Rime and Reason

Thanks to Xbox for the code!

I can't really go into the story of Rime, because well, the story of Rime is neat and has a few nice twists, twists and story I don't want to spoil. So you'll just have to dive into the game in that regard. Rime is more than the sum of its parts, it's a cohesive whole, puzzle game that really plays with the concept of the duality of things.

Rime is not an action game, Rime is a puzzle game.

Many of the puzzles in Rime require experimentation, messing with environmental objects and poking at the systems on offer to see how they interact. Move a pillar, shift a lever, change something nearby and you might just form a pattern of sorts on a wall. Move some more things, alter a shadow to light and that door you couldn't open vanishes as if by magic.

Your avatar, a young boy might bring to mind things like Zelda or Ico, perhaps Shadow of the Colossus. It might even call to mind some of the very early puzzle games like Myst. Though played in third person, within giant island areas that are packed with things to see/find/solve and explore, there's a very Myst feel to some of this in my mind.

Danger and Tension

Now whilst Rime isn't an action game, there are moments of tension and action in it. You won't be pulling out a club or a sword though, there's no combat in Rime. What you will be doing is running away from certain things, hiding from others and working out how to navigate ... I'll let you find that one out for yourselves. It's a tricky game to review in terms of content, because the moment you talk about any of it you run the risk of spoiling the sense of adventure and exploration that is key and cornerstone to the whole thing.

But there's danger, risk and tension created by certain elements within Rime and they remind me of Journey (in a good way) and that's all you're getting out of me!

A Joy to Explore

Rime should feel overwhelming, it should feel staggering in the concept and scope from the very first moment you're given control of the boy. It doesn't though, there's a nice mechanic that lets you enjoy exploration without feeling swamped by the sheer scale of the place you're in. The story is fed to you by a helpful animal companion early on. This lil' animal is a better version of Fable's Dog and leads you where you need to go to progress.

It won't be easy, you'll have to think outside of the box for a good few puzzles in the game and you'll certainly experience some frustration. I really want to talk about one of the coolest puzzles in the game, but I won't, you'll see it when you get there and you might well think the same as I do. Though as a hint for the impatient, just sing one of David Bowie's songs from Labyrinth and you'll get the idea.

Rime remains a joy to explore and the sheer sense of achievement in solving these puzzles is the greatest payoff. It's kind of like when you find a path on in Journey, only a solitary affair since there's no other player to help you and draw little hearts in the snow at the end. You get a real sense of accomplishment and a warm glowing feeling of 'being on the right track.'

A Beautiful, Simple Game

Rime is beautiful, it doesn't try and pack in tons and tons of graphical effects. It has a comic-book art style, or a style that's reminiscent of a Greek tone in the architecture designs and landscapes. The water looks beautiful. Not overwhelming you with the latest visual tricks and next-gen graphical bells and whistles is Rime's perfect achievement. What it does with what it has is just right, any more and I think it'd be too much. I'm also reminded of Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away when I play the game, and that's high praise.

It also runs extremely smoothly on the Xbox One.

It has superb animations and the animal companion is extremely cute, yep, very cute.

I also adore the day/night cycle and the effect it has not only visually, but also on gameplay.

The Sound of Rime

The sound work for Rime is solid. I really love the various ambient effects and sounds as you explore, the little hints of something interesting, or the danger that might be around the corner.

Musical Journey

I love a good soundtrack and Rime doesn't fail in that department. Go on, have a listen if you like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qqn8_cST__M - it reminds me of things like Journey, or certain Anime soundtracks, with a feel of some of Ori and the Blind Forest.

Superb stuff.

The Changing Face of Rime

I'm aware of the development issues and changes that Rime's undergone in the past, but I feel as though the game that's come out of the whole thing could be described as better/stronger than the game it was going to be originally. I'm not too fussed that they removed survival aspects from it, or they changed things here and there. I rather like the gated progress through the islands, the way that it drip-feeds what's going on and the fact there's no combat.

I've got plenty of other games that have combat in.

I like Rime because it's different, and I've seen some reviews that describe it as gorgeous but shallow. I don't think so, but I can see where they're coming from. Personally though, for me, Rime is a game I can recommend to anyone.