When adventure games like RiME launches, it’s bound to get mixed responses from critics and gamers alike. RiME is the kind of game that’s not for everyone, but it’s easy for all of those who wants to play it. Tequila Works’ latest new IP is one enchanting adventure I’ve taken in the past few days. It’s one of those titles that will leave me a scar emotionally and mentally.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Tequila Works
Publisher: Grey Box
Release Date: May 26, 2017, Q3 2017 (Nintedo Switch)
This review is based on a review copy provided by Grey Box.
You, the boy, take your adventure on a mysterious Mediterranean island after a horrible torrential storm. Just like genSTUDIOS’ The Last Guardian, RiME starts off in a very unusual way when your character wakes up in a mysterious place that intrigues you from the very start. Questions arise. You wonder why you’re in a place alone, what might have happened before this, and what secrets are on this island. Who is that entity in the red-hood? When you embark on your adventure, you will get reeled in slowly to unravel the secrets that are buried and for its ending.
The story is open for interpretation, especially the last part of the game. I’m not going to spoil anything as it does shatter the whole essence of its whole presentation and narrative. It’s like art, just like what I said in my recent article, RiME is a work of art – which some critics and players miss this point. The plot itself puts your imagination to the test, and while you craft your own understanding, RiME doesn’t fail to amaze you many ways. The magical atmosphere it brings makes every moment spectacular.
The places in the island also relays a message of emotions. There’s the atmosphere in each level you get in that makes you feel what it wants you to feel. There’s a desert place where you get to encounter a bird-like creature that defends its territory that makes it a hostile location, an area of ruins that initially amazes you with its surprises, and a place where a storm that never ends whuch represents about sadness and grief fairly well. The way how RiME makes you feel at a certain situation is as bold as it can be, and Tequila Works managed to make that right.
At its core, RiME is a puzzle-platformer adventure game similar to the likes of The Last Guardian and Journey. It doesn’t have action, but there are threats that would kill you. The pace can sometimes be inconsistent. There are places where platforming and climbing are abundant, and it slows the progress needlessly. However, the puzzles are not as intricate like the others say, it wasn’t frustrating, and it was simplistic.
You get to change time and match the shadows of effigies, there are objects to connect the lines and circles to solve the puzzle by looking through a hole with shield-like cover. Shouting at enchanted sculptures to open doors and barricades, you can also make the boy hum a song to shine your way through the darkness. RiME doesn’t pull off insanely sophisticated puzzles just to make something unique or special. It’s not a complete turn-off, The Last Guardian also had simple puzzles and it was meaningful and rewarding in every single way.
RiME doesn’t feature any maps, you rely on your magical fox companion to guide you through the whole island. You have the choice to explore or to just simply follow the flow of the game’s plot. And its sandbox is quite huge. The controls are also a bit wonky, and the camera is also weighty at times. There are moments when pressing the Square button gets annoyingly unresponsive.
How RiME presents itself visually is vibrant. Unlike The Last Guardian, the game is more cartoonish than representing something lifelike. I love the art direction as it doesn’t sacrifice what the developers intend to show. The facial reaction of the boy is also needed to be praised. The musical score also adds the emotion of the adventure. The hopeful and charming tone of its soundtrack is lovely like its visual presentation.
Aside from the 6 to 7 hour adventure, there are still secrets that linger around the island. A lot of things to unlock such as new outfits, you get to collect toys, lullabies, emblems, and some stories by looking through keyholes. I’m not really a fan of getting collectables in a game unless there’s a real concrete reason for doing it – not just for the sake of “collecting”.
What pulls back RiME is the frequent frame-pacing issues and frame drops. It looks like the game is reading its assets real-time which affects the game’s overall stability. It gets to me at times, and it’s something to note that the inconsistency of the performance can affect one person’s experience heavily. I hope a patch is already on the way as it’s quite frustrating.
In the end, RiME is a beautiful piece and I loved every second I spent in this magical game. It’s an emotional adventure, and that’s what it makes RiME a stunning title despite the performance issues it has.
It’s highly recommended. It’s your bang-for-the-buck game! There are elements that outweighs the bad parts.
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