The GWJ Adventure Game Club - Game 3: RiME

RiME (2017)

IMAGE(http://www.tantalus.com.au/images/games/rime/Rime_hero_2.jpg)

RiME is an adventure puzzle video game developed by Tequila Works. You play as a young boy recently arrived on a mysterious island. A fox-like spirit guides him along his way.

You can find the wikipedia page here, though the usual warning for spoilers should apply. How Long to Beat estimates about 7 hours to completion. There does seem to be a little wiggle room, depending on how much of a completionist you are. Available on Microsoft Windows, the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.
At the time of writing, and for those of us on PC, it is cheapest on Steam, sitting at 11€54.

Please be mindful of your fellow goodjers and spoiler any discussion of plot points. Have fun, everyone!

You can find the main thread over this way. We'll be playing RiME in January 2019, with an extra month behind for stragglers. Enjoy, folks!

I've done a little exploring in this game on PS4. Looking forward to finishing it.

A game on my pile

RiME is available on Xbox Game Pass as well.

I'm in!

I have this on the PS4 (I assume it was a plus game at some point) so I'm in.

Just finished this a month or so ago. Muy bueno.

Cronox wrote:

I have this on the PS4 (I assume it was a plus game at some point) so I'm in.

Can confirm it was a PS+ game at some point, 'cause I already have it, too.

I purchased it on Steam

Happy new year, everyone! The month officially starts!
I think I’ll be unable to get to this until next week though, with the GOTY keep my hands full. I’m very much looking forward to it though!

I just picked this up on Steam for this. For some reason I could bundle it with two other games that I already owned, which brought the sale price down even more, to $4.94. Woot!

Was really planning to play this. Then Dragon Age happened :/ Must try harder. Been on my pile ever since it was released.

It took me about 5 hours (and five more to get the Platinum trophy), so fitting the game in a month should be easy.

bobbywatson wrote:

It took me about 5 hours (and five more to get the Platinum trophy), so fitting the game in a month should be easy.

Nice. I. Can. Do. This.

I played about 2 hours so far on the Xbox One. I was coming into this blind, and I've enjoyed it so far. There is room for exploration, and the puzzles are pretty straightforward.

As a side note, I'm usually not sensitive to this sort of thing, but the frame rate has been all over the place. Looking at Metacritic, this issue seems to have popped up in Switch reviews, but not on the Xbox. Odd.

I'm also playing the game on Xbox One, and I previously played it on Switch. The frame rate is much more variable than I was expecting on the Xbox, but on the Switch it was bad. They've apparently patched it up since I played, but it was nearly unplayable on the Switch at launch.

I watched a little video I saved from the early part of this game. I forgot how gorgeous it was. I'll dive in soon.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:
bobbywatson wrote:

It took me about 5 hours (and five more to get the Platinum trophy), so fitting the game in a month should be easy.

Nice. I. Can. Do. This.

Well that was kinda the idea. Shorter, bite-sized games.

I finished this tonight, almost exactly one year after I finished it the first time (Jan. 1, 2018 and Jan. 2, 2019). The aforementioned performance issues aside, it is a polished, beautiful game that evokes a real sense of grandeur and mystery. Its influences are obvious, and in some ways it's almost exactly what I would expect an artful indie game to be in 2017, especially one that started life as a Sony-published game, but I don't count that against it.

Having finished it for a second time, however, I found that my opinion of it did diminish a bit in light of knowing the ending:

Spoiler:

In the end, you discover that your character is dead, and the tower you've been exploring seems to be some kind of gateway to acceptance of that fate. It's a moving ending, especially with the older man—presumably the boy's father—visiting the boy's empty room filled with the toys and treasures you discovered.

But armed with that ending, I have to wonder at the purpose or meaning of anything you did earlier in the game, most especially with the robots. The fox is a kind of spirit guide, it seems, but what of the bird? The windmills? The robots? Are these things literal or figurative? If figurative, what do they represent in the process of acceptance of loss? If literal, are they just obstacles every soul must overcome? Does the boy learn or gain anything by overcoming them?

