It’s been eagerly anticipated, but now RiME by Tequila Works has been released. Formerly a Playstation exclusive, it’s now a multi-platform release for PS4, Xbox One and PC. The version we played was for Xbox One.
We actually really enjoyed Deadlight by Tequila Works, even though it received a lukewarm reception from most. Already a huge fan of 2D action adventures like Flashback, we especially enjoyed Deadlight’s sense of style and visual direction. RiME is a completely different title, but follows a similar pattern in terms of impressing us with its audiovisual delivery.
While we might compare Deadlight to Flashback, RiME has of course often been compared to games like Ico – and rightfully so. In RiME, you play a young boy stranded on an island trying to figure out what to do and where to go next. You see a mysteriously cloaked figure in the distance, but can never quite catch up with him. Before too long, you befriend a little fox who becomes your buddy during your adventure. The story in RiME is always quite implicit, at least until the later stages of the game – where the narrative element moves to the front of the experience and adds an extra layer of emotion.
Until then, a lot of the emotion comes from the game’s audiovisual presentation – with an art style that echoes Ico, characters that are instantly likeable and an orchestral musical score that’s both sweeping and emotional. Underneath that, RiME is a fairly standard puzzle platformer of the ‘light’ variety. Jumping and climbing is fairly straightforward, and we didn’t run into any puzzles that had us stumped. Quite often, it’s a case of something you’ve seen before in other games – pushing stuff out of the way, flipping switches or making sure something holds down a pressure pad. The implementation is highly competent, but hardly remarkable.
The gameplay in RiME might be a tad generic, but its presentation is far from it. I’ve already touched on the character design and soundtrack, but there’s an immense attention to detail that also extends to the backdrops and the other NPC characters in the game. There’s so much visual splendor that the Xbox One actually struggled to keep up at times though, with semi-frequent framerate drops that can be seen at points throughout the story campaign. Perhaps it’s a sign that the original Xbox One design is on its last legs, but I haven’t seen the game in action on a Playstation 4 (Pro) or PC so I’m not sure if this is a problem that comes up across all platforms.
Despite these technical issues, RiME is 2017’s Ico in the way it presents an audiovisual journey through a beautifully crafted world. For that reason alone, it’s well worth picking up.