Fishing. It’s something I’ve never quite had the patience for over long stretches of time, whether it be in video games or in real life, and yet I enjoyed the melancholic experience Riba brought to the table. Perhaps it’s the added element of reminiscing, as this particular fishing trip is in fact not about catching tonight’s dinner so much as… your grandma’s bones.
I know, I know. Trust me, it makes sense. Anyway, the gist of Riba is that your grandma has passed, and you’re trying to fish her bones while taking a stroll down memory lane, each catch triggering a long-forgotten tidbit about her. Not exactly the kind of memories that are likely to surface often as they aren’t exactly overflowing with happiness. I do feel it is still important to remember both the good and bad things, however, for they are two sides of the same coin (or grams, in this case).
That said, if you’ve ever gone fishing, you know how this stuff works: whatever you’re trying to get to bite never actually does, and that goes for this game too as, by the time you’ve caught the seventh bone, you’ll have enough food to last a week, perhaps even longer! Although why seven, and why even bring it up? Well, Riba was made during game jams spanning the last weekend of January this year, and as is often the case with brief game jam projects like this, not everything planned gets implemented. Is that actually the case here though?
An interactive, atmospheric experience about fishing your grandma’s bones.
Upon going over my footage for this review, I noticed something pleasantly surprising: if you pay close attention, you are actually informed, in a way, that the seventh bone is the last one. Just not one that is blatantly obvious, which is likely what most have come to expect from games these days. Which, quite frankly, made me appreciate the whole experience more. Too few developers are willing to stray from the norm and have a tendency to absolutely make sure that players know what’s happening at all times, in the least subtle way possible. Not Riba.
There aren’t any menus to navigate, aside from the language selection prior to starting, or complex mechanics to learn, either. It really is something you can, quite literally, pick up and play immediately. Which I would totally recommend doing, as soon as possible, for where else are you going to get to fish in such a beautiful locale, decorating it between each throw of the line?
Riba is available on itch.io, for free.