About A Boy
In a tale inspired by stories as timeworn as Robinson Crusoe, a lone, young boy is washed up on a mysterious island’s beige beach after a lightning-filled storm. When he wakes, it’s sunny, and the sounds of seagulls and the lulling ocean waves are everywhere. Red crabs rush away from you and burrow into the sand. To your left and right are rocky entrances to something quite beautiful, a fallen civilization. Aside from the wind, the waves and the gulls, almost everything else is silent. Like you, the boy is curious, ready to explore.
The Island World’s Beauty
You can swim in the pristine, clear ocean immediately, but smacks of jellyfishes prevent you from going too far afield. An early puzzle, which asks you to release magic that looks like a meteor’s tail toward a faraway statue surrounded by smaller icons. But, man, when it turns to night, I’ve rarely seen a more beautiful, expansive night sky in a game. Stars are everywhere, and you seem to become one with the galaxy, not just the terra firma.
The Varied Mysteries
There’s a person in a red cloak. You see the person from a distance. But when you rush to get closer, the cloaked one turns a corner and disappears. Soon, you’ll meet an affable red fox, who’s a little suspicious of you. He’s there to guide you through the world (which doesn’t mean you can’t venture off beyond his lead). You’ll also find a one-eyed robot with long, reticulated legs who helps you to reach, say, ledges where even the boldest boy can’t go. And then, there’s a looming, giant white tower in the middle of the island.
The Grunting Boars
To get to some areas, you have to coax a boar family who is guarding a statue you need to touch. You’ll need to lure them away with fruit or they’ll bite you (and your controller will react with a little buzz). The feeding is something small and easy, but it’s one puzzle of many you’ll have to figure out.
The Familiar But Brain-Challenging Puzzles
As you venture forward, the puzzles become harder and harder to solve. But in these conundrums that open portals are answers to a curse that holds sway over the island. You’ll see artwork on walls and ceilings, kind of like ancient petroglyphs. They give you hints to the bigger story. Sometimes, they glow blue, too. Many remind me of the recent shrine puzzles in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The key to getting the most from Rime? Search and collect everything to get the full story.
Sometimes, It’s Too Quiet
Like Journey or The Last Guardian, there’s no dialog in the game. There’s nothing wrong with that — except I think the boy should show more emotion. He could be more careful or he could show wide-eyed surprise at the wonders he uncovers. If you were washed up on an island, wouldn’t you feel a little fear about exploring a craggy cave? He doesn’t seem to have many feelings. I get that he’s heroic, but sometimes, the strong, silent type doesn’t work in a story that has no words. (Sometimes, it doesn’t work in real life, either.)
In the end, though, the puzzles and magical environments get you by the shortcomings present in Rime. One thing’s sure: when you get to the ending, you’ll be stunned.
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