“RiME” Lands on the Nintendo Switch…But its Beauty is Marred by Flaws
By Jessica Brown On 13 Nov, 2017 At 02:57 PM | Categorized As NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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VITALS:

  • TITLE: RiME
  • DEVELOPER: Tequila Works
  • PUBLISHER: Grey Box & Six Foot
  • GENRE: Adventure/Indie
  • PLATFORM: Nintendo Switch (also on PS4, XB1, & PC)
  • RELEASE DATE: November 14, 2017 (eShop); November 21, 2017 (physical)
  • PRICE: $29.99 eShop; $39.99 physical

RiME is an indie adventure game from developer Tequila Works that was originally released on the PlayStation 4, XBox One, and PC back in May but which has just been released for the Nintendo Switch. While the Switch version of RiME was originally planned to release at the same time as it did on other platforms, the developer ended up delaying the Switch port because they felt like it didn’t meet their quality standards and wanted a bit more time to work on it. Ultimately, they hoped, the game would present a similar play experience on the Switch as players would have gotten on other platforms. I’ll talk about whether or not this paid off later on in the review, but let’s first jump into what the game itself is like.

At its heart, RiME is a beautiful journey that the player embarks upon that is entirely experiential in nature. The game has no dialogue or written notes to find, but rather it focuses completely on the desire to explore the mysterious island the player wakes up on, solving a few puzzles along the way, in the hopes of unraveling the mystery of why you ended up there in the first place. Within the game’s opening moments it is quite apparent that the main character (an unnamed young boy) has washed ashore on a strange island after a major storm, but the circumstances around it are left up for us to interpret. And, while the young boy may initially feel alone on the island (apart from the various wildlife that happens to call it home), he soon meets a fox that seems eager to aid him on his journey as well as finding himself being watched by a figure in a bright red cloak. The game is non-combative in nature, instead forcing the player to rely on their skills at platforming and their drive to explore the island, finding hidden collectibles and figuring out the path forward. The game does provide some clues about what you should do next or how you should interact with certain items, but ultimately most of it is left for you to discover for yourself.

Although the island is quite big and the game does encourage you to explore its various nooks and crannies for secrets, the game ultimately is fairly linear in nature, driving you to make your way towards a large tower that stands high above the island. Most of the time it’s pretty clear what you ultimately need to do next, but it may take you a bit of time to figure out how you need to accomplish it. Yet, because there are no enemies and the game isn’t time-limited, you are entirely at your own pace to uncover the island’s secrets.

Unfortunately, despite the developer’s delay of the game in order to ensure that it met a similar quality standard to that found in the other releases, I personally found that RiME has fallen considerably short of that goal on the Nintendo Switch. This isn’t, in my opinion, a failure of the Nintendo Switch itself but rather I feel that this version of RiME is merely a poorly-optimized port.

One of my major issues with this port is that the framerate leaves a lot to be desired. In the best of situations the game feels like it is sitting at around 30 FPS (which is quite playable, even if not ideal), but there are plenty of instances where the frame rate seems to choke out. In particularly egregious instances, I’d say it dropped close to 15 FPS or less. Given that the Switch version of RiME, while pretty, doesn’t look like it should be that taxing on the console, this feels like a major failure if the goal was to create a functionally-equivalent port. Beyond the issues with poor and inconsistent performance, there are bugs with textures (odd color patterns here and there), an overall sluggish (and sometimes unresponsive) menu, and random glitches that I’d have hoped would have been fixed (such as the game suddenly transitioning from the middle of the night to midday without any reason at times). In addition to all that, the overall visuals, which still quite beautiful in their own way, feel like they are rendered at fairly low settings, giving this port a look closer in aesthetic to a PlayStation 2 game.

Thankfully, the game controls well with the Switch Joy-cons, so I never had any issues controlling the character and making him do what I needed him to do.

What makes the whole thing frustrating is that RiME, by all accounts, is a beautiful experience and a thought-provoking journey that shouldn’t be held back by such glaring issues with optimization and quality control. The game has the potential to not only look good but to handle well too, yet I feel as if Tequila Works really let us down with this port. I should point out that the game does have a rather wonderful musical score and that does make it through to this version of the game, but unfortunately that alone isn’t able to save this experience. While playing RiME, I did genuinely find myself having fun, but it was rather bittersweet. When the game felt like it was behaving itself I would get lost in wanting to explore the island, find new ways to reach different areas, and looking for various items scattered to and fro, but then the game would get bogged down in poor performance or have some jarring glitch that took me away from the experience.

Thankfully, there is always the hope that the team will roll out an update for the game that fixes some of the issues the game currently has, and if they do that I’d have no problem giving the game a solid recommendation.

As it stands now, though, I think I’d feel more comfortable recommending you pick up RiME on the PlayStation 4, XBox One, or PC.

 

……….

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided by the publisher

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