These days, you don’t have to look very far to find a game that can be considered similar to any The Legend of Zelda game. Sometimes, these connections are correct, but in the case of RIME, they’re dead wrong. RIME is an adventure-puzzle game developed by Tequila Works, and after a long wait, it’s finally coming to the Nintendo Switch. However, it isn’t everything we’ve been hoping for.
While the concept of the game is brilliant, and the actual puzzles are solid and creative, the game itself is plagued by frame drops, bad animations, and unintuitive controls. You’re thrust straight into the game with a slight tutorial, but it doesn’t cover everything, and therefore you can be left in the same situation I was where I couldn’t figure out how to climb a cliff.
Your single driving force is exploration. You travel the island, solving puzzles along the way. You’re joined on your story by a strange fox and a single inhabitant that is forever out of view. Before long you’ll discover that the island itself is just one such world that you can venture too, and the white tower is an entryway into the different places you can visit.
SOMETIMES SIMPLE IS BETTER
The story is very simple, and it leaves a lot for you to decipher on your own. You wake up on the beach of an island that is populated with many ruined structures: temples, statues, fountains, towers and at the center of it all an enormous white tower that fills the sky. You can run, jump, climb and grab onto ledges, but for some reason, his voice seems to have the power to summon mystic energies that activate mechanisms or open seemingly blocked gates and doors. The main character of RIME lacks personality, however, it does make it intriguing to learn more about our nameless character and his motives.
Just as our main character in RIME, the magical Fox will be your companion in this game although he really doesn’t do much other than helping you find your way in case you get lost. In a sense, this Fox is a silent protagonist. He alleviates a sense of loneliness and in some cases provides a feeling of color in an otherwise dreary world.
A WORK OF ART
The game is beautiful. It has that cel-shaded feeling that did games like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker & Journey, and then combines it with some dazzling water, blurs, and amazing particle effects. In comparison, the art style is cleaner than that of Team Ico’s games, lacking the heavy stonework and the gothic and tribal flourishes. However, there’s something about its use of repeated motifs and volumetric lighting that hits the same buttons. RIMEs world seems to be magical.
The music in this game has an atmosphere similar to Breath of the Wild in that it has a sort of ambiance that fits the story well. It feels natural towards the game and what is happening around your character in the sense that it helps bring his story to life.
THERE ARE PUZZLING TIMES AHEAD
The puzzles are phenomenal. No one is exactly the same as the other, and as you progress throughout the story you’ll found yourself genuinely puzzled sometimes. Even during one of these earlier in the game, I found myself stuck in a dark cave with no idea how to make it to the exit. A lot of them aren’t like that, but each of them tests you in one way or another. You won’t find the same kind of things from The Witness or The Last Guardian, but there’s a certain feeling of triumph when you get past a fairly difficult challenge. As you progress throughout the game, you’ll be tasked with finding and collecting keys, moving creates to climb to your next destination and so on.
CHOPPY TIMES ARE COMING YOUR WAY
Unfortunately, the game isn’t everything that it is on other consoles. To be frank, it’s an unoptimized mess. Sometimes, something as simple as turning the camera can cause the frame rate to shoot down. It’s not fun, especially when you’re in the middle of a really interesting moment and it takes you straight out of the immersion. Every now and then when you’re just casually walking through the game you’ll also find that the frame rate shoots down, and it’s not even moment when there’s a lot happening on screen either. The game is just poorly optimized and it’s a real shame considering how beautiful the game’s story is.
Overall, RIME is a good game. The puzzles are great, the graphics are beautiful, and it’s a very good game if you have some time to kill. My first playthrough took me about 8 hours on-and-off, but my second playthrough took me around 5 hours. It isn’t a very long game, but that isn’t a bad thing. What is a bad thing, however, is the general feeling of just how unoptimized the game is. There are constant frame drops, general jumpy behavior, and it makes the game unplayable at some points depending on how bad you get it. It’s a sad fact because the game itself has an amazing concept, but the bugs let it down.
RIME will be available for Nintendo Switch on November 14th for $39.99 in a digital and physical format.
Review Copy Provided by Tequila Works