Wearing its Myst-influence upon its proverbial sleeve, Ryte: the Eye of Atlantis doesn’t stray far from that particular mold. It’s very much in the picturesque puzzle game form, but with an interesting background in ancient Greek archeology, legends, and mythology. It’s a passable puzzler held back by some noticeable technical issues.
Ryte takes players on what is first presented as a sort of time-travel-meets-virtual reality simulated vacation to the ancient world of Atlantis. As this tourist, you’ll start the game with a robotic guide to give you historical details and some explanation of the puzzles that act as the focus of each location. Starting off around a dock region, you’re tasked with learning to manipulate your item box, find missing parts to simple dial puzzles, and door puzzles requiring you to construct sledgehammer-sized keys using blocks.
The puzzles aren’t especially challenging on the whole and rely more on having players search the area for missing pieces needed to complete the puzzles. Puzzles tend to rely on simple fetch and turn mechanics. As in, you search around for a missing part, place it in the right spot and turn something. This could be gears (the game likes those), mirrors, stone dials, and other familiar mechanisms. At certain points, you can also telekinetically pull certain objects to you (or push them), but the actual gameplay doesn’t really branch out much with such powers.
In one spot, for instance, you need to open a gate. The gate is controlled by a revolving handle, which (of course) uses gears. A gear is missing, but thankfully there are chests placed out of reach in the space on rooftops and around. The crux of this “puzzle” is really just magically pulling the chests down to find the gear.
You’ll explore a temple, town center, dock, strange mystical landscapes in the desert, and some other sites. The developers claim a “semi-realistic” depiction of Atlantis, which seems like an odd clarification for a fictional location, but I get what they’re saying. The basis for that design is the developer’s research into writings on the topic by ancient Greek philosophers like Plato.
This would be a bigger selling point if there was actually more to explore. Since the locations are generally fairly small, there’s just not a lot of sightseeing to really test the authenticity of such claims. Just the same, Ryte is a decent looking game and a few of the scenes are legitimately impressive, like when you’ll watch massive statue-like gods fighting from a high vista.
Taking all this at face value, Ryte is fine. It’s in no danger of being a great Myst-style adventure, but certainly not the worst of its kind that I’ve played. Problems arise more often in the technical realm during playtesting. We played the game via the Oculus Store and initially started on the Oculus Quest 2 using the Link cable.
Performance was problematic in odds ways. The inventory chest (accessed by reaching to your back) acted erratically, jumping around, getting in the way, and often refusing to be put itself back. Controller tracking was jumpy too, causing your virtual arms to glitch. Soon after, the developer told us these issues had to do with using Quest and a Link cable, and would be listed as only for Rift and Vive headsets until they were able to patch it.
Switching to the original Rift, however, didn’t seem to mitigate any of the major issues, so this may be a ‘your mileage may vary’ sort of situation. The glitches were annoying, but didn’t prevent being able to progress for the most part. One glaring exception was a spot where the game required us to pull a metal part to the player through a barred gate. It just wouldn’t do it and required a reload.
Strange glitches aside, Ryte is overall a fairly low-requirements game. It has three graphic settings and only uses a teleportation movement system, so it should be able to work well on a variety of setups. The visuals are merely decent on the whole and the soundtrack is kept fairly minimal, but effective. Voice acting in spots is a bit amateurish, but the story is actually pretty engaging the farther along it gets. The few actual other human models used in the game are odd and stiff, bringing to mind roughly animated mannequins.
Ryte: The Eye of Atlantis Review Final Impressions
Ryte: The Eye of Atlantis has enough moments of interest to make it worth a look, but there’s nothing particularly deep or memorable here. Perhaps you’ll have better luck with performance, but as-is, it clearly needs some optimization work to be a smoother, less glitchy experience as a whole. And even then what’s here is mostly derivative, if compelling at-times, VR adventure fare.
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Ryte: The Eye of Atlantis is available now on Steam for $19.99 with officially listed support for Rift and Vive. As of the time of this review Quest via Link is not recommended, but it’s expected to be patched. This review was conducted using a Quest 2 initially and then an original Rift.