Given its colourful nature, since its very first showings Rime has been compared to games such as Zelda Wind Waker or Journey, whereas in terms of gameplay it has also been compared to the work of Team Ico, but we should add another comparison after our own preview of the game, as its artistic beauty and its environmental mystery clearly resembles that from the masterpiece The Witness.
The game isn't about an urge to survive, despite the fact that you wake up on an island all on your own. First off you learn how to jump and climb, measuring distances and feeling kind of clumsy, and then you progress to simple puzzles, ranging from picking an item up from a hard-to-reach-place, or finding fruit that will move a piglet out of your way. There's even the option to shout, mapped to a specific button, which activates magical beacons throughout the island.
Our session lasted about an hour (or several in-game days if you prefer), in which we were trying to get closer to an imposing white tower that seemed like the first key point of interest of the game, as well as walking around the shores, meadows, and cliffs found within the initial area. It's not an expansive map and you don't get lost, instead, there's a main, central path, branching off into smaller challenges. Don't be fooled, though, as there are still secrets to find.
Towards the end of this hour we met a red fox that increased the options open to us in terms of puzzles and opportunity, and from there the challenges are also expanded in terms of number and complexity. There are Tetris-like sections, crates to push, paintings to interpret on the walls, and on top of all of this (and as another flashback to The Witness) you'll also find the first environmental puzzles based on visual perspective, with walls that disappear and angles you have to fix with your camera.
The collectable items, other than being the bait for completionists, also look like narrative devices, as small fragments to drive the story forward, but we say 'look like' because, in reality, we know little about the plot so far. There are emblems, toys, and a series of keyholes that appear in the game, the latter you can peer through to see things. There's also a hair-raising presence in the game that suggests something terrible is afoot.
Mystery is what Rime is all about, and it's certainly tempting to investigate, but it wasn't without fault though, as character controls could have been smoother, there were frame-rate drops, and character and scenery weren't very well integrated, and they felt a bit superimposed like they did in The Last Guardian. However, if pacing, narrative, and the puzzles keep progressing together until the end, we could be looking at another example of a sub-genre that right now is as popular as it is tricky to nail.
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