Review: RiME (PlayStation 4)
- Release Date (NA): May 26, 2017
- Publisher: Grey Box Games
- Developer: Tequila Works
- Genres: Puzzle, Adventure
- ESRB Rating: Everyone 10 and up
- PEGI Rating: Seven years and older
- Also For: Computer, Xbox One
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Shouting At Blue Things: The Game
RiME is a game about a boy who’s really good at shouting at things. And not just any old thing, blue statue-esque things. And that’s about the extent of the gameplay of RiME. A puzzle adventure game, RiME follows the the story of a young nameless boy washed ashore on an island after a rough storm on the seas. As you’re seemingly stranded on this island, you decide to explore a bit to figure out what’s going on. Or, at least, that’s what I take away from it. RiME, like ICO or The Last Guardian, is told in a narrative-less, vague fashion where a majority of the atmosphere comes from sounds instead of actual story telling. Most of the real story you’ll find in RiME is based off of little hidden extras strewn about the island, which include things like toys, “keyholes” that you can look through to provide a storyboard image, emblems, and things like little shells that provide a lullaby of some sort. If you happen to miss a couple extras, you’re pretty much left without those pieces of the story as there’s no backtracking, so if you’re not really exploring every nook and cranny, you’re sort of in the dark the whole game until the end. The most you really gleam of the story is that there was a storm, you were on a boat, and then you fell off the boat. That's about it. When you finish each of the 4 main levels, you're shown little cutscenes of the little boy putting the story together, but it's not until the end do you really get the full story and finally understand a lot of the design choices in each individual level.
The gameplay of RiME is pretty simple. As you explore the island, you come across little blue statues and balls that you “shout” at to use, which can do anything from opening doors and turning on lights to activating two legged robots and dispelling shadow creatures in some of the latter levels. Unfortunately, this makes for rather shallow gameplay, as the puzzles are extremely easy and involve, at most, activating a statue or two and doing some climbing. There was the occasional light based puzzles, where you have to cast shadows on various objects to activate a door or something, but they were few and far between and were equally as simple. The bulk of the level design is also rather linear for a seemingly open world game. There are generally a few paths from the main area that lead to secrets, but otherwise there’s just the one way to go. At least this one way is relatively good looking.
My first impression of RiME the second I booted it up was “Boy, this kinda looks like a Gamecube game…”. The cel-shaded art style Tequila Works uses is extremely similar to Wind Waker in design, so much so that I was initially disappointed in the visual aspects of it. I don’t want to say that it looks bad per se, yet for a game released in 2017 to look just like a 15 year old game can be a bit of a let down. But, as I continued on through each level, I really began to appreciate the art style for what it was. It accented the setting of the game quite well, and boy do some areas look really pretty.
+ Good looking visuals.
- Story makes pretty much no sense until the very end of the game.
- No real exploration, the level design is fairly linear.
- Simple puzzles and shallow gameplay mechanics.
RiME looks pretty. The cel-shaded design looks pretty outdated at first, but as you move on you really start to see the beauty of the game.
Unfortunately, the gameplay ends up being a bit of a letdown. There's no real depth to anything you do, a good 80% of the game boils down to "Shout at blue statue, activate door, continue, drag box to pressure plate, activate door, continue".
There are a fair few extras in RiME that are hidden throughout each area, which might boost the lasting appeal to some players, but otherwise it's linear level design doesn't deviate much per each playthrough. I missed out on a vast majority of the extras myself during my initial 8-9 hour playthrough, so it at least warrants a second to find every little thing.
out of 10
(not an average)
Overall, RiME is ok. It's a rather simple game wrapped in a beautiful package, but that's about the most that I can really say about RiME. A more open world feel would've been a welcome addition, as well as some puzzles that actual involve a tad more thinking rather than "Oh just open this door by finding this thing and shouting at it".