Game review: RiME owes a big debt to Team ICO, Metro News

RiME review – witness a familiar journey to the last guardian

After years of delay, this beautiful-looking indie game is ultimately finished – but is it truly as unique as it looks?

Considering how long it had been trapped in development hell, and how prominently its come back was advertised at E3 2015, The Last Guardian ended up having seemingly little influence when it was eventually released. Most felt it wasn’t fairly up to the same quality of previous Team ICO games, but it was still a magical practice – and very different to most other big budget titles. But no matter how much they sell, Team ICO’s work has been an influence on a number of games – particularly indie titles. And that flattery is particularly veritable when it comes to RiME.

RiME embarks with a youthful boy awakening on a mysterious island. No explanation is given for who he is, or how he has come to be there. All of which is very Team ICO. Not least because he looks so similar to the youthfull heroes from ICO and The Last Guardian. The architecture of the ominous towers that predominate the skyline are also strangely familiar, even if RiME’s vibrant colour scheme is certainly a departure from the subdued greens and brown of its inspirations.

The colours are very reminiscent of The Witness tho’, with which the game also has some structural similarities. There’s also a strenuous element of Journey in the sparse storytelling, but the question is whether RiME adds enough fresh ideas of its own to ensure all these comparisons are merely observations rather than accusations.

At very first it seems as if the boy has no special abilities, beyond a reasonable level of athleticism. He can run and leap in the normal platform game style, but – as you’ve most likely already guessed – he also stumbles about in something like the style of Team ICO’s games. He’s not fairly as awkward as The Last Guardian, albeit that slightly matters given how linear and straightforward the platform sections are.

After playing around with the controls you detect that the boy does in fact have a unique capability: a shout that is able to activate special statutes, which the game’s subtle signposting makes it evident are the key to further progress. But while this is your foot superpower there is a good multitude of different puzzle types, that involve things like collecting keys, pushing about blocks and dealing with pressure plates, and manipulating light and perspective in various ways.

But despite this multiplicity very few of the puzzles are truly very original, and most are also disappointingly effortless. It’s more common for your progress to be impeded by missing a clue about where to go next, and once you actually stumble across a puzzle its solution is usually fairly evident.

Whether you consider this to be a flaw or not very much depends on your treatment to RiME, and very likely gaming in general. With its mellow soundtrack and beautiful visuals, this is clearly not a game meant to pump adrenaline or excite anger. For the majority of the time it’s a game you can play to loosen, and which can gladfully be played with a fucking partner suggesting advice or just taking in the glances alongside you.

But while RiME is a hard game to hate we also found it difficult to love in the same way as we do the Team ICO games. A sense of mystery is all very good but the plot, if it can be called that, is so vague and ephemeral that for most of the game’s running time it just seems like an abstract mood lump. This is clearly on purpose however, and there’s a revelation right near the end that all of a sudden puts a entirely different spin on everything that’s happened so far.

But it comes too late to make the influence the developers presumably expected, and you end up calmly resenting the fact that the majority of the game is so lacking in context. Journey has clearly been another major influence, but where that game used traditional gameplay mechanisms as an interactive metaphor, in RiME the gameplay almost starts to feel like a distraction – mere busywork to occupy yourself as you budge through the levels and towards the ending.

RiME is not fairly the game it wants to be, but while it lacks the profundity it was clearly aiming for the surface level puzzle-solving and exploration can still be pleasurable. But as you note the visible inspirations it’s hard not to acknowledge that RiME’s various elements all worked better in the games they originally came from.

In Brief: RiME borrows from the best – including ICO, Journey, and The Witness – but while it’s an amiable escapade it lacks the depth and originality of its would-be peers.

Pros: Beautiful game worlds are a pleasure to explore. Superb soundtrack and lots of puzzle diversity.

Cons: None of those puzzles are very difficult or original, and the platforming is even more straightforward. Mishandled storytelling, and a general lack of challenge or context.

Formats: PlayStation four (reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC

Publisher: Grey Box

Developer: Tequila Works

Release Date: 18th May two thousand seventeen (Switch TBA)

Game review: RiME owes a big debt to Team ICO, Metro News

RiME review – witness a familiar journey to the last guardian

After years of delay, this beautiful-looking indie game is ultimately finished – but is it indeed as unique as it looks?

Considering how long it had been trapped in development hell, and how prominently its comeback was advertised at E3 2015, The Last Guardian ended up having seemingly little influence when it was ultimately released. Most felt it wasn’t fairly up to the same quality of previous Team ICO games, but it was still a magical practice – and very different to most other big budget titles. But no matter how much they sell, Team ICO’s work has been an influence on a number of games – particularly indie titles. And that flattery is particularly veritable when it comes to RiME.

RiME embarks with a youthful boy awakening on a mysterious island. No explanation is given for who he is, or how he has come to be there. All of which is very Team ICO. Not least because he looks so similar to the youthful heroes from ICO and The Last Guardian. The architecture of the ominous towers that predominate the skyline are also strangely familiar, even if RiME’s vibrant colour scheme is undoubtedly a departure from the subdued greens and brown of its inspirations.

The colours are very reminiscent of The Witness however, with which the game also has some structural similarities. There’s also a powerful element of Journey in the sparse storytelling, but the question is whether RiME adds enough fresh ideas of its own to ensure all these comparisons are merely observations rather than accusations.

At very first it seems as if the boy has no special abilities, beyond a reasonable level of athleticism. He can run and hop in the normal platform game style, but – as you’ve very likely already guessed – he also stumbles about in something like the style of Team ICO’s games. He’s not fairly as awkward as The Last Guardian, albeit that slightly matters given how linear and straightforward the platform sections are.

After playing around with the controls you detect that the boy does in fact have a unique capability: a shout that is able to activate special statutes, which the game’s subtle signposting makes it demonstrable are the key to further progress. But while this is your foot superpower there is a good multiplicity of different puzzle types, that involve things like collecting keys, pushing about blocks and dealing with pressure plates, and manipulating light and perspective in various ways.

But despite this multitude very few of the puzzles are indeed very original, and most are also disappointingly effortless. It’s more common for your progress to be impeded by missing a clue about where to go next, and once you actually stumble across a puzzle its solution is usually fairly visible.

Whether you consider this to be a flaw or not very much depends on your treatment to RiME, and very likely gaming in general. With its mellow soundtrack and beautiful visuals, this is clearly not a game meant to pump adrenaline or excite anger. For the majority of the time it’s a game you can play to relieve, and which can joyfully be played with a playmate suggesting advice or just taking in the glances alongside you.

But while RiME is a hard game to hate we also found it difficult to love in the same way as we do the Team ICO games. A sense of mystery is all very good but the plot, if it can be called that, is so vague and ephemeral that for most of the game’s running time it just seems like an abstract mood lump. This is clearly on purpose tho’, and there’s a revelation right near the end that all of a sudden puts a fully different spin on everything that’s happened so far.

But it comes too late to make the influence the developers presumably expected, and you end up calmly resenting the fact that the majority of the game is so lacking in context. Journey has clearly been another major influence, but where that game used traditional gameplay technics as an interactive metaphor, in RiME the gameplay almost embarks to feel like a distraction – mere busywork to occupy yourself as you stir through the levels and towards the ending.

RiME is not fairly the game it wants to be, but while it lacks the profundity it was clearly aiming for the surface level puzzle-solving and exploration can still be pleasurable. But as you note the demonstrable inspirations it’s hard not to acknowledge that RiME’s various elements all worked better in the games they originally came from.

In Brief: RiME borrows from the best – including ICO, Journey, and The Witness – but while it’s an amiable venture it lacks the depth and originality of its would-be peers.

Pros: Beautiful game worlds are a pleasure to explore. Superb soundtrack and lots of puzzle multitude.

Cons: None of those puzzles are very difficult or original, and the platforming is even more straightforward. Mishandled storytelling, and a general lack of challenge or context.

Formats: PlayStation four (reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC

Publisher: Grey Box

Developer: Tequila Works

Release Date: 18th May two thousand seventeen (Switch TBA)

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