RAM BOE: The Awakening of Thrym Brings Sandbox, Cinematics & FixesNews
By means of a humble Steam announcement on the 25th of May this year, RAM BOE‘s first major update was released to its casual puzzle-loving Windows, Mac OS and Linux audience; Titled The Awakening of Thrym, the update brings forth a number of much-needed additions and rectifications that were first teased by the development team at PointFive back in April.
These changes, as specified by marketing in-charge Jane Arvine at the time of the teaser, are in response to several inconsistencies and flaws that were brought up by our Editorial team — and subsequently by few of its users — in its analysis of the game during the earlier half of Spring.
The first of which was the puzzle adventure’s penchant for repetition in its visuals, music, level design and overall atmosphere; The Awakening of Thrym addresses the same by introducing up to 15 new levels, scenery and music to the overall adventure. Arvine quickly dismisses all fears of these 15 levels being but simple extensions of the game’s earlier build by justifying their presence: ‘The new levels have a higher difficulty, are bigger in size and require much more time to complete; We have even added in unique challenges that dynamically have say, the tiles of a level fall off as the player progresses and more’.
This is further supplemented by the addition of eight more tracks to the game’s soundtrack for a total of fourteen, courtesy of the archives of Kevin MacLeod, and new scenic additions that take players closer to antagonist Thrym The Mighty Jotun’s habitat — one cold and one dark. And yet thankfully, the update’s major perk lies in its lending of closure to RAM BOE’s tale.
An overshadowing flaw in the game’s earlier build was that apart from two cut-scenes that merely served to explain the premise behind its two types of scenery, RAM BOE’s narrative was effectively non-existent; The story was lost after the halfway point and never made a return even after the completion of all 40 levels.
Now though, an extension of the narrative brought about by added cut scenes is stated to finally bring purpose to players’ puzzle solving endeavours — ‘Thrym takes notice of Ram — and he’s angry. It’s not really something complex, but it all adds up to the story. And yes there is now a conclusion to the game which we’ll let the players find it out.’, explains Jane.
To top it all, The Awakening debuts an all new game mode called The Sandbox; an intuitive custom level creator synced in with Steam’s Workshop, that lets users play developer in constructing their own levels and sharing them with other RAM BOE owners from across the community.
Besides being able to populate a level with their choice of Rune stones, players are even given the opportunity to set traps, dynamically generate obstacles during play-throughs and even change the level’s environmental theme.
Among the graphical and technical fixes it makes is the elimination of Step Control that had begun to annoy several PC players; moving BOE across a level via the arrow keys was hardly a fluid process owing to his tendency of pausing at every tile, causing one to furiously spam an arrow key in their race against the timer.
‘Plus we’ve now replaced it with something more useful for the casual ones — An easy mode, where you can’t fall off the board nor accidentally push an important Rune off which as we know leads to level failure,’ elaborates Arvine. ‘The rest of it has been improved graphical aspects such as textures and shaders — along with fixed sound artefacts. There has also been a lot of code optimisation.’
‘Make no mistake though, in terms of gameplay it’s still as complex and as rewarding as before. Yet with the 15 new levels we’ve inserted a new mood and a continuation to the storyline. We’re seeing things from the villain’s perspective now and the gameplay is subsequently more immersive. Plus, bringing a conclusion to the story makes the game experience a complete one.’
Released on Google Play in early January this year and on Steam equipped PC, Mac and Linux Devices on the 5th of April, RAM BOE is the 3D puzzle tale of rock climbing adventurer Beauregard Pete — whose decision to take on the monster in Thrym leads Pete to be imprisoned in an ice prison for ever. That is until a Ram comes along, has itself possessed by the hero and commences 40 — now 55 — levels of puzzle solving in his quest to save other less fortunate souls.
Inspired by the likes of Sokoban, players must battle timers, untimely generation of obstacles and often convoluted level arrangement to push all present Rune stones within a level into the well of revival. As of June, 2016, reception towards the game on Steam remains Positive. Naturally The Awakening of Thrym is soon due for an appearance on the Android version of the game, following which all of Pointfive’s manpower is to shift towards publishing RAM BOE’s iOS version the team reports. In the meantime, follow-up on the game’s development history and even peruse through our analysis of its Android build at BOE’s Higher Eclectic Space.