The game's journey and its final destination seem somewhat at odds with one another: an enigmatic, dreamlike journey to a concrete, literal ending without clear connection between the two beyond that they happen to the same character. I like both parts quite a bit, but without cohesion between the two, one or the other part ends up feeling obligatory. Did they put in the Ico-like journey through the tower because it was a video game? Does the boy turn out to be dead because that's how these sorts of games end?

For a game I enjoy every part of, the whole is unsatisfying. It just doesn't come together like it should.

I'm in! I'm gonna be honest, I didn't vote for this game. I think I'd heard about the performance issues on Switch (plus I have first hand experience of the poor performance of Sexy Brutale on Switch, which is also Tequila Works) so the €35 price tag made it too much of a risk for me... BUT, turns out it's reduced by 50% at the moment So I picked it up last night. I'm coming at it with an open mind now, and looking forward to playing a game with the Club that I know very little about.

Fingers crossed, hope you don’t have any technical issues!

Play time: 1hr 40m
Crash Count: 1

First Impressions:
The game is really striking to look at. I'd seen the artwork and trailer but it comes across really well when you're playing it. The Switch version isn't perfect (see Crash Count above), but it's not the worst either. If it doesn't get worse than this then I'll be fine with the occasional comically timed crash. Setting aside visuals and performance, here's my thoughts on the gameplay so far...

Spoiler:

I'm only at an early stage, but I have a concern about the story, or lack of story. I hope the game doesn't lean so heavily on the fact that it's artistic and stylised that it doesn't give any explanation about what's happening in the game.

For example, I'm going through the game, solving every puzzle I come across, but I don't know why the character I'm playing as would want to solve these puzzles other than that's how games about puzzles work...

Another way of putting it is this, at the moment I'm basically just pushing forward, pressing X when I see blue, pressing Y when I see yellow, and pressing B or A when I see a white ledge, and then watching some cool things happen. I hope it's gets to the stage where there's a bigger picture than that.

It sounds like I'm not enjoying the game, but I am. I'm just worried it'll be like a TV show that builds a great sense of mystery all year but makes a mess of the last episode and leaves you feeling frustrated.

So, in the absence of any obvious story,
I've started to come up with my own theories based on an image I saw of a sad looking crowned figure next to an image of my character washed up on the beach.

Theory 1. My character is the Monarch's son, who went out fishing and got caught in a storm and hasn't been seen since. The Monarch looks sad because they fear that their son has died.

Theory 2. The Pig that was guarding one of the Fox Statues was actually the Monarch's favourite Pig. My character (for no apparent reason) was so fixated on getting to that statue that they fed the Pig fruit that wasn't ripe yet, so the Pig fell ill. The Monarch looks sad because they fear that their Pig may die.

Theory 3. (Most likely of theories.) The boy who washed up on shore has released the Ender Fox - High Deamon, and Destroyer of Worlds. As a child, the Monarch never believed the stories that their Grandparents used to tell them about the Ender Fox, thinking them just to be fairy tales. But on the day that the Great Scourge reappeared, the Monarch learned that all those fairy tales were actually factual. The Monarch looks sad because they now know it to be true that the last time the Ender Fox was loose, entire Kingdoms fell...with tens of thousands of people dying on just the day that the Bane of the Lands was finally sealed away... The Monarch now weeps, thinking about what will happen their people in the coming days...

I finished this a few months ago, loved the journey but felt similarly to Clock about the ending. I had the unique experience of playing a lot of it with my 7-yr. old son with my other kids coming by to watch, which made some sections more fun; I'd cheer him on or give advice, and he'd chuck the controller to me when it got particularly challenging. It stretched out the experience, too; I likely would've blazed through it by myself, so by sharing it with the kids I had to slow down and thus got to soak up the beautiful setting and build a relationship with the characters.

