After playing Way of Rhea with Sam at last year’s Play NYC, I was excited to hear that they planned to make a reappearance this year with an updated build of the game. Though I was Sam-less this year, I ventured forth from the press area, and after 15 minutes of wandering around the con, I found the booth I was looking for.
The first thing that caught my eye was the game’s redesigned artwork. Not that I wasn’t a fan of the old style, but the new backgrounds I fell in love with immediately. It lends a whimsical feel that meshes well with the character design and the general concept of the game. Mason Remaley, designer and programmer of Way of Rhea, explained that artist Carolyn Whitmeyer had repainted all of the backgrounds and revamped the artwork in the span of a month, which was, quite frankly, shocking and impressive.
Playing through a quick level of Way of Rhea, I was pleasantly surprised by what did and didn’t change. The puzzles feel more well thought out, and getting around the level was a more straightforward task than I remember. However, the adorable character design stayed the same, as did the basic mechanics of leading your character around and getting through a system of gates and elevators by having them hold differently colored orbs to change their color.
I still haven’t seen much of Way of Rhea’s story, but I was surprised to find that the gameplay and puzzles were engaging without it. Not because I doubted the game, but because I tend to go for very story-heavy or character-heavy games as a personal taste. The puzzles hit that sweet spot where they weren’t too easy—we’ve all played games where you sit there thinking “A brick could have just finished this”—but they weren’t too hard. I wasn’t sitting there tearing my hair out in frustration trying to figure out the 83-step process for solving a slidey puzzle. I find that’s often a hard balance to hit, but often one that I try and seek out. There’s only so much puzzling I can take after a long day at work, personally.
The overall design of Way of Rhea is just generally more polished than last year, and I’m a fan of that. More professional art, smoother animation and better puzzle design are not to be taken lightly and can make a big difference to a game that was already fun to begin with.
While no release date is formally announced yet, Way of Rhea is now available to wishlist on Steam! It will be released for PC and Mac, and the devs did express interest in a possible port to the Nintendo Switch in the future.
Are you wishlisting Way of Rhea? What other color-themed platform puzzlers would you recommend to your fellow readers? Let us know in the comments below! Check out what else we saw at Play NYC by going to our Play NYC 2019 Coverage Hub.