The second episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2016.


Rituals (Tymon Zgainski, 2015) has been out for nearly a year and I never heard of it until this week. When I came upon it in the Rezzed Leftfield Collection, someone had already been working through the game and as I couldn’t figure out how to restart it (yup, ESC didn’t work) I just went with it. Yet I was this close to giving up at the first puzzle.

Rituals is a game I have some problems with. Movement is discrete, so you’re moving around a predetermined graph, choosing at each point which node to jump to. Considering how many games I’ve played in 3D spaces, this felt slightly awkward and I was frustrated that WASD just didn’t do anything, plus the triangular movement indicators just don’t look right half the time. The first puzzle I came across was just ehh. I mean, it might make sense in the larger scheme of things, but, well, having to plant an acorn and have it grow into a tree? The only reason I did it is because I literally had nothing else to do. We don’t like Gabriel Knight moustache logic around here.

Now for some men, it’s a woman showing off jiggle physics in a game. For me, it’s exploring a secret underground complex where science has gone wrong. And that was that, you couldn’t prise me from the seat. Actually it is more of a we discovered some weird shit but you get the B-movie vibe that pulls me in, right?

I also like its simple geometric look. The constrained movement was a bonus because it narrowed my search of the game’s functional space, overriding some of the puzzle frustration; I didn’t have to worry about whether I’d explored the environment deeply enough, because I knew I had. And sure, some of the early narrative clues were heavy handed (IS EARTH CONSCIOUS?) but I was able to deal with Dead Space (EA Redwood Shores, 2008) making people write out a “cut off their limbs” tutorial in their own blood, like a teacher giving out lines as punishment. Lines in their own blood.

All I’m saying is I’ll probably end up buying it, it looks like comfort food to me.

(Don’t get confused with the other Rituals.)

Interested in the other games I dabbled with? Check out the series index!


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3 thoughts on “Dabbling with… Rituals

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I’ve been interested in trying Rituals but wanted to see an opinion from someone I knew.

  2. I can totally appreciate how the discrete movement filters out ‘noise’. It is a bit unusual, but god, we’ve all spent far too long combing environments for nothing!

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