Rime is a single-player adventure game where you play as a young boy who finds himself shipwrecked on a mysterious island littered with puzzles to solve and secrets to discover. Among the ruins of a forgotten civilization dwell wild creatures, mysterious beings and just a little bit of magic.
Getting the boy through the ruins is your journey in Rime and there will be plenty to test you both en route. But the discoveries you’ll make along the way will keep you pushing forward, questioning everything and following a little red fox.
A powerful and surprising story
It’s not often a game has the power to make you cry. And not just the bottom lip quivering, slight eye-watering type of crying. The full on mascara-streaming type of tears. The emotion is unexpected, yet so delicately handled that this is clearly the work of masterful writers. And while we’re not going to give you even a hint of a spoiler, Rime offers some of the most powerful storytelling in gaming without even having to utter a single syllable.
Rime’s story comes through in droplets, through murals painted on walls and snippets of evolving cutscenes but mostly you’re left to work things out for yourself. As you wake up on the golden sand of the mysterious island, there’s a serene peacefulness to the area, despite the fact you’ve got no idea what’s going on. In the distance, a tower with a kind of keyhole shape rises above the treetops, luring you onwards.
It’s not quite an open world, but Rime initially gives you the impression of being one. You’re free to explore the beach, discovering the simple climbing mechanics and some of the early collectables – there are so many in this game you’ll definitely want to go exploring everywhere to unlock everything Rime has to offer. But before long you’ve got no choice other than to follow the path towards the tower. And meet your new little fox guide.
Although this is technically quite a linear game, it can feel like sometimes you’re not sure where to go next. There’s no HUD, no objective markers. You’re just a lonely little boy lost in an unfamiliar land full of mystery. Thankfully your adorable foxy friend is usually on hand to guide you with a little bark, leading you towards the next puzzle.
Much of Rime‘s puzzling elements focus on the same patterns. You’ll primarily use your voice to power up ancient orbs, free spirits or revitalise lamps, singing to bring the ruins back to life somewhat. When you’re not having a little sing-song, you’ll be moving blocks into position or lining up golden shapes to match doorways or statues. It’s in part a classic platformer, but don’t dismiss it as such.
Once Rime’s got its eerie tentacles in you, it’s very hard to escape from its spell.
So many questions and brilliant answers
Part of that is down to the atmosphere that little-known developer Tequila Works has created with Rime. Its colourful world manages to perfectly blend the darkness of the forces hiding within this mysterious island with the tropical locale. It helps that the swelling soundtrack is absolutely glorious too. It’s a score that blends perfectly.
It’s almost like if you managed to blend The Witness and Journey together with a little touch of the sinister Little Nightmares.
What with soul-sucking monsters, blinking one-eyed robots and a caped man also inhabiting this island, it’s a game that will at first fill you with questions and then slowly unravels all its secrets as it builds towards its emotional ending.
It’s also a game that manages to constantly feel unique despite the fact that technically and mechanically it’s not really breaking the mould. The minimal narrative, the deliberate move away from combat and the powerful underlying message means it’ll definitely go down in history alongside games like Limbo, Journey and Inside.
Is Rime good?
The fact we started the game all over again the moment we’d finished is just one sign of our adoration of Rime. This is a magical, surprisingly emotional journey that will hit you in the feels like an off-the-rails truck. It’s beautiful, eerie and clever and if you don’t get to play this indie masterpiece, you’re missing out.
Rime is available from May 26 on Xbox One, PS4 (tested) and PC. A Nintendo Switch version is coming Summer 2017.