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Review: Rime

I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t understand why I woke up on this island. Where is everybody? What am I supposed to do? The tower in the distance seems to call for me, should I go there? It’s time to start walking, I must discover the truth behind this gorgeous island. While I’m walking through the peaceful environment I can’t help but wonder what will happen to me at the end. It can’t be all this good, can it?

Explore the island

Rime (or RiME) is a very atmospheric game that tries to tell a story in a unique way. There’s no narrative or spoken word, instead, the game tells its story using the environments and incredible music. The music of Rime truly is from another level and serves as the only voice in the story. If you listen carefully, you’ll know what to do and where to venture. Besides the incredible graphics, the music is without a doubt the most important element of Rime, without it, it wouldn’t offer the same experience. Not a lot of games are capable of truly moving my heart but Rime succeeded, mostly because of the unforgettable music that guides you through this mysterious but gorgeous island.

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Rime isn’t an instrumental game however, it’s a game where you’ll need to explore the secrets of the island on your own. How you do so, is entirely up to you. The world of Rime has boundaries so it’s not an open world completely, but it doesn’t hold your hand the entire time. Shortly after you wake up at the beach, you’re free to go wherever you can go on the island. Some places are out of your reach so you know you shouldn’t be there already but aside from that, the game truly gives you enough freedom to go where you want to go. But where should you go? Since there’s no spoken story, you’ll need to find out where you’ll need to go on your own. The developers added a lot of visual hints and indicators, showing you the right path. You’ll never be lost in the world of Rime since you’ll always have some orientation, the most important one being that huge mysterious tower. It’s crazy how the developers managed to do it but they managed to find the perfect balance between exploration and story progression.

Time to solve some puzzles

Of course, just walking around while enjoying the scenery and music isn’t the only thing Rime has to offer. At its core, Rime is an environmental puzzle game. The puzzles aren’t just an extra layer the developers put on top of their world, they truly are the beating heart of the game. The puzzles all feel natural and whenever you face them, it feels like they were supposed to be there instead of just being programmed in a world where they don’t belong. Solving the puzzles always feels natural since they are part of the total picture. The puzzles aren’t that hard but remain fun until the very end.

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Each time you solve a new puzzle, a new path will open, revealing more of the intriguing world. The puzzles vary from turning on switches, moving objects, finding small statues and even hiding from fierce creatures. There’s no combat in Rime so if you want to survive or reach a new path, you’ll need to hide or distract the creature blocking the way. It’s actually good to have a game without combat since it shows us that combat isn’t the only way to find a solution. The best part about the puzzles is that they stay interesting until the very end. The style of the game and thus also puzzles changes near the end of the story, keeping you wondering what will happen next until the very end.

It’s not perfect

Rime certainly leaves behind a strong impression. It’s one of those rare games that really manages to move me on an emotional level. After you find out what’s going on, you’ll jump into the gorgeous world for a second time. Going through everything while knowing and understanding the truth behind it all is an incredible experience. But, Rime isn’t perfect, to be honest. The game does suffer from some technical flaws.

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The biggest issue is the frame rate drops. Now, let me be honest for a second, in most games, I really don’t notice frame rate drops but in Rime, you really can’t ignore them. The game often stutters while running around, running always seems to force the engine into blocking. It’s a shame since it really takes you out of the immersion when you notice the game responds a little too late. Besides this there are also some smaller control concerns, making your jumps a bit harder than they should. It appears the developers tried to create a gorgeous world but perhaps they forced the engine a little too much to enable the game to run smoothly. I hope a future patch can fix this.

Conclusion:

Rime isn’t a traditional game trying to impress with a lot of different mechanisms or complex stories. Rime is a pure work of art which combines incredible environments with probably one of the best soundtracks ever created. It tells a story in a way that’s new, the world speaks for itself and the ending of the story will leave you behind wanting for more. Rime isn’t perfect, there are some technical flaws that take away the immersion but don’t let this stand in your way. If you’re looking for something different, a game you’ll remember for many years to come, try out Rime. You won’t be disappointed.

8.5/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.