Rime is an adventure-puzzle game which bears a striking resemblance (in both style and gameplay) to Sony’s ‘The Last Guardian’ – not to mention Thatgamecompany’s ‘Journey’. Its story is based on a mysterious island and tasks players with guiding a young boy (named Enu) across its treacherous environments. Exploration and puzzle solving is accompanied by a wordless adventure, punctuated by a melancholic soundtrack and a beautifully stylised setting. Whilst Rime is described as a sandbox experience, there are points-of-no-return that gate-off exploration into a number of self-contained areas.
The expansive landscapes offer little guidance, but there are a number of visual indicators to help players move in the right direction. For instance, any item with a yellow / gold colour will often allow physical interaction (grabbing and moving, or picking an item up), whereas anything made out of jade (with a green colour) will react to the main character’s voice, in addition, any ledges with a white marking can be scaled. The controls in Rime are incredibly simple: X to jump, Square to interact, Circle to drop / roll and Triangle to interact with objects using Enu’s voice – if Enu isn’t within range of a voice-activated object, then he will just hum.
If you happen to lose your way, then a cute orange fox (who you awaken during the games’ very first puzzle) will bark and appear in the direction you’re supposed to be headed. It’s a smart and unobtrusive way to gently guide players whilst still maintaining a sense of open exploration.
I really like Rime, but I feel as though it would have benefited from a style of gameplay that hasn’t already been tried and tested many times before. I kept being reminded of its similarities to other games, rather than its own unique vision. The game has gone through a lot of changes since its original announcement trailer and after departing an exclusivity deal with Sony, so it’s interesting to think what could have been if it stuck to the its original plan.