- Developer: Tequila Works/Tantalus Media
- Publisher: Grey Box Games
- Genre: Puzzle, Adventure
- Release Date: 26 May 2017
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Nintendo Switch
- Supplied By: Microsoft
RiME can easily be classified by 2 words. Beautifully confusing, or confusingly beautiful, whichever way you want to put it it’s a beautiful game in its graphics and sound design, but confusing in its story and controls. It made me want to cry at points because of the beauty of the sound design and then scream at others because of the lack of game direction and clear signposting.
The game starts off with you, a little boy child who has washed up on the shores of this unknown island. And that’s it, no tutorial, no flashbacks, no story, nothing. It just allows you to be this boy exploring this mysterious island. This is basically how the game-play goes, you’re not given a “mission” or a “final destination”, you just bumble along hoping something crops up that is a bit different to the rest of the landscape that you’re seeing. The game doesn’t clearly signpost or use it’s environment well, it assumes you know who you are and why you’re here. Even the cut-scenes don’t clearly show what is going on and leaves the story more open for interpretation than any other game I’ve played.
The graphics are beautifully simple, none of this super fancy graphics along the lines of Final Fantasy XV or the latest Lara Croft. No, RiME is simple in its approach. Light Grey smooth architecture dots the landscape alongside colourful flora and fauna. With each “chapter” of the game the scenery changes from a lush woodland and beach to a dry desert then to the inside of a large building overgrown with weeds and finally into what feels like a spooky graveyard of old buildings. With each scenery change comes a change of pace and change of music score.
The sound design within the game is beautiful. The music creates either a sense of melancholy or urgency as needed. Within the last chapter I truly felt sad because of the music that was playing. It had such a strong emotion attached to it that it resonated something within me where I felt upset because of what was going on. The problem was, the story had not made it clear what had happened and I didn’t know what to be sad about!
The controls are easy enough to pick up, but not well explained enough that you clearly know what each button does. The amount of times that I accidentally blew something up when I was supposed to pick it up was frustrating. The controls run primarily off the child shouting at whatever he can in order to make it work. However no words are spoken throughout the entire game, which is an interesting choice by the developers considering that the story clearly needs it in order to explain what is going on! The “guide” mechanic that the game uses I found glitched out on a regular basis if you didn’t follow it to a tee and used slight shortcuts or didn’t go the exact way it was signposted.
However, I will say that this game’s saving grace was the cuteness of your companion. The little fox that runs around barking trying to get your attention is so adorable that other NPC’s pale in comparison. Alongside the fox you also find boars, birds and reptiles. There are some rather strange machines that pop up and act like a humanoid dog hybrid and some very odd looking figures that either don’t acknowledge your existence or want to suck the life out of you. It isn’t clearly explained why their mood towards you changes throughout the game, all I know is to stay away from weird shadowy figures.
This game was extremely confusing in its storytelling as it is not clear what the main “goal” is. It is all very open to interpretation and people are still on forums trying to figure it all out. I get the feeling that this game is supposed to have some deep meaning and life lesson but I can’t put my finger on what it is. If you’re looking for a game that reminds you of The Last Guardian mixed with Journey, grab this one. But if you’re looking for answers, I’ve got none!