Developer: Pond Games
Publisher: Pond Games
Release Date: July 6, 2020 (PC), August 23, 2022 (Nintendo Switch)
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch (Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch)
In RITE, your mission is clear and simple: in each level, find the key that opens the door and exit without getting hit once. However, that is where the simplicity ends. Described as an action precision platformer, RITE requires the player to make split-second decisions, executing perfect jumps while dodging deadly blades, prickly plants and other lethal hazards.
A Perfect Marriage of Frustration and Ecstasy
I’m a huge fan of platformers. I love running from left to right, dodging enemies, collecting various do-dads and collectables, and making it to the end of a level in a specific amount of time. When the opportunity arose to review RITE, I jumped at the chance, eager to find another platformer to add to the list of my favorites. What I failed to pay attention to, however, was the word ‘precision’, which makes all the difference in the world. Mario, this game is not. You have to be really, really good at video games to play this game, and even then, some of the challenges in the 160 levels might take even the best gamer several tries before you get the key and are able to exit the stage.
Each level is clearly laid out before you and is small enough to figure out the right path to get the key and get back to the door. And the reload time after you die (and you will die A LOT in this game), is blissfully quick, so you don’t have to wait long to try and beat a level again after you die.
I am not great at video games — sure, I play them a lot, but I’m not particularly talented at any one type of game. And, being a father of three young kids, I usually don’t have a lot of free time to play games. So a game has to really sink its teeth into me to get me to come back to it. Usually, if I get frustrated at a game, I’ll give it the old college try, but after a few attempts I’ll turn my attention to something else. And there are so many times I rage quit RITE, frustrated that I couldn’t time the next jump just right so that I could get to the next platform. However, I found myself coming back to the game for one reason and one reason only: the immense joy I felt when I completed a level. Its a high I chased from start to finish, and one I continue to chase even after I beat the game.
The formula in RITE is clear: fail so many times that when you succeed, you feel like a god. It is the perfect marriage of frustration and ecstasy, one which I have never experienced in a game before and am now thankfully open to now that I’ve experienced this genre of game.
Pixel Perfect Platforming, Controls and Tunes
In order for a game like RITE to succeed, the controls have to be super tight. Thankfully, this is the case for RITE — I felt like I had complete control of each jump, wall jump, and the trajectory of my character as it fell through the air. Every time I died, I knew exactly why I died and it was 100% my fault, not because I couldn’t tell where the platform was or because something else got in the way. This is in large part to the incredibly tight controls but also to the art design of the game.
The lush pixel art, though simplistic and a bit repetitive by the time you get to the end of the game, works really nicely for a game like RITE. It is unique, beautiful to look at, but never gets in the way of the central mechanic of the game. The swinging blades each have a heft to them that instantly becomes familiar, aiding you in the timing of each jump and movement.
And the music, an original soundtrack by Grand Prize Big Fuzz, is at the same time energetic, soothing, and compelling. It never gets in the way of the gameplay, but complements the aesthetic of the game.
More Than Meets the Eye
There are many ways to play each level in RITE. If you are like me and are terrible at this type of game, you might just locate the key, grab it, and get back to the door without paying attention to anything in the level. Speed runners can compete against the constantly ticking clock to try and best a previous time on a level. And those who love to collect items will be pleased to know that each level contains twenty coins you can grab to truly beat each level.
For me, I tried to play each level by gathering each coin and then getting the key and exiting the door. However, the game is truly difficult and in several of the levels, I ignored all of the coins and the ticking clock and just focused on getting out alive. However, there is something to enjoy here for each type of gamer.
I both loved and hated RITE. I loved it for the tightness of the controls, the joy I felt each time I completely a particularly grueling level, and the pulsing, ethereal music and quality art design. I hated it because it made me feel like a terrible gamer. But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?
Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been focusing on broadening my video game genres and trying new games I never would have played before. In the past two years, I’ve discovered that I actually do love Metroid games; Pokemon can be a blast, JRPGs are not for me (unless they are the Paper Mario type), and, thankfully, precision platformers could absolutely be a genre that I adore in the very near future.
If you are really good at video games, you have to play RITE. If you are bad at them, I encourage you to give RITE a chance. It is hard, sometimes almost impossibly hard. But it just feels so good when you beat a level you’ve been replaying for 30 minutes (yes, one level took me 30 minutes to beat), and I think every gamer needs to experience that at least once in their lives.
Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.
Featured image source: Nintendo
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on Switch, code was provided by the Publisher.