a great deal of exposition and its narrative is told mostly through the gameplay and the interactions you have while on the island. There isn’t any voice work or lengthy cutscenes. RiME plays out an intriguing tale through a variety of exotic-looking locales and drove me towards its ending in a way that I hadn’t initially anticipated.
RiME will take around 6 to 8 hours to complete depending on how insistent you are on finding collectables and for those worried about unimportant items littering RiME’s wonderful landscape, don’t be. The extras on the island are unobtrusive and most of the time I didn’t even realise they were even there as you really have to go out of your way to find some of them. It may present a bit of a challenge to trophy and achievement hunters, but the world is preserved from any intrusion.
As you make your way through the island you’ll be greeted by numerous puzzles in a rather linear fashion as RiME’s island is a small sandbox of rooms and places to explore in a (more often than not) designated order. Each one is simple in its make up and won’t test the most ardent of puzzle lovers, but its simplicity exposes the heart of RiME.
RiME is not trying to be a game that you play for hours, stressing over every avenue and every room. It’s a linear experience, draped in a beautiful and gorgeous landscape with a backdrop of soothing and reinvigorating music. If a game could ever be described as a stress reliever, it’s RiME.
The dulcet tones that play as you explore the island are truly wonderful and it’s a soundtrack that will be on many people’s playlists for years to come. Getting lost within the island’s sounds as you venture through different locales is reminiscent of a Disney soundtrack such is RiME’s ability to recognise the situation you’re in and adjust from grandeur to more light and thoughtful tones.
Don’t think that RiME stays still though, it never rests on its laurels. It consistently changes up what it expects of players, slowly ramping up the intricacy of its puzzles without ever putting too much pressure on a certain task. Your early objectives of moving an orb from A to B will gradually evolve to be able to handle puzzles using a number of different elements – mostly elemental. Shadows, the rays of the sun, sound and water are all used at points. Even the small number of creatures you’ll see on the island are often used in some way to help you progress.
RiME always tries to direct you but is always throwing something different at you while willing you to overcome it. The markings within its world hint at what to do or where to go next and despite the fact that it never lets you get comfortable, it never stresses you.
Controlling the boy is somewhat awkward at times though. When trying to run and jump off a ledge I often found the boy getting stuck around the time I pushed the jump button, this is down to the game having a tendency to stop players from falling and anytime you go near the edge of a ledge of a cliff it will automatically stop you. For a game with little focus on platforming though it’s not too much of an issue. You’ll climb and jump your way through much of RiME’s island but you’re never under pressure and so the small jumping and climbing niggles can, on the whole, be ignored.
If there is one area that RiME is weak though it’s in the technical department, which we had previously expressed concerns about. Its aesthetics are unquestionably wonderful, however, at times the framerate dips to noticeable lows and in part ruins the experience. It’s certainly not enough to put anyone off purchasing RiME but it’s still disappointing. For a world so well-realised that drags you in, the framerate issues ruthlessly pull you out of the moment for a brief second, spoiling an otherwise wonderful world.
RiME Review Conclusion
It won’t present much of a challenge but RiME is a delightful experience from beginning to end. It urges you forward at every turn and while there are minor technical issues, it’s a wonderful game that most should explore.
We tested the PS4 version after receiving a review code from the publisher. RiME releases on May 26th for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with a Switch version set to release at the end of summer.
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