Rime has been a long time coming. Since its first debut trailer in 2013, this beautiful puzzle game has intrigued me. Wanting to know exactly how it would play out, and if it could capture the magic so many similar games before it has. The world of Rime is beautiful, but its puzzles are shallow and the performance problems on the Xbox One version put a blemish on an otherwise glorious adventure.
The first thing that jumped out to me about Rime is its world. The striking art style the game delivers is simply awe inspiring. Each world has its own theme, and each one was more beautiful than the last. I wanted to explore them. I wanted to live in them. They are truly infectious. Sadly, the path through the game feels mostly linear at times. The world doesn’t match its initial impression. Still, it is one of the most beautiful landscapes in a game this year.
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC, Switch
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
Rime wears its inspirations on its sleeve. Taking after games like ICO and Journey, this puzzle-driven experience is all about, well, the experience. Moving forward and solving the latest puzzle are the driving factors. The problem arises in that the puzzles themselves are not that inventive. Most involve some sort of perspective, or simply shouting at objects to activate them. Progression is also a puzzle. I got lost several times, and with no tips or hints to move forward, I felt like I was being led in circles.
I love ambiguity when done properly. Environmental hints or subtle design choices can go a long way. Rime feels like it wants to have those moments, and at times it succeeds, but most of the time when I discovered the solution it was because it was poorly placed or hidden in the art style.
Thankfully, even with those issues it never deterred me from wanting to finish the game. I wanted to see new areas and find out what exactly was going on. This is also not a short experience, and I actually feel like that works to its detriment. By the time the revelation happened, my interest had waned. The build up is not properly dispersed throughout the game. There are too many confusing flashbacks, and even the payoff left me scratching my head. It felt ambiguous just for the sake of being just that. I am sure there is a meaning behind it all, but by the end I had lost interest.
When Rime hits though, it nails it. Figuring out that puzzle I had been stuck on, or entering a new world only to stop and just soak it in are amazing moments. That is what kept me going. There are a lot of really great ideas hidden underneath the rough moments.
Now to discuss my biggest issue with the game – the performance. I played through on Xbox One and the frame rate was downright offensive at times, stuttering constantly and dropping to unacceptable levels. Thankfully, there are no precision platforming segments or combat to worry about, so it never hindered my game play experience, but with a world this beautiful these frame rate dips definitely put a damper on the overall experience.
Rime is a beautiful game with some ugly drawbacks. Still, I recommend checking it out. The world is gorgeous and the adventure worth seeing. I hope the developers make an effort to clean up the frame rate at some point, but I also hope to see a follow-up with some of the issues addressed. There is too much beauty for this game to not return.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.