I downloaded RiME as part of my video game grieving of God of War. After playing through a AAA masterpiece, it’s common for me to feel like other high budget games don’t quite meet my expectations. This included Watch Dogs 2, Last Guardian, and Final Fantasy XV – all great games that I want to finish at some point, but as soon as I booted up realized they did not have the polish and delivery of God of War.
So instead, I looked towards some indie games I had acquired through the PS Plus membership. ABZû was the first game for me to boot up as I remembered it being basically Flower underwater. I continued on from where my roommate had left off, and to our surprise, after about 20 minutes the credits were rolling – he had essentially beaten it before and hadn’t finished. It was a beautiful 20 minutes, but I do not have a lot to say since I didn’t really get to experience the game.
Next, I ended up starting RiME. The biggest draw to the game came from its calm music. After finishing God of War, I looked around to change my PS4 theme in boredom (it had been set to the God of War theme) – I happened to have the RiME theme for some reason (or maybe it was free?) so I tried it on and liked it for its music, ocean view, and the cute fox.
Upon starting the game, I was immediately greeted with some exceptional scores. The game begins with the player, a boy, drifting ashore to an island. The island is relatively unoccupied save some pigs, birds, and statues that respond to the boys singing.
The game does not hide it’s flaws. It’s mechanics are simple, there’s no combat to speak – some light platforming and puzzling exists. Lighting is hit and miss sometimes and the narrative is light.
However, the game successfully delivers on its goals through its thematic, symbolic presentation and music.
The game explores the concept of grieving. The relatively short game goes through the 5 stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. At first this was not very obvious. In fact, it was not very obvious what the story was about. There is a mysterious man who appears and disappears and a fox that leads the way. There are abrupt changes in the tone of the game as the chapters continue as well causing some confusion in the continuity.
But upon reflection, I think this game would have a profound impact on someone who has dealt with death in a loved one. It’s a careful representation of the 5 stages and captures the general emotions quite well. While it faces some technical problems, it’s one of those games that help elevate the genre to an art form.