RiME is an exploration game that stars a boy who is shipwrecked on a mysterious island. The island itself is a unique place with many ancient ruins scattered about. His goals are straightforward: uncover what secrets that lie in waiting, and safely escape.
At least that’s what developer Tequila Works wants us to think.
While the above synopsis isn’t entirely untrue, it is by no means all that RiME is. However, instead of detailing the game’s touching story; this diatribe will instead focus on how RiME uses its diverse scenery to tell its tale.
Welcome to paradise
The game starts by allowing us to roam a safe, sunny landscape. With this freedom, we’re welcomed as both players and occupants of this environment.
In this area, we’re met with harmless puzzles to solve, fantastic views of the surrounding landscape, and a cute fox who adorably wisps around. After finding sources of gratification and quick progress, optimism quickly follows.
These feelings of comfort and wonder are how RiME grabs our attention, prompting us to progress forward.
Too hot to trot
On the heels of the aforementioned comfort and wonder, we find their antithesis: peril and dread.
Later in the game, the we find ourselves on a bridge overlooking a blistering hot desert. It takes nothing more than a glance to determine that these are not the most welcoming of sands. As if on cue, we’re then greeted harshly by a gigantic, vulture-like beast.
It does not wisp around adorably.
After a violent attack, the creature knocks us off of the bridge and onto the foreboding dunes. Continuing its aggressive pursuit, protection from this dive-bombing beast can only be found by sprinting between half-standing ruins which sit between long stretches of open space.
The desert represents nothing more than a constant threat. Quite the departure from our time exploring the beach.
RiME helps you go to there
In addition to giving the player a full range of emotions, RiME’s scenery also helps lead us through objectives.
At the tallest point of the island rests a gigantic ivory lighthouse. Without a moment of doubt, the player will recognize this as their ultimate goal.
The lighthouse demands our attention due to how unique it is. That, and how much larger it is than everything else we see.
If you’ve ever played the indie classic Journey, this may feel familiar. In that world, a solitary beam of light shines in the distance. Nothing comes close to how resplendent this pillar of light is. Just like our lighthouse, there’s no question that it’s our objective.
RiME and Journey are actually quite similar. You can read more thoughts on Journey here.
So much more to see
These are just a few ways in which RiME uses its scenery to enrich an already full experience. In order to understand the extent of this game’s environmental storytelling, you should take a trip to the island yourself.
What are some games you’ve played that have memorable scenery? Perhaps those locales were telling a story of their own!