Less can be more: Rime enchants with its minimalism

  • TECH
  • Saturday, 24 Jun 2017

While Rime, from developer Tequila Works, may not feature a lot of story, it does make up for it with its minimalist design and rich appearance.

The concept of minimalism is usually associated with fashion, design or architecture, but from time to time, the principle of less is more can also be found in computer games. 

One such game is Rime, in which developer Tequila Works has thrown overboard almost everything you normally find in games. The result is not a masterpiece, but it is a beautiful – and above all different  kind of game.

There isn't a lot of story in this puzzle-and-jumping game. A small boy wakes up on a mysterious island, meets a friendly fox and explores mysterious ruins. At first, nothing much happens.

One reason for that is due to the fact that, besides menu items, the game doesn't have any text or dialogue. What needs to be said is conveyed via pictures and the melancholic orchestral soundtrack.

And what pictures they are – a combination of rich colours, simple forms and lifelike animations give Rime a unique style.

As the game unfolds, it becomes clear that the wooded island is only the beginning of the adventure, and the discovery of new playing worlds is perhaps the game's greatest attraction.

There's also the gameplay itself, which consists at first of rather simple jumping and climbing combined with puzzles, but becomes more tricky as the game goes on.

Light and shade, tricks of perspective and sound all play a part in the puzzles  not really breakthrough-new ideas, but used in a clever and varied way.

However, the game is not without a few technical weaknesses. The nameless hero is not the quickest, and running from one end of the game world to the other takes a long time even when sprinting.

This slow tempo takes away from the desire to see what secrets are off the path, which is a pity because there are plenty of them.

The jumping and climbing control is also not perfect. Too often the hero hops in the wrong direction, doesn't stick to the rock or simply does nothing, especially when you're playing quickly.

These issues, combined with a not completely enthralling narrative, mean that the game doesn't really reach the high goals it sets for itself.

However, a player who can ignore these flaws will be rewarded with a game that, unlike many of today's epic blockbusters, doesn't require weeks and weeks of effort to complete.

Instead, Rime offers a few hours of beautiful pictures, fantastic music and relaxing puzzles.

The game is available now for PCs, the Xbox One and the Playstation 4, and a version for the Nintendo Switch is on the way. The price starts at around US$30 (RM128). Rime is suitable for players aged six and older. — dpa

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