(Spoilers for ending.)

Spoiler:

We didn't quite care for the ending, though, perhaps because we'd grown fond of "fox-pal" and "robot-pal." It was moving, and unexpectedly sad (and a little hopeful), but felt distanced from what you'd accomplished throughout the game. There had been enough indications throughout the game that what was happening was figurative that we weren't completely taken aback, but it didn't feel like quite enough payoff for the journey.

Played it on PC (entry-level 2017 gaming laptop), had no performance issues.

Would also recommend: Abzu, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Submerged, Gorogoa

What's it called when you end up on the other side of the walls in a game? It's kinda like you're underground, looking up, and everything's inside out? And then you're falling forever? I need to add a new counter to my next update and I can't think of the right word.

danopian wrote:

I had the unique experience of playing a lot of it with my 7-yr. old son with my other kids coming by to watch, which made some sections more fun; I'd cheer him on or give advice, and he'd chuck the controller to me when it got particularly challenging. It stretched out the experience, too; I likely would've blazed through it by myself, so by sharing it with the kids I had to slow down and thus got to soak up the beautiful setting and build a relationship with the characters.

I could see how sharing the experience with your children would add a lot Danopian, that sounds really nice.

Stevintendo wrote:

What's it called when you end up on the other side of the walls in a game? It's kinda like you're underground, looking up, and everything's inside out? And then you're falling forever? I need to add a new counter to my next update and I can't think of the right word.

The speedrunning community refers to that as an "out of bounds" (OOB) glitch, but I always call it falling into the void because it's more fun.

I could see how sharing the experience with your children would add a lot Danopian, that sounds really nice. :)

It was. We play a lot of stuff together. Initially I got them involved because that's how I kept gaming while parenting, but now we do it for its own sake. Adventure-exploration games like this and Abzu and Submerged have made the best candidates.

danopian wrote:

It was. We play a lot of stuff together. Initially I got them involved because that's how I kept gaming while parenting, but now we do it for its own sake. Adventure-exploration games like this and Abzu and Submerged have made the best candidates.

Right there with you, buddy.

I was playing Rime just this afternoon with my 5 year old. She's in an in-between stage where she's old enough to care about winning and not old enough to know how to drive a controller well, so she's been opting for a lot of watching me play instead of getting frustrated with hands-on time.

And Rime is delightful for that. It's a game without conflict (at least 2 hours in), it's super pretty and the pacing is tight, so there's not a lot of downtime for the littles to get bored.

I finished this tonight. It was quite lovely. Thoughts on the ending:

Spoiler:

Through most of the game, I felt that I was controlling the adult, and I was chasing after myself. For me, the game is all about the parent coming to terms with the loss. The boy washes up on the island, representing the first stage - denial. No, he didn't drown, he just washed up on the shore of some island. The toys in the room show up in the word, as these are the things connected to the the father's memories of the boy.

If you haven't already, be sure to look at the stage select screen after you finish.

This was very reminiscent of Papo & Yo, Maijin and the Forsaken Kingdom, and of course Ico.

Play Time: c.5hr
Crash Count: Still 1
Soul-crushing trips to the Void: 1
Times the game let my character walk around the room while also still looking through a looking-thing, creating a glitch whereby I couldn't interact with anything: 1

I'd like to take this opportunity to reiterated Clockwork's earlier post; the Switch version of RiME is a mess!

The game is growing on me though. I hooked up my good headphones to the TV to play last night and noticed how good the ambient noise is in the game. The sound of water is particularly nice. I think that tuning into that aspect of the game is adding a lot for me.

At the moment, I feel like I should give it a second playthrough when I'm finished. I didn't know much about it going in and I probably came to it with my expectations in the wrong place. For example:

Spoiler:

I was looking at the achievements I've gotten and one of them was something like "You overcame denial!"
I have no idea what that's referring too, which tells me that a lot of this game may be going over my head...

