What I Disliked
Swimming Is a Pain
Swimming in 3D video games continues to be an issue even in 2017 and RiME, sadly, isn’t the exception. There’s more than a few moments in RiME that include swimming and each of them aren’t very fun. It doesn’t help that the camera system in the game isn’t that great, and it somehow becomes worse during underwater sections. While I’m glad the developers implemented simple two-button controls (A to dive, B to surface), it’s the camera that gets in the way, never truly giving the player the best angle and often times getting stuck on walls. It’s easy to get confused underwater and I found myself either searching first for air bubbles or places to surface rather than focusing on where I needed to go. To add insult to injury, your character can’t breathe very long underwater either, which once again, didn’t make these sections very enjoyable to play.
Puzzles Are Hit and Miss (But Mostly Miss)
It’s disappointing that the puzzles in RiME fall a little flat. There are a handful of clever ideas that deal with time manipulation and playing with night and day cycles but most of them are retreads of one another. Sometime after the second chapter, I felt like RiME had shown all of its cards and failed to deliver anything inventive in its puzzle design. They don’t require a ton of thought process either. I was mostly moving a contraption around in circles, moving a crate, or carrying various orbs. It doesn’t sound interesting on paper, and even less so in practice. It’s a shame that RiME doesn’t add another element to its design. There’s exploration, platforming, and solving puzzles. That’s really about it. For some games that may be enough, as long as they excel at them. RiME, sadly, doesn’t quite hit that mark.
Switch Version Suffers
Okay, so this is a big one. I understand that this might be a tough pill to swallow, but RiME on the Switch isn’t the optimal way to play. Performance is wildly inconsistent with frequent technical hitches rearing its ugly head. It’s especially noticeable when running around the open world and getting to the next objective. It’s choppy and very distracting. The Switch is known to be an underpowered console when compared to PS4 and Xbox One, but RiME isn’t a graphically intensive game so it’s a shame when these problems popped up. RiME wasn’t perfect on those consoles either, but the technical hiccups are more prominent here on Switch. While frame rate took a serious drop in the outside environments, it did manage to stay relatively smooth in interior sections or smaller environments. If I were to take a guess, the problem seems to lie with how the game is loading and streaming assets on the Switch. It doesn’t feel like it’s loading fast enough, which causes frequent pauses during gameplay. The optimization is disappointing and I’m hoping Tequila Works can iron it out sooner than later in a patch.
Playing in handheld mode doesn’t appear to remedy these problems either. In fact, image quality takes a huge hit when playing on the go. The first time I played RiME in handheld mode, I was surprised by how blurry it was, which made seeing specific objects harder to make out. It’s obvious that it’s running at a lower resolution than the Switch’s 720p display. My eyes did adjust to it after some time but I would be lying if I didn’t admit I was pining to play it on the big screen at home. Despite this, however, RiME remains playable on the go which may be the most impressive thing about this.
If the Switch version really is the only way for you play RiME then, by all means, give it a spin. But if you have the opportunity to play it on another platform, that would be my recommendation.