Writing a review about a game like Rime is both a pleasure and a pain for someone like me. A pure pleasure because it presents a very charming, subtle, yet simple game and story that is absolute delight and magic that I want to share with every game. In the same breath, it's extremely painful to do because a game like Rime deserve to be played, pondered upon, and felt, not read about in a lengthy, wordy article. This is a game about a young boy washed upon a sandy shore, surrounded by amazing sights, sounds, creatures, and mysterious figures. So, with that brief explanation, you will realize this will be a review of very little words as this game is truly is a piece of art and who wants to read about art? It needs to be experienced by each person who will mostly likely see it and feel something different than the one before them...
Many have unfairly compared Rime to both The Legend Of Zelda and ICO. While I can see some definite inspiration, I don't think it's honestly necessary as Rime is it's own game, it's own experience, and doesn't need lofty comparisons to be the magical adventure that it is. Yes, you can explore the beaches, ponds, strange buildings and ruins whilst solving puzzles including pulling levers, collecting keys but once again, a game like this, almost defies genre or a category. I would describe it as adventure experience that borders on philosophical. Why are you on this island? What does it all mean? How often do we take in the sights, sounds, and beauty around us?
Graphics and Sound
327. That's how many 4K screenshots I took during my playthrough on the PC version of RIME. I probably would have taken more but I was truly whisked away into another time and place with the stunning world presented through sights and sounds that truly deserve my highest praise. I would have to say that Rime is one of the most gorgeous pieces of digital art I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Sometimes good graphics are nothing more than a pretty yet hollow shell but with this game, every ripple in the water, leaf on the trees, and twinkling star in the sky added to the overall experience. This truly a marvel and masterpiece of modern technical art and storytelling.
Sound plays such an important role in gaming for me. I've played action RPGs that have weak weapon and sound effects and it truly dampens the experience. Poor voice acting in a story driven game can also hurt a game. The audio in Rime not only matches its amazing graphical presentation but perfectly blends with said visuals to truly wrap you into the story and what is taking place on screen. The splashing of water upon a cliff, the shrill call of a seagull, the buzzing and glow of strange machinery and orbs couple with an orchestral soundtrack that is not only delightful but exciting, mysterious, and captivating to boot. It's seamlessly dynamic depending on your actions and it is sheer genius. This is sound design at it's finest.
While you could play through Rime multiple times for collectibles and to explore every square inch of the surrounding islands, I truly believe this is a semi-short yet fulfilling experience that's priced right (Under $30 at the time of writing) and it does nothing more and nothing less. I feel like a good movie, you could play through it again for the sights, sounds, and experience but nothing will be like the first time you play through. A huge amount of content is not really the goal or outcome in Rime.
What Could Be Better
Speaking of content, I sure wish the devs would have placed many more snippets of story and ideas through exploring and gathering collectibles. Trust me, I don't need worthless filler to hunt down and 100% in this type of game but when I found different hidden objects and trinkets, they didn't really strike me as excited, important, or intriguing. Also, on the graphical front, the game will just randomly drop 15-20 FPS for absolutely no reason but it's not a deal breaker. Lastly, even though Denuvo has been removed via patch, I really hope that every developer takes the route of CD Project Red and just ditch DRM altogether. If you make a good game, people will buy it, DRM or not.
In the end, developer Tequila Works deserves heaps of praise for this truly magical experience that is not only fascinating but an absolute delight to play. It hearkens back to the first CD-ROM games I played back decades ago; a merging of technology and art in game format. I was mesmerized from the opening scene to the very end by what I saw, what I heard but more importantly, what I felt. Awe, wonder, and contentment were just a few things that washed over me as I climbed steep cliffs, swam with jellyfish, and ventured under the soft flicker of a green torch. As this grumpy, old gamer tends to get more jaded by horrible games being released every week, endless DLC and Season Passes, Rime is truly a diamond in the rough that needs to be experienced by every gamer. Truly, a magical gaming delight.