Rime: PS4 Review
Developed by Tequila Works
Leaving aside the apparent development hell that Tequila Works' game has been through, what has finally emerged on the screen for gamers is an indie that's as obtuse as it is rewarding.
You are a boy, unnamed, and waking up, apparently washed up on an island that also is unnamed. As you stagger to your feet, gathering your sense of balance and taking in your surroundings, it's up to you what happens next.
Walking around the island, it's your decisions which inform the narrative, an obtuse point which both complements and also frustrates Rime's gameplay.
Wandering around the island, the briefest of onjectives come to light and the shortest of hints help you through the gameplay's controls. It's a wonderful touch, a sense that hand-holding doesn't provide the best experience sometimes, and also that throws you into the immersive elements of it.
After all, if you awoke on a strange island, with no idea of what's going on, it's not like clues would unveil themselves to you.
Strutting around, you discover that by shouting you can activate magical statues, which become wisps and fly off to a central direction. Do this for a little longer and the world opens up in ways that you'd not expected.
Structures and camera angles inform the game's direction and your participation within it is heralded by your decisions. It helps that the simplicity of the island is beautifully realised, and the game moulds itself to your play.
Granted, there are a few occasional frame rate issues, and there's certain frustrations when you don't quite make the leap you'd been trying for, but these are minor niggles in a game that really does work on a voyage of discovery in much the same way Journey did.
And whilst it doesn't quite hit the emotional highs felt by the aforementioned Journey, it's certainly pretty close as you solve puzzles a la The Witness on the island. Thanks as well to a beautiful soundtrack that hits some evocative highs, Rime truly is a game that makes its USP its difference; small, and indie, but with moments of visual flair and smarts, it's a game that challenges and rewards.
There's much to enjoy about Rime and it's to be praised for not pandering to more baser gaming instincts. Its puzzling nature and its journey to development make it feel like something special and something that's worth sinking time into.