So last night I finished RiME. If I include a replay of the first chapter where I made a point to get all the collectibles, I spent about 9 hours with the game.

No more crashes etc. to report, but I have a question for anyone who's finished the game. Not sure if this was a glitch or just a weird but intentional feature:

Spoiler:

This glitch(?) showed up just after I built my Robo-friend, when we went for a walk down a stream and had to clear out loads of the black-robe-figures. What happened was that I kept spontaneously dying, with no obvious cause. This meant that progress stalled cause I kept respawning at the start of the stream while Robo went ahead without me. After many, many deaths, I noticed that my character was slowly getting paler and then going jet black (like at the end) before he fell and died.

Is this just part of the game? It made progress very difficult as I had to rush to checkpoints in an attempt to respawn a little further along. It also only stopped after I encountered another glitch which forced me to close the game, which makes me think it wasn't intended...

And here's my thoughts on the game, now that I've finished it:

Spoiler:

Warning: Incoming Rant, Proceed with Caution.

The ending really bothered me. To be honest, I was both upset and annoyed when I finished the game. I think that tacking on "it's about the death of a child" at the end was a very cynical way to try and add depth to a game that was otherwise lacking any. I don't think the game earned the right to bring in that theme.

As others have said, I also don't see a relationship between anything your character does and the game's conclusion. What does throwing fruit through a hedge so a pig will clear a path for you, or lining up three big green orbs, have to do with moving past denial? I've played, and loved, other games with big reveals at the end, and in those cases the reveals were a surprise but they made perfect sense straight away. Like I said, I went back and 100%'d the Denial Chapter to try and get a better feel for where the game's coming from. Going through it a second time, I could see some symbolism, but only cause I was really looking for it. E.g. At the end of the Denial segment the boat appears to be frozen in ice, which I could see being a metaphor for being stuck in denial. So the themes are present, but I think it's pretty thin, and I think they're present more in the surroundings than in anything your character does.

Even setting aside my issues with the theme, the implementation of the theme, and general performance, I still don't think this is a great game. It's all about puzzles, but I never felt like the puzzles moved beyond just reading contextual clues and doing what the game seems to want you to do. Maybe this is just down to personal taste, but I think puzzle games sound start by teaching you the rules/logic of the world, and them give you increasingly complicated problems which can be solved by applying that logic. In other words, I like to understand why I'm taking a certain action , and know in advance what the outcome of that action will be. That happened a couple of times in RiME, but for the most part I was pressing X, lining up golden shapes, etc., cause that's obviously what the game wanted me to do, with no idea what i was doing or why I was doing it, and then watching whatever came next.

So overall, I didn't love the game. It looks and sounds gorgeous, and I enjoyed exploring the beginning area, but for me there are a lot more negatives than positives, with the overall theme being a big turn off...

...

It's safe now, the rant is over. And it's perfectly acceptable to have a chuckle at how much this game bothered me. :)

Reinstalled and ready to go.

I recall playing maybe an hour with the boy, then 7, when it was given as a ps+ game.

I think maybe we got Minecraft on PS4 at around the same time so Rime fell victim to that and was forgotten about.

I remember it being pretty and liking the gameplay, working out the simple early puzzles together was fun. Am going to see if the boy would like another crack at it. A joint effort for the club.

If we do, I may well share all your thoughts on it and maybe he might like to write a lil review I can chuck up here in thread

...or he'll just want to play more Minecraft or Zelda, we'll see.

So yep the boy is up for the above. Looks like he'll be in control and I'll be there for viewing, tips and support. He's up for writing you a full review once we've finished.

Oh and no choice about being fussed about trophies for me, playing on his PSN sub-account. In terms of the pile though, I'm very much counting this as a playthrough for me.

We'll be playing it in 30-45 minute chunks. First session and we're up to where we were when we first played.