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Rime Review

Rime Review

The world is a very different place when viewed through the eyes of a child. Danger, consequences, and fear are met with the reckless abandon of youth. It is through exploration of surroundings, facing unexpected challenges and mastering one's emotions that the exuberance of youth, sadly, is left behind. The allegory-filled tale told in Tequila Works' latest release, Rime, perfectly encapsulates all of these feelings and more, delivering a powerful, thought provoking, and beautifully told story.

A dark storm is raging at sea. The fierce winds blow a tattered red cloak through the air. A young boy, Enu, awakens face down on a beach. Worn and beaten, Enu stands up and surveys his surroundings. The Mediterranean island glows in the warm sun as birds fly through the air, crabs scuttle past on the beach and fish swim in the calm inviting sea. On the horizon, a mysterious tower looms on a rocky outcrop just begging to be explored. The journey to discover the mystery surrounding the island begins with one small step into a larger world.

From the very beginning of the adventure, you are free to explore the open world. The sea is open to exploration as well as the many caves, cliffs, ruins, and intricate paths dotted around the island. The environment has been expertly crafted and feels like a living, breathing, world. Dark caves with lizards skittering on the walls give way to small tranquil inlets and peaceful beaches. Towering ruins containing majestic hallways and hidden water features hide secrets that await discovery. The sense of awe and wonder generated by the environments really enhances the feeling that you are seeing the world through a child's eyes. There is a clear influence from historical Mediterranean art and seafaring culture that permeates the visual design. The intricate lighting, at times, gives Rime the look of a painting on the side of Greek or Phoenician pottery. Enu's crimson cloak blazes brightly in contrast to the dark walls and caverns. It is a lovely touch and adds an air of authenticity to the setting.

RiME Launch Screenshot 08 1494867643

The game takes many influences from recent titles such as Ico, Journey, and Shadow of the Colossus. The exploration of Journey and Shadow of the Colossus are combined with the puzzle solving and platforming of Ico to create a wonderful blend of styles that is engaging and fun to play. Puzzles involve moving blocks to open doors, using Enu's voice to unlock mechanisms, and using the games day and night cycle to reveal new areas and secrets. As the game progresses the puzzles increase in complexity but never become too obscure to cause much frustration. The level of complexity feels just right for beginners and veterans alike. What initially seems to be a leisurely adventure increases in intensity the deeper you progress into the game. A giant bird appears that can swoop down and grab Enu when he is in the open. The only way to combat the bird is to find cover to reset its attack, adding a new dimension to the puzzle solving, as you have a limited time in the open before the giant bird spirits you away and resets your progress. This is an interesting gameplay twist that gives a sense urgency to the puzzle solving whilst adding jeopardy and a hint of danger to the island.

The cel-shaded art design gives Rime a vibrant timeless quality that enhances the sense of wonder when exploring. The day and night cycle frames the environments beautifully. Stunning sunrises and sunsets add a sense of theatre and drama to the landscape. Large draw distances give a real sense of scale to the environments and aide with discovering new areas. Subtle visual details such as the wind whipping across the water and blowing through the air show a great deal of care and attention has been lavished on the visual presentation. Enu is also beautifully animated. He struggles through water that is waist and knee high, he bounds gleefully down staircases, and shivers in the cold winds, hugging his body with his arms. His small slender frame conveys a vulnerability that makes you care for him when he is scaling large towers or is in mortal peril.

The clever visual design also extends to the environments and HUD. Beacons shoot light into the sky to indicate where to go and doors may subtly resemble keys to indicate investigation is required. Diving into the sea will cause a darkness to slowly encroach from the sides of the screen indicating when oxygen is running low and red claw marks appear from the side of the screen when the giant bird is attacking. The whole game has a smart visual language that guides and informs without being intrusive. Unfortunately, there are some frame rate issues that occur during some of the in game cutscenes and when exploring the environment. These issues are very distracting and do pull you out of the experience. It is worth noting though that the frame rate issues never hindered progress or caused any needless deaths.

RiME Launch Screenshot 05 1494867641

The soundscape in Rime has been intricately crafted. The environmental sounds add a genuine sense of place to the setting. Enu's voice has character and the subtle audio cues that help with puzzle solving and navigation have been expertly blended into the overall design. The score, composed by David Garcia Diaz and Akira Yamaoka, is a spectacular piece of emotional composition. Whimsical tracks enhance the joy of discovery and ominous sombre pieces add to the mystery of the island. The sweeping string melodies wonderfully highlight the majesty and scale of the landscape, whilst haunting mournful themes punctuate key scenes adding emotional depth. Two vocal tracks Forgotten City ft Lindsey Sterling and The Song of the Sea ft Mirella Díez Morán add humanity and tenderness that genuinely tugs at the heartstrings. The soundtrack is masterfully woven into the game, providing a narrative and emotional resonance that compliments the visual storytelling perfectly.

Rime is a triumph of storytelling and game design. The beautiful hand crafted world is a joy to explore and the puzzles are fun to complete. Stunning visuals and a stellar score, combined with a deeply personal and emotional story create a truly unforgettable experience that will resonate with players for years to come.

9.00/10 9

Excellent. Look out for this one.

Rime is a triumph of storytelling and game design. The beautiful hand crafted world is a joy to explore and the puzzles are fun to complete. Stunning visuals and a stellar score, combined with a deeply personal and emotional story create a truly unforgettable experience that will resonate with players for years to come.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review

Mark "Mr Black" Brearley

Staff Writer

Lover of the 80s and vests

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Samir - 04:15pm, 25th May 2017

Excellent review buddy, keep up the good work!

Mr Black
Mr Black - 04:27pm, 25th May 2017 Author

Thanks mate. Go play RiME :-)

dominoid - 09:23am, 29th May 2017

This looks bloody great, I shall have to pick me up a copy.