Any of you who regularly read my review (thanks, guys & girls!) will probably know that I begin all my reviews by informing you of what game I’ve been playing lately (Final Fantasy 15 for those of you who’re wondering) but this time I’m going to controversially start my review by informing you guys that I’ve actually been really looking forward to Rime. Since I first learned of its release a little while back I’ve been desperately trying to get my grubby little hands on a copy so that I could enjoy everything that this game has to offer. Now that I’ve finally got my fingers wrapped around a pre-release copy, I can honestly say that I’m satisfied with the results.
For those of you who don’t know anything about Rime, it’s an upcoming release due out on the 26th May 2017. It’s developed by Tequila Works, Tantalus Media and published by Grey Box Games. The game is due very soon and will be released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and for Microsoft Windows so get ready for some cross platform enjoyment!
The game is categorised under the puzzle adventure game genre, however, it offers so much more than that during its actual gameplay. Rime begins with a very brief cinematic, showing the beautiful stars in the game’s sky, followed by clouds and ultimately a young boy who appears to have been stranded at sea and has washed up on the shores of a mysterious and puzzle-filled island.
As you begin, you’ll be introduced to the general mechanics through a tutorial which will provide you with information on how to progress by using movement, jumping, holding and throwing items, swimming and using your voice to be able to solve and assist with puzzles. There’s really not a lot of buttons you have to remember and there are no “special powers” other than being able to shout at things and make other things happen, so it’s a fairly straightforward game to play through.
After a brief and very easy puzzle where you will be strolling the beautiful scenery that Rime has to offer, you will be introduced to your main companion throughout the game. A cheerful (as far as I can tell) little fox which has some special powers. The fox itself acts as a guide throughout the game, moving on ahead to the next puzzles and areas and providing you with hints on where to go. As the game, itself doesn’t prompt or offer any insight (other than occasional markers which can be seen in the sky) the fox is your primary source of information and your only real guide on where to go. Whilst this may seem a little bit scary at first, it’s actually not as worrying as it sounds and as long as you pay attention to where you’re going then you won’t encounter any problems.
One of the main figures in the game is the giant tower with a keyhole in it, whilst it’s not an NPC or playable character, it does have a major role within the story. Whilst at first it’s inaccessible to the main character, solving puzzles and exploring through the storyline will soon have you reach it and begin to scale through it. The tower itself almost acts as a teleporter and will pass you into new areas that the game has to offer and provides incredible new scenery, puzzles and places to explore. These offer a great change in pace from the start of the game, as some of the new areas really do provide a challenge to the player in order to keep progressing.
As you continue through the story, you’ll begin to understand more of the way in which the world works and begin to understand what the story is about. The game will continue to feed you little tidbits of information towards the ultimate conclusion of the game and it’s really up to you as to what you make of it. Whilst I’m not going to spoil anything, I can say that I’ve completed the game and the story will only continue to peak your interest up to the point of its climax. The ending will leave you completely satisfied and is one of the best endings to a game I’ve played so whilst Rime isn’t really a game that requires a lot of pushing in order to continue on, it’s definitely worth seeing the amazing ending that it has to offer.
Whilst the puzzles probably aren’t the hardest in the world, they do offer some thought into how to actually solve them, so don’t expect to be solving everything left, right and centre. There were actually a few times during the game where I had to stop, take a step back and really think about what I was doing in order to proceed. The puzzles themselves are pretty much self-contained, so you won’t need to keep wandering around aimlessly, however, you will probably need to think outside the box on a couple of things as the way in which puzzles are solved are quite unique. This may take an hour or two to really get used to and some of the puzzles can also lock out certain collectables if done in the wrong way, so keep this in mind. That said, I had a great time exploring and solving puzzles and trying to do them in such a way as to not lock out my poor toys.
With artistic games such as this, it’s easy for the story to either be far too short or to drag on to the point where it becomes… well just dull. Frankly whilst the story is a little short lived and can be completed in about 8-10 hours, I felt that the game was just long enough. Everytime I began to get bored with a particular area and wanted a new and interesting feel I was teleported to a completely different area with different puzzles and interesting mechanics and even when the game began to feel like it was dragging and I wanted to reach the conclusion, there it was. Whilst some may offer criticism as to the shortness of the game, I would honestly say it’s just perfect the way it is and wouldn’t want the game to be any shorter or any longer.
If you think that the storyline won’t keep you entertained and is a bit short lived then there’s more to do in the form of collectables which can easily offer another 10 or so hours to complete. Whilst some of these will be obtained naturally through normal gameplay, about 70% of them will be hidden around corners, inside nooks and crannies and generally kept away from the linear path that the story will make you traverse. These collectables are completely optional, but do offer some really interesting bonus features such as new toys, costumes, emblems, completing the stories main theme music in the form of a lullaby and even offering an insight into the actual story and what is happening.
Whilst the game does more or less allow you to travel the open plains and incredible scenery that it has to offer, it’s not quite a sandbox game. You can run and explore anywhere that you want too however you are locked to certain areas based upon a number of factors such as puzzles you’ve completed, which part of the story you are in and the limitations of the game itself, naturally it wouldn’t be a very interesting game if the shipwrecked character could just swim back to his home. Although these limitations are in place, they’re not really very noticeable and there’s more than enough areas to keep you occupied on your quest to uncover the truth of the story and gather all your collectables.
Rime doesn’t hold anything back, it’s quite apparent from the incredible scenary and sights that the game has to offer that all aspects of the graphical design has been fulfilled to the highest of standards. The main character, the environment, the puzzles have all been designed to offer the maximum amount of aesthetic pleasure and not only is it really easy on the eyes but it offers inspiration to go and explore the many different areas and environments that the game will throw at you. Rime features many different and new sceneries, each one unique and including it’s own different form of puzzles, so visiting and exploring these new areas is almost a game in it’s own right.
As you’d expect from an artistic game, the gameplay itself doesn’t actually offer any narrative. This is great because not only does it make the game available for all languages to enjoy, it also means that the game makes up for it with some absolutely astonishing soundtracks. The musical tone of the game sets the atmosphere so well that it will give you chills and clearly displays the emotions and thoughts that are running through the characters and the players heads at the time. Peaceful and happy moments offer some surprisingly upbeat music, whilst some of the games more dark and upsetting moments offer some quite dreary and slow music. Even if you don’t feel like playing the game after this review, I would definitely offer advice to check out the Rime soundtrack and hear the inspirational and amazing music that the game has to offer.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, Rime is a game that I’ve been really looking forward to for a long time and I can say without a doubt that I’m not disappointed. It’s beautiful scenery and incredible sound is only matched by its amazing storyline which will leave you both satisfied and… well I can’t really say without spoiling anything. Whilst the game can be seen as short-lived, it will only be that way if you make it short-lived, and your quest to uncover collectables and enjoy the environment that the game has to offer will offer you many hours of fantastic gameplay.
As a score, I’m giving Rime the highest possible score as a 10 out of 10. It’s one of the best games that I have played in a very long time and very easily stands up against all titles. The gameplay of Rime is one of the best things it has to offer and at no point during my trek through the story mode or exploration did I once think about switching it off, if anything I managed to complete the entirety of the game during two sittings because my eyes were practically glued to the television screen the entire time. For those of you who love artistic puzzle adventure games, then this is the game for you.