Tequila Works’ RiME Offers A Wordless World of Wonder
Released later this month, RiME is one of the most promising platformers of 2017 for good reason.
Sometimes a gamer just wants to kick back, relax and play something that radiates tranquility, with no consequence for player death and the ability to roam around a beautiful game world without the worry of some overpowered enemy lurking around the corner. RiME, the upcoming puzzle-title by Madrid-based studio Tequila Works, certainly ticks these boxes. (Fans of The Sexy Brutale may recognise Tequila Works as the studio who supplied the artwork for the title.)
In a game without a single word of dialogue, players step into the shoes of a character simply known as the Boy. Awakening on a seemingly uninhabited island, the Boy must solve puzzles and explore the island in order to escape. Aiding the Boy in his journey is the Fox, who will not only act as a guide through the island terrain, but also as a means of providing a hint to the solution of a puzzle. Although there are enemies the Boy will encounter on his journey, the game is devoid of combat. The focus instead is on outsmarting opponents, or simply avoiding them. This wasn’t something I experienced in the demo, but seeing as I only played a small fraction of the game, this is unsurprising.
The lack of dialogue is absolutely no issue, as the game’s hauntingly beautiful soundtrack completely makes up for it. Composed by David Garcia Diaz, it’s the perfect companion to the Boy and the Fox as they roam the island discovering secrets. It’s many things simultaneously: mellow, somewhat desolate and melancholic but also serene. With gentle piano and swells of vocals and strings at just the right moment, it’s as breathtaking as the game itself.
Creative director Raúl Rubio cites numerous sources as inspiration for the art style, from artists such as Salvador Dali and Joaquin Sorolla to famed Miyazaki films Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. The first thought that went through my head when I first sat down to play it was ‘oh, this reminds me of Wind Waker’, a comparison that’s been drawn before. By contrast, the studio’s first game, Deadlight, has an aesthetic that’s the antithesis of RiME’s airy, bright and colourful style: dark, shadowy and grim.
RiME has been a long time in the making. Starting life in 2013 as a proposed XBLA title named Echoes of Siren, the game was intended to include gameplay elements such as hunting and crafting, which were later scrapped alongside combat and tower defence. Tequila Works acquired the IP back from Sony in 2016 and found new publishers in Six Foot and Grey Box. They also announced the game would no longer be a PS4 exclusive, releasing on PC and PS4. In January of 2017, its Switch port was confirmed. In addition to RiME, the studio have been developing a VR title, The Invisible Hours, and recently released The Sexy Brutale.