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събота, 7 октомври 2017 г.

Rime - It might include feelings(Spoilers!)


Rime is one of those "personal experience” puzzle games which seem to become more and more popular recently. In it you are a little boy who traverse a mystical island in trying to get to the top of a tower. The game is intended to be played alone and to make whatever you wish from the ending, all while you solve some puzzles and explore the world around you. Have Tequila Works managed it? Read on.


At the beach (Or anywhere in the game, really)

The game starts with you, a boy, awakening at a lone beach after what appears to be a shipwreck. From here starts your adventure in one beautiful and mysterious world which for good or for bad does not really explains itself. And by that I do not mean that the game does not have tutorial or something, no, just that because of its nature of "experience" it leaves a lot to the player in the matter of story and lore explanation. In many places you will find drawings which tell you what have happened in the past or how to solve whole zones of the game by telling you bits of story. 




In each zone you will have to solve one big puzzle, made up of several big pieces each of which also is a puzzle by itself. To solve the puzzles you will have to use mainly your brain, but your character also comes with one special ability - his voice. For some reason which is not explained in the game the main character can activate certain types of triggers by shouting near them. Another helper in the struggle with puzzles will be small fox which will often give you hints where you need to go by standing somewhere and barking at you. 

Puzzles and difficulty

With so many things to give you hints not much is left for you to figure out and this comes from a person who is not good at puzzle games at all. There are few a bit...trickier puzzles, but that comes not so much from not knowing how to solve them, but more from the solution being tricky to do. As a whole the difficulty of the game left me with the feeling that it is made for younger audience. But at another hand the ending and the whole idea of a game which is like "experience" really contradicts that impression, because a child might not really get the idea or be affected by the attempt for a touchy end. May be it can be played by parent and a child and the ending is the "thing for the grown up". You know how they used to put subtle references in animations which only grownups can get, so they also have fun while watching movies with their kids. May this is the idea, I do not know. But these two elements - the difficulty and the ending really contradict each other. 



Uhmm...

Speaking about the ending, let me talk a little about what I did not like about Rime (yes the ending is one thing). The game is beautiful, great OST, decent puzzles which while not really difficult pleasant to solve and quite variable with new mechanics in each zone. And all this is ruined by the camera problems the game has. Rime does not have failure state, you just respawn, but it is more than frustrating to jump of a ledge to your death only because the camera have decided to lock itself under some strange angle and you cannot clearly judge the direction in which you need to jump. The camera have made me also fail few timed puzzles, because it zooms in at random. If there is one thing because of which I will not recommend the game is the camera problems it has. Rime has its decent amount of platforming which in some cases requires timing and precision and it is not hard to do those when the camera does not cooperate, it is frustrating to even try.



Aham...about the ending. SPOILERS!!! During most of the game you try to catch up with a mysterious figure which is not explained who is, but in the end it turns out to be your father and that the story while about the son is actually in the head of the father (or I did not get it...) and the son has perished in the shipwreck. And while this is indeed tragic on its own, the father appears in the last 15min of the game and you do not have time to feel any emotional attachment to that man. For me it was a lot sadder when the robot which you revive in the 4th part and which helps you through the whole level, sacrifice itself to open the last door on the next level than learning that this whole story is reminiscence for the lost son. END OF SPOILERS!!!

 It was really out of nowhere. And not only that the whole idea of touching story and "experience" which to be different depending on how the player interpret what happens around him is not realized well which makes the game half done. 


Conclusion

Rime is a puzzle adventure game, by Tequila Works. It has some really great sides - it looks beautiful and I still listen to the soundtrack. Also the game is really easy which combined with its short length makes it a good starter game for someone who wants to try and get into the genre. In the game you will need to go through the five stages of grief and it tries to be like an "experience"- different for each player, based on his/her interpretation of the events. But it is not... Or I am stone hearted monster. There were exactly two moments where I felt something, but is very far from other games which try to do the same, like Journey or even Abzu. All the things that define a game of the genre are not there or there is not enough of them to work. And do not even get me started on the camera problems of the game. And all this is sad, because the game had potential to be good. 



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