I had a vague passing interest in Rime, then upon an equally vague investigation into gameplay footage, I chanced upon some yet again vague information about… gamerrrrrs… getting angry at the developer for some reason or other (I did actually research more about this), but that was enough for me to pre-order the game a day before it came out, much like my rationale for purchasing Virginia because some… gamerrrrrs… (albeit not very many) apparently (hilariously) took exception to it having a woman as the protagonist.
Yes, these are often my motivations for purchasing games. I am, afterall, an iconoclast, so it’s my job to destroy established cultures. What can I say - I didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose me.
This isn’t necessarily true though - I’m not actively contrary for the sake of it - I don’t think anyone really is - but I don’t like the ire Tequila drew for what happened with Rime which I won’t recap here.
Anyway, I should also mention I also watched 10 odd minutes of the first 20 minutes of gameplay and immediately fell in-love with the music which is nothing short of divine.
Last night it unlocked and I played roughly an hour, maybe an hour and a half of the game, completing what I assume to be the first area/island and reaching the main area or Tower of the game, and I’ve absolutely loved it so far. Not only is it visually gorgeous and the music beautiful, but it all comes together to form a wonderful sense of surreal atmosphere.
The level-design is definitely Ico inspired, in that you’re constantly seeing areas of the environment that you’ve either just traversed, will traverse in the near future or are being enticed to see if you can discover how to access as it might be slightly obscured, usually to be rewarded with some kind of T.A.C.O (Totally Arbitrary Collectable Object - unsure whether these have a thematic purpose in the game yet but they’re still delightful to find in Rime regardless).
There are essences of Rime that are clearly reminiscent of Zelda, (new school) Prince of Persia and Journey and I don’t mean that negatively - it’s all in the right ways. With no disrespect… without too much disrespect to the former two titles, Rime thus far feels like the perfect answer to the thoughts I have upon playing when I think “Wouldn’t this be great without all this tiresome, pointless combat.” There may actually be a change-up in play dynamic coming - I seem to remember a vague trailer for Rime indicating some kind of avoidance mechanism perhaps suggesting stealth or evasion, potentially indicating a greater threat of fail-state which I sincerely hope has been cut from the game, or at least doesn’t intrude on the experience too much, but thus far it’s been a divine experience.
As for navigation and environmental puzzling, the world is wonderfully hand-crafted not to be confusing and easily leading/guiding, eventually with a little cute something to guide you along the way. Environmental puzzles aren’t too taxing yet are often quite clever indeed, and I’ve enjoyed solving them. As easy as they’ve been, I’ve actually enjoyed the delight in solving and executing them much more than puzzles that are more taxing but end up being more about labourious setup, pixel-perfect placement and time-wasting performance that doesn’t mean anything ad infinitum (hello Talos Principle). Rime has you doing what I enjoy about the Uncharted games, too - you often climb and walk all over the puzzles themselves, then perceive their spatial relationships and solve them with ingenious solutions, just without the repetitive combat.
I really enjoyed my first session in the game, it’s tonally exceptional and at the moment, I’d estimate it’ll take perhaps another two or three hours to complete which is perfect for me. I could be wrong, there may be more in it but I don’t mind if there isn’t. Certainly an essential purchase for those who enjoy other titles mentioned.