With the rise in popularity of multiplayer games, any announcement for story-rich, single player games often seem like a treat.
So when I heard about Rumu (developed by Robot House) during my trip to PAX Australia 2017, I was really excited to get to play it. I grabbed an early release key for review purposes, courtesy of the developers themselves.
This review is spoiler free, as the game is best enjoyed by finding out for yourself what is going on.
In the game, you play as cute robot vacuum cleaner, the titular Rumu. Rumu’s purpose is to clean messes and also, interestingly, to love his humans David and Cecily.
Guided by the house AI, Sabrina, and kept busy by Ada (the house cat), the game takes an unexpected turn when Rumu’s curiosity gets the better of him. Stumbling into places he shouldn’t, Rumu puts together pieces of the puzzle of his elusive humans’ lives, and the house they live in.
Players go through the game fulfilling one’s duties as a vacuum cleaner – and also by being as nosy as possible.
Most of the fun is in digging through the humans’ notes, tablets, phones and computers; learning about them as the game progresses.
There are a lot of secrets kept in the house, and the game feeds players tidbits of information at a time. This clues them in on what just might happen, while also providing just enough that lingering questions still stand to encourage progress into the story.
Rumu looks incredibly beautiful, with a cyber-pastel look that’s undeniably futuristic but also familiar.
The well-crafted atmosphere breathes the life into the game; from the art to the soothing music that accompanies you as you progress.
Each track captures the mood of the scenes with electronic instruments, and is perfectly melodic without being distracting. The voice acting for the home AI Sabrina is superb, lending a lot to the enjoyment of the entire experience.
As displaying the entire room or area on the screen means things are smaller, the game can be a tad hard on the eyes. To make it a bit more user friendly, the game’s ‘Data Mode’ makes it easier for players to see which items in the room should be given attention.
The game also discourages wandering around the entire house. And there is never a time that the player is given free rein to see for themselves the entirety of the setting. It is not necessarily a bad thing, as the controlled areas tighten the narrative and the experience. This keeps the player from gleaning too much far too early on in the game; though at times, it feels a little too constricting.
Still, Rumu is a wonderful experience, packed with a lot of human emotion for a game that revolves around AI. It asks difficult questions and leaves players wondering about their choices. I’d say this probably merits a replay or two, as some things might have been missed the first time around.
Overall, Rumu is definitely worth checking out for anyone who enjoys a good story in a game.
Rumu is out on Steam now. If you’ve tried your hand at it, let us know in the comments! We’d love to know what you think.