Beautiful, surreal, and surprising, RiME is an enjoyable journey with an unexpected secret.
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 code for review.
When the main character of RiME wakes up on the beach of a mysterious island, the game doesn’t give you much guidance. Instead, it sets you free to explore the starting area, and there is plenty to see. While RiME isn’t an open world game, each area has many hidden collectibles to find.
You soon encounter a friendly fox that shows you where to go to progress, and this fox continues to show you the way through most of the game. Your goals gradually become clear. You aren’t alone on the island; there is a red-cloaked man just out of reach, and you’re trying to catch up with him. The island also features a mysterious tower, and you need to find your way there. Why? It lets you discover that on your own.
RiME often plays like a platformer, with areas you’ll need to jump, climb, and swim through, in addition to solving puzzles. Aside from one frustrating area where you’re forced to hide from an enraged bird, RiME’s varied environments are pleasant to journey across—although it’s not always clear when you’ll lose the ability to backtrack, which can be annoying if you’re trying to find every collectible.
The puzzles are generally simple. Only a few provide more than a mild challenge, but many make use of light and optical illusions. For example, you might need to view two separate pillars so that they appear to form a door, into order to make the door appear. Sound also plays an important role, as you can shout at statues, torches, and other devices to activate them.
Likewise, the story appears simple at first. There is no dialogue, although the main character expresses his emotions through his interactions with the world and creatures he encounters, and only occasional flashbacks hint at how you ended up on the island. The further you go, however, the stranger the world becomes, until it becomes clear that RiME isn’t what it first appeared to be at all. Without spoilers, the ending of RiME puts the entire game into a new perspective.
The game’s buildup is at times too subtle for the story it wants to tell, but it’s not as ambiguous as the beginning might make you believe, either. RiME isn’t the game to go to for challenging puzzles or a direct story, but it gives you a beautiful world to explore and numerous collectibles to search for—and its ending might make you want to replay the game all over again.
The Final Word
At first glance, RiME appears to be a simple exploration game through beautiful environments, but its ambiguous story comes together at the end to create an impactful experience that will linger in your thoughts.
4.5/5 – Great