RiME is a unique puzzle platformer. I see many reviewers call it a Zelda like game, and I have no idea where they make that comparison. It plays more like the old ps2 style puzzle platformer games, in the vein of a Ico or Shadow of the Colossus. Also akin to those games, the story is told in a unique and stylized way borrowing from the smash hit Journey. This is a game you will beat and instantly want to talk about, and you’ll go to the message board and look up “RiME ending explained”. When I started up RiME for the first time I was skeptical. I had just finished another Tequila Works game by the name of The Sexy Brutale. I wrote a pretty scathing review, one that you can read right here on GameOctane. So even going in with my expectations as low as they were set, I was still surprised at my reaction to RiME.
RiME’s story is a strong point, and it’s a weak spot. It takes on the Shadow of Colossus, or Journey approach to story telling and doesn’t beat you over the head with what is going on. This game is about learning bits and pieces are you explore and discovery more and more. There is no dialogue, everything is told by subtle cave paintings on the walls, or few and far between cut scenes. When you do see a cut scene it is so emotionally charged, you almost have to stop and take a breath. I don’t want to spoil any of the story in RiME, but it really is a beautiful and a well crafted story. The ending is such a great pay off, you feel exhausted after it, all the pieces fall into place and everything then makes sense. This game screams “art house” game, and if that is off putting to you I can understand that. Then go watch a play through of the game because you would be cheating yourself out of one of the most powerful and beautiful stories ever told in the video game medium.
Even as a puzzle game, the puzzles never grew too tiresome. Never once did I get frustrated by trying to solve a puzzle, most solutions are common sense. How do I keep a door from closing when I throw a switch? Maybe stick that big boulder I can move in the threshold. The game is more centered around your exploration and discovery of the island you awake on and the subsequent tombs, crumbling towers, and ancient cities you explore. RiME did something most games now don’t do, it made me feel lost and excited to find what lay down the next corridor. It brought that sense of wonderment and excitement back. I remember playing Ico for the first time, not having a clue what I needed to do but just struck with a sense of wanderlust as I explored the castles in Ico. Very rarely do games bring on such great feelings now a days. As I solved puzzles by shifting rocks onto pressure plates, shouting at glowing statues to activate them, and chasing a fox around the island I had one of the most memorable and wonderful experiences in gaming in my lifetime.
RiME’s environments are varied. You start on a beautiful island with green rolling hills, beautiful blue skies, and breath taking vistas. The colors just pop right off the screen. Each environment feels unique and special. When you get to “bad” area’s the colors are dim and muted, but you press on in your vibrant red cape. This touch stone, the cape, is almost always with you and it gives a great balance to the dark and dank ruins you explore. The game runs smooth as silk, the animations from running and jumping are just excellent. Everything looks natural and real. The art style could put some people off, but I love the art style. I’m not sure if this kind of art style has a name for it, but it’s just perfect for the type of game they made.
While you explore the island and other areas in RiME you will run across a handful of collectible items. They fall into a few different categories such as; toys, emblems, outfits, keyholes, and lullabies. Sadly the first few ones I found I had no idea how to pick up(it’s the action button by the way, Square for ps4). These are all scattered across off the beaten path locations. Hidden away in hard to reach nooks and crannies of the island. You can use a guide to get all these in the first run if you’d like, but I would recommend focusing on the story first then on a second play through get the collectibles. Technically you only need to play the game once, but it’s fun exploring the lands in RiME. I can’t wait to start my second play through and since I now understand the story I can see all the little tells and nods throughout the game. It’s like once you know the ending to Fight Club the book or movie tell a totally different story the second time through because you know the big twist. Also RiME is a budget title, priced at $29.99 USD, you really do get your moneys worth plus more. I can’t believe this isn’t a full sixty dollar game. Though price isn’t any indication of quality, I am just blown away they didn’t price the game higher. Also I was shocked to find out the main story is way longer than I thought it would be. I assumed, because of price and what I’ve seen about the game, that RiME would be maybe a 3-4 hour game. I spent about 10+ hours in the game and enjoyed every minute of it. The game has a near perfect run time. RiME gets added to my list of “yearly play throughs”, games like Firewatch, Gone Home, Until Dawn, and Quantum Break. The story is so good that I will come back every now and then and replay it just to experience it again. I’ll be burning more hours in RiME as I track down all the hidden collectibles through the game as well.
RiME was a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. It brings back that sense of wonder, of sitting in front of you tv and being transported to a new and exciting world. RiME reminds us why we love video games, that beautiful heart wrenching stories can be told in this medium. The breath taking graphics, combined with the fun, but never too complex puzzle platforming come together to make one of the best game experiences in the last decade. RiME hits all the right notes, and is paced just right, making you want to know what the next five minutes hold for you. RiME is a near perfect game and is in my opinion one of the best and most rewarding gaming experience of the year.
Note: GameOctane Editor Ryan Welch received a digital copy for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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+ Gameplay is smooth
+ Fun and never frustrating puzzles
+ Gorgeous art style
+ Amazing story
+ Perfect amount of collectibles
- Story can be unclear