Author: Sam Tree
| Posted: 21 November 2017, 15:27
RiME is a cell shaded adventure-puzzle game which follows a young boy washed up on a deserted island with a giant tower in the centre. The game follows the five stages of grief as the boy comes to grips with the loss of someone close to him while struggling with his own emotions.
The story of RiME is told from the perspective of a young boy, washed up on a deserted island. With no explanation of what to do or where to go, the game leaves you abandoned to work it out all for yourself. The boy has a very limited skill base. He can run, jump and climb objects. He also is able to interact with certain objects of the world by either shouting or singing. Using these skill sets, the aim is to reach the top of the tower, and while doing so discovering unravelling the story through the game’s rich visuals.
Unlike traditional narratives, RiME’s story is told entirely through the gameworld itself. Guided by a magical Fox and a mysterious figure in a red cloak, players are encouraged to explore the vast and colourful world that has been created. Locating hidden areas and items which each, in turn, unlock a small portion of the story behind why the boy is on this island. And RiME really does encourage you to explore. With limited markers pointing you in the right direction, it’s a genuine joy to wander around the landscape, discovering the secrets hidden by the devs.
And all of this is accompanied by a beautiful musical score. Beautiful, haunting and portraying a sense of loss throughout. It works in harmony with the gameplay adding that extra level of immersion, driving you forward. I found myself playing for the music just as much as I did the game; a true testament to David Garcia, without his input I feel that RiME would be lacking the atmosphere his music brings to the whole experience.
A fair bit of attention to detail has gone into building the world of RiME. From the countless number of tiny creatures that scuttle along the ground and up the walls to the way the boy leans back and visibly changes his walking position while running down a hill. The same can be said while wading through water; the animations change to reflect how this would really happen. For me, this was enough to bring me through the so-called magic circle, to connect me to the world and its character. I felt invested in the game and found it hard to put down.
But with this is mind, RiME on the Nintendo Switch does suffer from some serious framerate issues in areas. While mostly I found the dip in performance to minimal and not really impede the gameplay, there were some areas – especially cutscenes – where the console would struggle to render what it was showing smoothly. I found this to be true in both handheld and docked mode. The same can be said for the character model of the boy. I found him to have jagged outlines, a stark comparison to the rest of the work around him which felt smoother and more refined. A disappointing problem, considering how magical I found the rest of my experience with RiME; this could ultimately be a deal breaker for a lot of players, especially in a time when framerate and resolution seem to be so important.
Another smaller gripe I found with the game is the length of time it takes to start playing. Don’t get me wrong. my complaint doesn’t lie with the loading times of each area – though these are fairly long at times – but rather with the unskippable logo reveals for each company involved in the game.
If you’re able to look past its faults though, RiME does have a certain charm to it. The visuals are well presented and each stage of grief has its own style. From the bright and open area of denial to the dark and wet portrayal of depression. It works well and keeps the player engaged in the game, never lingering too long in one area. There are some clever puzzles that involve shadows, moonlight and moving pedestals; but nothing groundbreaking, nothing we haven’t seen before in other titles. But with that being said, RiME allows you to approach everything at your own pace, with no enemies to worry about as such, you’re able to tackle each challenge at a speed that is comfortable to you.
Overall I found RiME to be a thoroughly enjoyable game. Its soundtrack is beautiful and syncs up with the gameplay perfectly. The lack of signposts encourages you to explore and unravel its mystery while subtly pointing you in the right direction. How much you enjoy RiME depends on what you’re willing to put in. By pouring your heart and soul into the narrative you’ll truly enjoy the game. It sucked me in and kept me emotionally engaged until the moment the frame rate dropped; kicking me back to reality.
This review is based on playing the
Nintendo Switch version of RiME that was kindly provided for review purposes by Grey Box & Six Foot.
A stunning and engrossing game that's seriously let down by performance issues
Soundtrack is beautiful
Each area of grief has its own unique feel
Some serious frame rate drops at important moments
Grey Box & Six Foot Developer(s):
Tequila Works Players:
Single-player Release Date(s):
26th May 2017 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One), November 2017 (Nintendo Switch) Platforms:
PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch