Rime review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher: Grey Box
Developer: Tequila Works
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Rime isn’t exactly subtle in the way it telegraphs its biggest influences. After all, it’s a puzzle game in which you spend significant chunks of the game chasing after a mysterious figure in a red robe, then following around and avoiding giant creatures. If it were any more on the nose, it’d be called Journey in the Shadow of the Colossus. On top of that, with all its emphasis on climbing and jumping from ledge to ledge, Rime gives off a vague hint of an Uncharted/God of War vibe.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that subtlety isn’t Rime’s strong suit. But with influences like those, it doesn’t need to be. There are worse things for a game to be than heavily indebted to some of the best, most beloved games and franchises of all time.

Of course, because Rime wears its influences so proudly and so constantly, it leaves little room for the game to make much of a mark on its own. There’s no dialogue, just noises and paintings, and while I get that the game’s developers intended for players to develop their own meanings behind all those things — or, at least, to interpret those sounds and paintings as they chose — in the end, it makes it feel like you’re just exploring an island that was created from the scraps of those other, more fleshed-out worlds.

Again, that’s not the worst thing in the world, particularly because the puzzles are pretty enjoyable in their own right. Nothing is so challenging that you’ll be pulling out your hair, trying to find an answer, but at the same time, they’re generally difficult enough that you won’t get bored doing the same time for the dozenth time. There are moments where it briefly feels like Rime is just adding on more puzzles for the sake of having more puzzles, but all in all, it’s probably better to have a little more content than too little.

What really makes it difficult to dislike the game, though, is the art. Here, too, Rime gets a little bit of reflectd glory from a beloved classic: with its cel-shaded graphics, there are obvious parallels to be drawn with Wind Waker. At the same time, though, when you look up into the night sky and feel dwarfed by the magnificence of the stars…that’s all because of Rime, and no amount of impeccable inspiration can give a game that.

Admittedly, moments like those are fleeting, and you’re more likely to come away from Rime thinking about how much (and, luckily, how well) it draws from gaming classics than you are to feel like you’ve just finished a classic in its own right. However, neither of those things are nothing, I’ve played plenty of games that neither offered a few moments of incredible beauty nor led to fond memories of other games. Rime does both, and for that, even if it won’t be remembered in the same breath as, say, Journey, it deserves a closer look.

Grade: B+