A lot of people were quite disappointed in the Switch port of Rime last year, there was a lot of anticipation for this version amidst the swathes of indie releases on Nintendo’s latest console, especially as Grey Box and Tequila Works decided to delay the game in order to polish it further. When it arrived, however, it featured a blurry low resolution for those who decided to play handheld, making it look like the screen had been smeared in vaseline, and however you played it, the game featured a frame rate that noticeably struggled to maintain 30fps and exacerbated the area loading stutters already found on other platforms.
The 1.0.2 update yesterday is the result of the developers continuing work on improving the game, trying to live up to those expectations, and in a lot of ways they’ve succeeded. While only a complete redesign of the game would be able to get rid of the area loading stutters, they have been able to improve the overall feel of the game elsewhere. When playing docked, as you can see in the video, the frame rate is a bit more stable in general play, but the overall art style has been retained.
It’s only when you stack the 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 versions of the game side by side that you can see what Tequila Works have done in order to achieve this. Funnily enough, the first really noticeable changes are actually improvements. The opening video has a different contrast level, making the thick rain of the stormy scene less prominent but allowing the lightning to really bloom as a consequence. As the camera then sweeps down onto the beach after the title card, you can see more geometric detail from within the tower that stand out in the water, and the shadowing under the seagull in particular shows an increase in resolution, and the game as a whole feels a touch less blurry, though this feels more like reduced anti-aliasing than a game resolution bump.
However, as soon as you reach the first open area and puzzle, it’s clear to see that really what has been done is that detail has been reduced. The density of the grass has been halved, which manages to retain the same look, but can leave the fringes and isolated little tufts feeling a bit sparse, and some smaller bushes and rocks seem to have been removed from the game as well. You’ll also notice that distant foliage like grass, bushes and shadows have disappeared as a consequence of the draw distance on these elements being brought in.
It’s a worthwhile tradeoff, and while their pop in can be more noticeable, the frame rate does feel a bit more stable in general play. These changes also play into a very real improvement comes for the game in handheld mode. It’s quite dramatic the difference in game resolution, and even though details have been stepped back, the game looks, feels and plays much better in handheld now than it did before.
Rime 1.0.2 is a solid all round improvement to the game on Nintendo Switch, making it a much more palatable experience when stacked up against the game on other platforms.