RiME – Initial Thoughts

First of all, I don’t think anyone would dispute the fact that visually, this game is a creation of sheer beauty, with vibrant colours, sprawling landscapes and detailed animations. But it’s also got a great premise too. While very little is unknown about this boy and the story behind his travels, especially at first, the game somehow still manages to be engaging.

There are no tutorials, very little guidance and no dialogue or backstory – in short, it’s kind of a mystery you just have to figure out on your own. Not that this is too difficult in the beginning. Even with no prompting and simply an open world before you, you soon pick up little tricks you can perform and suss out what you’re supposed to be doing – and later on if you’re a little stuck with where you should be heading next, your faithful fox friend can help you out.

You’re introduced immediately to a grassy ruins type of world, which you can explore fully as the story unfolds. The map is well thought out and interesting at every angle, and the special collectable treasures you can pick up are hidden well! Fear not though, as you’re not restricted to more and more of the same. For this setting is just the first of many this expansive title has to offer.

In terms of genre, classifying Rime as a puzzle adventure is pretty much right on the money. You have free rein of your surroundings, but in order to advance to new areas and further parts of the game, you must figure out a series of puzzling sequences, such as lighting up a number of glowing orbs to open a gate, pushing objects around or lining up shapes.

The difficulty level is appropriately set, starting out relatively straightforward and getting trickier and more pressured later on – but still not so impossible you give up trying. The first map is a pleasant, casual ride, but then suddenly when you reach the land of windmills, you’re in for a nasty shock from the bird that will attack you if you stand still for too long trying to figure out your next move. Still, if you are attacked by something, fall off a cliff, stay underwater too long and drown, or whatever, you don’t have to worry about running out of lives or going back to far off checkpoints. You simply respawn pretty much right where you were, which is super handy.

The checkpoints feature can be a bit of a pain though, as there is no save or quicksave option in-between, and you could easily miss the prompt in the corner of your screen that indicates when one of these checkpoints has been met. It means that if you suddenly have to quit the game, you could lose some of your progress. While it’s naturally mesmerising, the lack of story is also a slight frustration at times too, as you simply can’t make sense of why you are doing everything you are doing. Why are you there? Why has a fox joined you? Who the hell is the guy in the red cape?

Still, with Rime, the positives far outnumber the negatives, and that’s just a few hours in. Sure, it is a little clumsy to get used to and it doesn’t provide a backstory, but it is still fascinating, stunning, engaging, strategic and most importantly, good fun.

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