Out of the ID@Xbox titles expected to be released in 2017, few have the history behind them of RiME. After being greenlit by Microsoft, picked up by Sony, and eventually finding an entirely different publisher, the game has been dragged through several companies throughout its lifetime.
With its appealing world and interesting approach to puzzle gameplay, RiME has gained a fair amount of traction throughout development. Topped off with a significant delay into 2017, the anticipation for the title has continued to build as its release date grows near. Now, with a final launch set for May 26, the game is on track to be released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.
We managed to spend some time with RiME in its current state, and we looked at how the game is shaping up on Microsoft's home console.
Getting started with RiME
Starting off on a peaceful island, the demo opens with a young boy regaining consciousness on an empty shore. After being shipwrecked and stranded, the boy has no choice but to explore the mystical structures scattered across the land.
From the outset, the game presents its world as a beautiful backdrop for its puzzles. In recent years, we've seen a growing interest in games presented as an art form and RiME is no different with the approach to styling its world. With little emotion or dialogue, the game relies on its impactful world as a driving force for its appeal.
Its minimal but vibrant presentation is pure eye-candy, only complemented by its handcrafted world.
RiME's world also factors heavily into its gameplay, being a basis for a majority of the puzzles I experienced. Players are encouraged to explore its open sandboxes throughout the problem-solving process, while searching for hints towards the puzzles' solutions. By doing this, the game blends both its puzzle and adventure elements into a single component of gameplay, with a reliance on the environment to find a solution.
While the puzzles I experienced weren't too difficult, they pose enough of a challenge to keep players engaged throughout the experience. Solutions are carefully indicated through the design of the environments themselves, which mostly leads to natural conclusions. While I can see more complex puzzles being introduced later down the line, there seems to be a heavier emphasis on the complete journey, rather than just standalone puzzle solving.
Coming off the back of some acclaimed art-driven adventure games, such as Abzu and Journey, RiME has a clear appeal within today's industry. Its minimal but vibrant presentation is pure eye-candy, complemented by its handcrafted world.
My only concern at this point in time is the game's presentation on Xbox One, which may suffer as a result of the console's hardware. Running these styles of games at a high resolution can be taxing on today's consoles, and that appears to have had an effect on its styling for the Xbox One version. While the gameplay is unaffected, the blurred edges of a lower resolution significantly affect the impact of the sleek and minimalist style.
What does the future hold for RiME?
It will be interesting to see how RiME fares after its release next month, having been in development for quite some time. While similar games were met with wide acclaim, RiME definitely isn't guaranteed similar success. If our demo was anything to go on, the game has the potential to succeed, provided it manages to successfully convey its promised adventure.
For now, there seems to be little in the wild about RiME. With the mystery and secrets behind its world being major pillars of the story, these will likely be best experienced first-hand by the player. For now, RiME is available for preorder on the Xbox Store, and it is currently on sale for $26.99. Make sure to check back next month for our full review.
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