Release date: 2017
Version played: Xbox One in 2017
A third-person puzzle/platformer developed by Tequila Works (also known for Deadlight), RiME was originally released in May 2017. Players take control of a young boy who washes ashore an island, and must navigate it’s tricky puzzles, via the use of perspective, shadows, timing or platforming, as well as discover the story of the world around them.
+ the game looks absolutely phenomenal. I am a huge fan of simple, cell-shaded graphics (see: Wind Waker) and this was on display in full. The island vista is gorgeous, the player character himself is cute, but never over designed, and various other entities (dun dun dun!) range from adorable to outright terrifying
+ the music is amazing, and reminded me of equal parts the Lord of the Rings’ Concerning Hobbits and the menu theme of Ori and the Blind Forest. The music goes from uplifting to haunting, depending on the mood and emotion it wants to elicit – and gosh, there are going to be a lot of emotions
+ perhaps most importantly, the gameplay is standard but effective. Platforming puzzles feel tight, and you’ll rarely, if ever, fall off a ledge without intending to. The character’s main gimmick is a simple ‘yell’, which can do things like stoke lanterns or activate statues, or make a charming ‘hum’ sound if nothing is nearby. Puzzles involving light/darkness or perspective shots through a looking glass were among the most fun I’ve had in a long time
+ the story is told in bits and pieces, and you’ll need to collect various things throughout the five huge, open-world stages to get all the details. The basics of the story are made clear relatively early, but there is enough guessing that the ending may still shock you
– the world design is not always entirely clear as to where to go next, and some of the environments are very dark (darker than the brightness setting indicates should be ‘dark’), so there were one or two frustrating moments of just holding a direction and hoping for the best
> If you’re into this sort of thing, the game could almost be summed up as “Myst + Ori and the Blind Forest + Shadow of the Colossus” all in the style of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, with a bit of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons thrown in.
Should you play this game: Definitely. From the very first moments – a panning shot of a colourful, multi-layered island as you slowly learn what abilities you have – I was enthralled. I finished the story in a single 6-hour sitting, but there is still so much more I want to know that I don’t simply feel obliged to replay it to get collectibles, but I absolutely want to.