Game wise I am in a good place right now. Divinity Original Sin 2 released this week. Destiny 2 Forsaken will release soon, I am playing Shenmue I and II for review right now and I am already on the Spiderman hype train. Which means RIME, a game I specifically pick up for the weekly, is in danger of going back to the dreaded backlog.
Rime is one of the few games that Dan Peterson from PlayStation Access keeps recommending from time to time whenever he is quizzed about small but amazing games. Incidentally, I wanted to try out What Remains of Edith Finch, incorrectly assuming that it was one of the PS Plus games that I own. It wasn’t, but RIME was, so I thought why not and pressed the download button.
What Does The Fox Say?
To be honest, I was ready for another walking simulator, but at the very least this was going to be really small, and not like the “Kill Me Now” drag on that was Heavy Rain. But boy was I in for a surprise.
RIME is a puzzle platformer
But more importantly, it is a bona fide puzzle platformer. Not a walking simulator masquerading as a puzzler. Not a 2D scroller with sprite images where pixel perfect jumping is imperative, but an honest to god cell-shaded 3D puzzle platformer. Taking place in an island you control a boy who can jump push, pull and sing and not a lot more as he tries to explore an island led on by a fox under the watchful eye of a mysterious hooded figure. You don’t walk 2 minutes before running into a new puzzle, and each area provides its own set of challenges, whether it’s about holding your breath while underwater or if it’s about staying out of the sun to avoid the claws of a giant eagle. Think of him as young mute cell shaded Nathan Drake out for a mysterious treasure. (I did not know where I was going with that one, but I think it landed pretty well).
RIME is also beautiful
But that’s a given with every indie game out there, isn’t it? But RIME also finds a way to push the players forward without resorting to an imaginary glowing line on the ground or a glowing dot on your mini-map. And that’s what I feel is the most beautiful of all. RIME makes excellent use of color and contrast to subtly nudge you forward. Green objects to be spoken to, gold is puzzle pieces to be moved around, and the fox barks (what does a fox say anyway?) to let you know where to go next from time to time.
I was also really intrigued by the red stranger who seemed to follow or more like monitor my progress throughout the game. Add to that the fact that the stranger made it a point to stand in the most picturesque of places, I soon myself playing an internal game of screenshotting every appearance of the stranger and trying to guess where he would appear the next. All of this was achieved partly because RIME never pushed me.
RIME is also very peaceful
Most games these days tend to ask you to be fast. Either through the very nature of the gameplay or through their narrative, creating a kind of urgency that urges the player to complete the game as quickly as possible (unless you are playing Yakuza of course). But RIME has that calm, peaceful, quiet thing going on that lets you play it in the most relaxed way possible. Especially after playing Persona 5, where I felt I was being strong-armed into efficient time management, RIME was a nice change of pace.
RIME is also a lot like MYST
A lot of people have cited RIME, taking inspiration from games like Journey, The Last Guardian, and ICO. But I also felt that it was heavily inspired by the legendary MYST (the first clue was obviously the name: RIME stands for Rhyme, while MYST stands for Mist duh!), where players could explore a mysterious island, unlocking puzzles and finding more about the world through little dialogue. My memory is a little hazy on MYST (pun intended!), but it just felt like a game heavily inspired by the classic.
RIME is the kind of games, you want to pick up and play from your backlog. It has the perfect balance of difficulty, length, visuals, and core gameplay to satisfy any kind of gamer. It’s also one of those games, which you can play for like 30 minutes every time after your long DOTA, RS6 or PUBG session, just to calm your nerves and feel good about yourself (Because let’s be honest you aren’t bringing that Chicken Dinner home as often you would like).
So go on, press that download button, and try out RIME.