Developer: Tequila Works
Publisher: Grey Box
Format(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
RiME is one of those games that I’ve been eagerly anticipating playing for a long, long time, but unfortunately had to skip during its initial release due to ‘other stuff’ coming up. It’s a shame too, because everything I’ve seen of the game has looked fantastic, whilst everyone who I’ve spoken to about it has simply sung its praises.
Now, with the release of the RiME on the Nintendo Switch I’ve finally been able to take part in the game’s vibrant journey and I feel… underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, from a gameplay perspective it certainly delivers, but unfortunately its presentation on the Nintendo Switch is incredibly lacking and looks nothing like the game I’ve heard so much praise for.
I feel I need to emphasise that I don’t think RiME is a bad game. In fact, I was a big fan of how it played and the un-obtrusive way in which it allows the player to discover everything by themselves. It’s just a victim of having a bad port on the Nintendo Switch.
In fact, RiME itself is an utter delight to play. You take on the role of a young boy who wakes up on a small beach on a beautifully vibrant island. Where did he come from? What was he doing? Why is he here? These aren’t questions you’ll find the answer to initially, with the game instead allowing the player to roam around and discover the mysteries of the island (and the strange cloaked fellow who’s seemingly following you) themselves. And believe me, there’s some startling stuff to discover on your adventure…
This means running, jumping, and climbing around the island and all of its strange structures. There’s an abundance of oddities to discover and they’ve all got some mysterious puzzles or platforming segments tied to them, so you’ll definitely have to get your thinking cap on if you’re going to make your way through them all. There’s something incredibly peaceful about the game though, with no gameplay aspects ever causing frustration but instead feeling both fair and fun in their design.
There’s always something out there to discover too, with plenty of optional areas to explore that don’t necessarily tie into the main game but feel like essential viewing anyway; everything about the game is so carefully structured and put together with such finesse that it’d be a crime not to explore it. That being said, a lot of exploration will come to you naturally since the game never really tells you where you need to go or what you have to do anyway, so there’ll be plenty of moments where you’re simply taking in the world whilst trying to figure out where you need to go next.
It’s worth mentioning that you never resort to violence in the game though, with it being a puzzle-platformer exclusive experience for players. You’ll certainly come up against adversity, but each situation is resolved through wit or a few quick reactions. It’s quite befitting of the overall vibe of RiME and ties in well with the journey players go on, so you won’t miss it at all – just don’t expect there to be too much action throughout the game.
Unfortunately, whilst RiME offers a fantastic experience that promotes exploration and discovering everything by yourself, the Nintendo Switch version of the game is let down by its shoddy presentation. The frame rate often finds itself struggling to keep up with the action, with some of the drops kicking in during busy segments and others randomly occurring for seemingly no reason. I don’t think I ever went more than a minute in the game without seeing the frame rate drop for a few seconds; sometimes it’d be during a platforming section too, which could be extra frustrating.
Besides the struggling frame rate, it’s also clear that RiME has took a big hit in the visual department in order to run on the Nintendo Switch. I played a lot of the game in the handheld mode and everything looked blurry; it’s definitely a lower resolution than the 720p that the screen is capable of. You could see there’s been a clear loss of detail and the world was simply lacking the life and personality that’s been made so clear in other versions of the game. I just don’t understand why it’s so lacking here, especially when more visually impressive titles such as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle have managed to look so good.
It does at least look a little better when played on a TV, but not much. You can still see that a lot of detail is missing and that you’re not seeing the best of RiME, though the previously mentioned framerate probably doesn’t help either. It’s just a disappointment, especially since we’ve come to expect better from the platform with other releases.
The visual downgrade is a massive shame, because believe me, RiME can be an absolutely breath-taking game to look at. I’ve always appreciated a vibrant, cel-shaded style of visuals, and RiME absolutely nails this with some stunning vistas to go along with every small detail that you’ll find across the island. It’s just unfortunate that you won’t see the best of it on the Nintendo Switch, with it instead reserved for the more powerful gaming platforms. Still, it does have its moments when it manages to look enchanting, but unfortunately they’re few and far between.
RiME should take the average player around six hours or so to beat, though there’re plenty of different collectibles to be found that could extend that time. A lot of them are really well hidden, whilst others easy to see in plain sight; you’re definitely going to have to put the work in and explore every nook and cranny of the island if you want to find everything.
To be frank, I’m a bit miffed that it was on the Nintendo Switch that I got to play RiME, because it really is a special little game. I’ve seen it played on other platforms and it not only looks stunning but plays a lot smoother too, so the poor frame rate and sketchy visuals here was a little disappointing. Despite finishing the game already, I’m looking forward to tackling it again on the Playstation 4 and getting to see it in a more positive light. Of course, it’s more than playable on the Nintendo Switch and you still get to see a lot what makes it great, but the presentation is just so lacking compared to how it performs elsewhere.
There’s absolutely no doubting that RiME is a great little game, but unfortunately the Nintendo Switch edition of it falters. The graphics are severely downgraded and the frame rate consistently drops throughout gameplay – it really falls short of the high standards set by the game during its earlier release on other platforms.
To its credit, it never feels unplayable and you’ll certainly be able to see the game through to the end. You can see there’s a thoroughly enjoyable adventure on offer; it’s just hidden behind what is a very poor port. If you want the definitive and most enjoyable RiME experience, you’d simply be much better off playing it on a different platform.