Rime (2017, PC)

By jaunt / May 28, 2017

This game is just as beautiful as it looks in the screenshots, but is badly misrepresented. It's not about free exploration at all, it's an extremely linear series of puzzles, platforming, and scripted action sequences. The most choice you have is in a few parts where you get to choose the order you tackle individual sets of up to four areas. I think what it does, it does quite well, but the game is very far from what it bills itself as, and I for one was certainly disappointed.

   I've had to give this a lot of thought before reviewing, but undoubtedly this is not a £30 game. TL;DR: If you're here for the achievements and puzzles: great, definitely get it when it's on sale. Otherwise, if you're here for the story, don't bother. Invest your time in a game like Life is Strange.
   If you focus solely on the story you could probably speedrun it in three-four hours, if that. The ending was naff, and all the detail was hidden with the collectibles. Granted this is a puzzle-exploration game, but I for one would expect the collectibles to provide additional insight and not be the only source of information. Throughout the story I had a few "ohhhhh" moments where I finally understood what was going on, but I was very confused by it all which made it hard for me to feel emotionally connected to the character. Certain scenes were tailored towards getting an emotional response from the player but it simply wasn't there.
   The game's mechanics and features had so much potential, and yet they held your hand throughout. No looking on YouTube or forums on how to complete this puzzle or that; it showed you what to do. This is fine if the story is complex and meaningful but in this case it just takes away what little this game has to offer. I want to play a puzzle game where it shows me everything, and I have to think about how to solve it then possibly leave it for the night and come back to it the next day. My first run took one five-hour sitting whilst I was also finding secrets: it's too short.
   The stuttering and performance issues put me off but do not affect this review as I believe they will soon be patched. Much like the many bugs and crashes I encountered.
   As is typical with these games, each arc has varying depth and detail. The first was a decent length and introduced the main mechanics and told you what to do. The second was far longer but then they got shorter and shorter to the point where the final fifth arc was ten minutes long with no hidden items and the eureka moment where you finally understand the story.
   In summary, the biggest drawback of the game is that it tries to do too much: they needed to either tailor the experience towards the achievement hunters and allow for skipping cutscenes and puzzles, or present more of the story to the player. Their target audience isn't specific enough for this market and they need to recognise that.
   Saying all this, I am still playing it, and I will continue to do so until I earn all achievements. It is a fun exploration game, and any achievement hunter will take joy in playing this game; just don't pay full price. There are mechanics introduced later which teach you how to approach problems to find collectibles earlier on in the game, so I'm still entertained even after playing it once and doing the same puzzles. The graphics are stunning. Other than the fox's yap, the sound effects and soundtrack were perfect. It is a beautiful game, shame about the performance​ issues and storyline...
   To the devs: remove the fumbling animation when the player walks into a wall (and sometimes steps), that's beyond annoying. Please please please let us skip cutscenes and puzzles we've already completed. And I'll post in the Steam forum with my list of bugs...