I like Rime. Perhaps not as much as I was hoping, but I like it.
Now, what do I want to say about it?
Part of the problem with a game like Rime, or rather, the story in the game, is that saying too much might well spoil it. So, I’m going to try to avoid spoiling the story, while talking about how the game feels and plays.
I might cover the story another time, but I’m not sure if I have enough to say about it.
A young boy awakens on a beach – apparently he’s washed up there. Cliffs are directly in front, while to the left is a large tower – perhaps a lighthouse. We have no idea who the boy is, how he got there, or what he needs to do to ‘fix’ things.
A little wandering reveals buildings, with a half finished walkway approaching the entrance, and in the distance an even larger tower than the ‘lighthouse’ you saw first. It also reveals some beams of light that shine up into the sky. At first, the atmosphere felt MYST like to me. You’re alone on an island with no idea how to progress. That atmosphere doesn’t last that long, but it was a nice introduction for me
Searching for the source of the beams leads to the first hints of how the world works. The boy shouts at the ‘statue’ that’s the source and it ‘dissolves’ into light, which flows away, down a hill towards a larger statue.
Eventually, by solving various puzzles, you’re able to find the sources to all four of the beams of light. One is up in that ‘lighthouse’, and just before you enter you see a figure in a red cloak walking inside – but they’re nowhere to be found once you get there.
One you’ve solved the final puzzle to do with the beams of light, a fox appears. This fox will be your sometimes guide, yipping and running to show you where to go next; or perhaps to bring your attention to things.
From that point, a stairway appears up to the half finished walkway, and with another puzzle (a simple one, if you’ve been paying attention so far), you can explore more of the island.
The boy is quite nimble. He can run, climb up vines, leap up to ledges, move along ledges, swim underwater and shout at things.
Many of the puzzles revolve around his shout interacting with blue flames or glows. Sometimes a shout triggers the end of the puzzle. Sometimes time is spent setting things up for a shout.
There are a lot of different ways these puzzles are set up, and you slowly find more of them as the game goes on. Sometimes you know exactly how to do something, because you’ve done it before. Other times the solution is subtly different and requires more thought and experimentation. The puzzles slowly evolve – with occasional callbacks to earlier ones – rather than being the same throughout.
Over time, you’ll also need to understand how the world works. In the beginning it felt very much like a ‘standard’ magic world. That is, some kind of magic that you can control, a fantastical animal or two, but mostly running on the kind of rules our world has.
It’s not … quite like that. The most I’m willing to say is that it gets really interesting later on.
At first, the only hazards are your own clumsiness1. As I said, your character is quite nimble, and the controls make it difficult (but not impossible!) to avoid falling off cliffs by accident. There were very few times I felt like I was fighting against the controls; which helped me sink into the world further.
Apart from a few animals and birds2, you’re quite alone in the beginning. Later you come across some creatures that appear to prefer you dead, and others that are indifferent to you. Later still, there are even a few helpful ones.
This makes for a strange feeling in the later stages where you feel alone, and yet not quite alone. Of course, none of them are what you might call ‘of our world’, though they hint at things and people from our world.
The world itself3 is atmospheric, and even if you don’t find the little bits of story around the place, you get hints as to what might be happening here. There are cutscenes between ‘chapters’ that given even more hints. Similar to Dear Esther, however, there’s a lot of ambiguity at this point.
Even as you head towards the endgame, there’s still enough ambiguity and mystery to keep the interest in the story high. The world also changes enough between areas to make you change your approach and keep things interesting that way.
And the ending? I was both disappointed by it, and satisfied by it. Actually, conflicting emotions seems to be this game’s forte. Feeling alone, though there are others; disappointed and satisfied …
I don’t really know what to make of that; but it intrigues me.
Really, the whole game intrigues me. I still want to know more about the ‘world’, and the ‘lore’ and other things I can put into quotes. I’m not sure I want it enough to play through again.
Make of that what you will.