I was really torn on Rime until I got caught up in its emotional ending, capped off by a fantastic unexpected chapter select reveal. I really saw what Tequila Works was trying to do by the time the curtain closed and it ended up spurring another partial playthrough in the process. Even during its most underwhelming moments, Rime got a response out of me, and I'll remember it for years to come.
This game has it all, really. It has a sense of wonder, of poise and, over time, a true sense of emerging character. And it has something to say. Something that is worth hearing.
But when compared to its influences like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and Journey, it doesn't hold up too well. Consistent navigation problems, some frustrating puzzles, fiddly platforming, and severe frame rate dips make Rime feel like a well-dressed tribute act.
This is perhaps the most damning and instructive thing I can say about Rime. Save for its manipulative final moments, I spent the of the entirety of the game completely stone-faced. I felt only a detached appreciation for visuals and music that, because of the monotonous game they envelop, never congeal into something really moving. No giggles of delight, no gasps of wonder, just ... nothing.
Rime is a beautiful, beautiful game that manages to feel remarkably empty, even in the face of its earnest attempts. The aesthetic that breathes life into the island of Rime feels a bit too familiar, but it doesn't dampen its vast, ever-photographable horizons. Nonetheless, Rime is a light third-person adventure game with quiet puzzle solving, in a year where we haven't had much of those, which alone makes it a worthwhile respite.