Rime is the latest game to release from Spanish developer Tequila Works, who are based in Madrid. Originally announced at Gamescom 2013 as an indie title under the PlayStation umbrella, Rime has since been purchased back by Tequila Works, and has gone developmental changes since the initial announcement; the once Sony exclusive now sees release on Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch at some point later this year.
The aesthetic behind Rime is pleasant and borrows inspiration from games like Ico, Journey, and, The Last Guardian. You’ll notice the comparisons immediately, in the world and in the gameplay, which is an indie adventure game that puts focus on exploration and puzzles instead of combat and objectives to complete. A single-player puzzle game excels at what it does, except when it doesn’t and stumbles on its own mechanics, sometimes with puzzles that don’t have clear instructions and feel more like chore work. Puzzle-solving quickly becomes boring when you’re left with menial tasks required a move on to another section, luckily, the world is a standout part of the bigger picture, and you won’t find yourself stuck on any given puzzle for a long time.
Rime begins with a child waking up on an island where he is stuck and must work his way through continuous puzzles throughout the island that push you into new environments, and where the focus is exploration instead of combat and violence. It’s here in the execution that Rime exceeds at telling a compelling and satisfying game with an ending that feels just right.
That’s the thing about Rime, with next to no narrative, the player is left to their own to piece together a semblance of a story, and it’s here that you will either love what Tequila Works is trying to say, or hate it because it’s a disjointed series of sequences that are sprinkled throughout your journey. The ambiguity behind Rime’s finale is what will divide the player base, as each player will see something different, and it’s in the ending that will either leave you teary eyed or unmoved by the ending.
The cel-shaded art exudes beauty and life and the hand painted surroundings full of colour ooze detail that ask you to stop and stare. It’s the beauty within that often makes you stop and stare at your environment, it’s this that brings the world to life, from the bluest beaches to the darkest caves.
A big part of any game is the ambience and the soundtrack, Rime’s soundtrack is phenomenal and the soul-soothing pieces found within bring about a feeling of loneliness that only music can bring on, there is a certain charm to David Garcia’s music for Rime, and the classical instruments work in tandem to bring about a fantastic experience.
This game will divide players, whether you love it or you hate it, Rime is something that should not be missed. The world and mysteries that surround Rime are great, and enough reason to visit this game. Borrowing inspiration from bigger titles works here because never during my playthrough did I find an element that was heavily borrowed and thus reliant on it to move a plot forward, instead you’re treated to a mysterious land that’s begging to be explored.