Rime (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 28.05.2017 5

Review for Rime on PlayStation 4

Tequila Works is a Spanish developer that has been quite the up-and-comer since their first game, Deadlight. It is a developer that has been very open about their influences from other games, such as Prince of Persia and Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, which were what shaped Deadlight, and how The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was the basis for subsequent game, The Sexy Brutale. Tequila Works' third game would be its most ambitious and troublesome to produce. First revealed in 2013, Rime aims to encompass everything wonderful about adventure games that makes them so compelling, all while delivering a visual tour de force. Cubed3 discovers if Rime can be more than a series of homages and have a soul of its own.

Rime begins humbly enough, with a boy marooned on an island, and immediately control is given. The unnamed protagonist who wears a striking red cape is given overwhelming freedom to explore this island. The flora and fauna that the island is teeming with manages to make such a lonely place feel alive. From boars, seagulls, boars, crabs and even lizards (which evoke memories of Shadow of the Colossus), these are little details that most developers would not take the time to include, but in an adventure game like this they also serve the narrative's themes.

Screenshot for Rime on PlayStation 4

Attention to detail is where Rime shines, and the nuances are present in gameplay and visuals because this game does zero handholding. Tequila Works rose to the challenge to have no obvious tutorial and absolutely no spoken dialogue whatsoever. The designers exhibit pure genius in how they convey so much with so little, and as it stands, Rime is a flawless example of storytelling in a video game, with zero interference from tedious cutscenes.

Rime's structure is interesting; at first it seems like an open-ended nonlinear world where puzzles can be completed in different orders. That is only really true for the first area, and after that it becomes more level-based and the path becomes more linear as the story gets more focused. Each zone of the island has its distinctive theme and setting. From the sun-scorched ship graveyard, to the gloomy, rainy black rock citadel, every locale leaves a strong impression.

Screenshot for Rime on PlayStation 4

As far as adventure games go, this one is pretty long and clocks in at about ten hours. The extremely well-hidden extra areas make for decent replayability, which is very rare in a game like this. The hidden collectables are worth getting, since they provide more context to the narrative and sometimes even are alternate outfits for the boy.

As mentioned earlier, Tequila Works loves to make its games with obvious and understandable homages, which are likely because it's easier to convey what kind of game it is. The most pronounced games that the developer references are Ico, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Journey, The Witness and Myst. The aesthetics are clear where they were inspired by, but in spite of that the designs do come into their own, and there are even some shades of Studio Ghibli in the somewhat anime-esque look of the boy.


 
There is not a single poorly mapped or stretched texture to be found, and the eye-popping surface effects on display for pretty much everything seen in the game never fail to impress... even if they do come at the cost of an inconsistent frame rate. Some of the most impressive visuals are the rain effects and the real-time reflective surfaces that have a very life-like warping and brushed imperfections. The developers pushed the Unreal Engine on PlayStation 4 pretty hard, but it would have been preferred if a performance mode was included as an option, which several titles have been offering as of late.

What makes a good adventure game is the puzzles and design. As time has proven, graphics are not enough to make a game, and thankfully, Rime not only looks amazing, but it has some of the best puzzles designed in a 3D video game. Somehow, the fact that the unnamed boy has a very limited amount of actions means the game manages a wide gamut of puzzles that utilise the environment in interesting ways that people who played The Witness may be familiar with, which involves perspective and shapes.

Screenshot for Rime on PlayStation 4

Some puzzles rely on the lighting or manipulating the real-time day and night cycle, and others will use spatial distortion, like the Lost Woods from The Legend of Zelda. All of this, on top of classic block puzzles, basic platforming and the standard find-the-key road blocks, make Rime an extremely varied and diverse adventure. It is not a terribly hard adventure game and is for the most part pretty easy, but there may be a couple of head-scratching moments that may impede progress for some people. There are some annoyances, such as how stingy the game is with what is considered a climbable surface and what isn't, and how much of the climbing and platforming is fairly braindead, which plagued pretty much every game during the seventh generation of consoles.

Tequila Works has its work cut out. If Deadlight and The Sexy Brutale suggested that they had some talent, Rime utterly cements their status as one of the greatest developers working today. When the credits start rolling it will be apparent that the developers were very passionate about making this game and it was clearly a very personal project for everyone involved in its making, which is not surprising considering Rime's central theme. This is the kind of game that, when replayed, suddenly everything has a new meaning and significance, including the reliance on symbols and lack of dialogue. This is a deft skill not any developer is capable of, and many that try result in a pretentious incoherent mess. Rime is the rare game that manages to connect on a personal and human level, while flawlessly being a satisfying adventure.

Screenshot for Rime on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

If it weren't for some technical inconsistencies, such as the frame rate and the overly braindead platforming, Rime could be a perfect adventure game. There is so much love and care poured into it that can be seen and heard just by playing it, which makes it an extremely cathartic experience. It is not often that there is a video game that can result in such a positive emotional response and succeed as a legitimate fun video game, and for that, Tequila Works must be commended. Rime is every bit as good as the games that it was inspired by, and in some cases, it supersedes them.

Developer

Tequila Works

Publisher

Grey Box

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Sounds good. Another to keep my eye on.

this one was really impressive.
i definitely wana replay

Cannot wait to get my hands on this one, like ahhh!

It's really badly optimised on PC. I'm playing it on Medium settings and still getting stuttering. So that kind of takes me out of the immersion sometimes.

Other than that though, I have been somewhat enjoying it. I do see a lot of inspiration from other games whilst playing it, like Journey (music and some gameplay elements) and Uncharted (climbing). Pretty sure ICO, as well. I have not really felt too connected with the game yet though and I've found it hard not to keep comparing it to similar games.
 
I should add, I'm only 3 hours in so far.

( Edited 28.05.2017 19:30 by Marzy )

Marzy said:
It's really badly optimised on PC. I'm playing it on Medium settings and still getting stuttering. So that kind of takes me out of the immersion sometimes.

thats too bad.
i reviewed this on PS4pro and it was stable for the most part it did get pretty spotty in some places. they are noticeable for sure.

I should add, I'm only 3 hours in so far.

keep going... the best stuff is back loaded into the game. its much longer than Journey or Ico.

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