RiME Xbox One Review

June 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Grey Box Games  Developer: Tequila Works  Genre: Adventure

Players: 1  Age Rating: 7+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4, Switch (coming soon)

You just have to look at a screenshot of RiME to see what it was inspired by. The game has a vibe that brings to mind the likes of ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian, and there’s even a dash of Journey in there. It’s because of comparisons like this that resulted in panic for developer Tequila Works while the game was still in the works. The stress to make a game under the shadow of such highly acclaimed games while assuring that it turned out to be something special in its own right must have been like being inside a high pressure oven.

At 8-10 hours, the game is a decent length. Replay value also comes in the form of finding the game’s secrets, some of which shed further light on the mysterious and intriguing story.

RiME’s plot is one that is told without words, and it has a likeable simplicity because of this, but it is also one that is deeper than what it first appears. The simple outline of the story sees a boy shipwrecked on an island after a violent storm, and it’s here where the game begins, with the boy waking up on the island. There’s certainly mystery and intrigue in the game’s narrative, which just goes to prove that a wordless plot can be just as effective as one with dialogue. Fortunately, it’s also a lot easier to follow than the rather confusing Virginia, another game devoid of spoken dialogue.

RiME is an adventure game that has you solving puzzles in rather large environments, but in no way is the game an open-world puzzle adventure, as you are on a mostly linear path, and you’ll also find yourself running into invisible walls at times to make sure that you stay in the intended play area. As linear as it is, there are still plenty of secrets to discover off the beaten path, though it’s also possible to get lost at times, but a little exploration does often get you back on the correct path.

Key to keeping you on the intended path, a mysterious fox appears throughout the game who sits around waiting for you to follow her. This keeps your adventure flowing along, and also means that frustration is kept to a minimum, with the fox acting as a marker to your next destination meaning you don’t often have to wonder where you are supposed to head next, which could slow down gameplay.

RiME is made up of exploration and puzzle solving, and the game does have some interesting puzzles to its name. Most of the puzzles don’t require an awful lot of thought, although they are still satisfying enough for what they are, involving things such as light and shadow as well as typical puzzles which have you pushing and pulling blocks around; if you are wanting something to truly tax your brain, then RiME may disappoint, as its puzzles are really quite gentle and easygoing.

RiME also has you jumping and climbing around its environments, which works well enough, although the game doesn’t have any combat as such. The shadowy ICO-like enemies that do crop up aren’t very dangerous, and are often easily avoided, but sometimes they are involved in some of the puzzles, with you having to get rid of them, which then allows you to progress onward.

It would be rude not to take in everything you can of the spellbinding environments.

Some of RiME’s most enticing prospects are its beautifully striking world, and enchanting music. With its blue skies and water, lively foliage, and golden sands, the colourful visuals are a contrast to its inspirations’ more muted colours, and the environmental designs are truly excellent and alter in tone as you journey through the game. It’s one of those games that will have many people taking in its sights and looking around its mysterious world in awe. Some of the environments could have quite easily have appeared in Team ICO’s games, but it’s also testament to Tequila Work’s talents to be able to mention their work in the same breath as the aforementioned team. This means that it’s obvious what their inspiration was, but they have managed to craft something as equally as good. On the more negative side, the frame-rate can get a little choppy from time to time.

While its sources of inspiration is obvious and its puzzles may prove to be too simple for some, RiME is a puzzle adventure with plenty of personality and moments of awe that deserves to live long in the memory once it draws to a close. The game may be one that could have been put together by Team ICO, but it’s also one that manages to stand on its own two feet as a beautifully made, hugely enjoyable, and artistically stunning piece of work.