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Platformers have been a sta­ple of gam­ing for decades now. On Steam alone there are over eight hun­dred ti­tles un­der the Platformer tag. With so much choice, across so many de­vices, it takes a lot for games in this genre to stand out. From first sight while brows­ing Steam, Rabi-Ribi from CreSpirit stood out. It’s promise of an Metroidvania-style plat­former with RPG as­pects and bullet-hell el­e­ments (of all things) called out to me. It’s adorable art style fea­tur­ing an all fe­male cast had me plunk­ing down the $17.99 to give the game a shot. I wasn’t quite ready for the qual­i­ty con­tained with­in this game.

Summary

Rabi-Ribi is one of the seem­ing­ly rare crowd­fund­ing suc­cess sto­ries out there, re­leas­ing a high qual­i­ty prod­uct de­spite only reach­ing 51% of the goal they set with their flex­i­ble fund­ing on Indiegogo. The love put into this game is clear from the very start.

The de­vel­op­ers are also very ac­tive still six months af­ter re­lease. If you look at their news page on Steam, you can see they re­lease patch­es about once a month. New con­tent, modes, and qual­i­ty of life im­prove­ments keep on com­ing. As of the writ­ing of this re­view they have re­leased an­oth­er patch adding edit­ed di­a­log (ad­dress­ing a gripe of mine), in­tro­duc­ing a New Game+ mode on top of the modes al­ready avail­able, as well as var­i­ous fix­es.

Don’t let the adorable ani­me rab­bit girl and cute fairies fool you. There is a rel­a­tive­ly deep sto­ry in this ti­tle, and fan­tas­tic depth of fun to be had in the main sto­ry, as well as in the var­i­ous in­clud­ed modes like Boss Rush (ex­act­ly what it sounds like) and Speedrun Mode (al­lows you to play the game with­out di­a­log).

Story

The sto­ry of Rabi-Ribi al­ter­nates from light-hearted to fair­ly se­ri­ous as your char­ac­ter starts to put to­geth­er the pieces of what’s go­ing on in her world. You start the game wak­ing up as a hu­man rab­bit girl, which con­fus­es you since just the night be­fore your life was filled with be­ing the pet rab­bit of girl named Rumi. You es­cape from where you held, and head to the main town of the game to meet back up with Rumi. From there go on a hunt for oth­er NPCs to help pow­er up an ar­ti­fact that Rumi has plans for.

But all is not as it seems, and it’s up to you and your soon-to-be found fairy friend, Ribbon, to start ex­plor­ing the rest of the land for NPCs to piece to­geth­er why you are there in the first place.

The sto­ry is a strong suit, as well as one of my few gripes in this oth­er­wise fan­tas­tic game. It’s a fair­ly de­cent tale over­all, and a deep sto­ry for what it is, but it suf­fers from be­ing very di­a­log heavy at times. There is also a lot of ex­po­si­tion that is front loaded in the first map, which wouldn’t be so bad ex­cept that they keep in­ter­rupt­ing you every five feet with more ex­po­si­tion on the sit­u­a­tion. This can cause just a lit­tle frus­tra­tion every time you are in­ter­rupt­ed sud­den­ly, but it evens out af­ter the first map.

The oth­er lit­tle nig­gle I had with the sto­ry seems to have been ad­dressed in their lat­est 1.50 patch. The game of­fers Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish, German, and English as lan­guage op­tions, but the English trans­la­tion was… well it was there. It wasn’t gram­mat­i­cal­ly bad, but I have a feel­ing that some of the char­ac­ters hu­mor and per­son­al­i­ty may have been lost in trans­la­tion. Starting up New Game+ to check out the edit­ed di­a­log shows that it has im­proved, but so far I wouldn’t call it a com­plete re-write or any­thing. It just reads bet­ter, and some jokes seem more ap­par­ent. The lat­ter bit could be due to me be­ing on my sec­ond play-through of the sto­ry, though.

For those won­der­ing about the sig­nif­i­cance of the ti­tle, Erina — the main char­ac­ter — is a rab­bit, and her side­kick is Ribbon the fairy. Slap some Japanese word­play hu­mor on it and you get Rabi-Ribi. Get it? I chuck­led at least.

Gameplay

I tend to ques­tion the use of “Metroidvania” as a genre, but it has use as a short­hand ref­er­ence for a set of game play me­chan­ics. And that is the best way to ex­plain the core of Rabi-Ribi, though that is only the start. Rabi-Ribi has a dose of RPG el­e­ments, as well as bul­let hell as­pects when you are fight­ing boss­es to help round out a very fun ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ultimately, it was the bul­let hell el­e­ments that cinched my ini­tial pur­chase. Though adding in bul­let hell as­pects to an ac­tion game is not the most re­cent trend, this was still my first real ex­pe­ri­ence with it. And Rabi-Ribi does it very well. A healthy use of graz­ing (with the abil­i­ty to re­duce your hit­box even far­ther via badges), and some pat­tern recog­ni­tion will have you al­most danc­ing with boss­es as you bat­tle your way to vic­to­ry.

You start out lim­it­ed in abil­i­ty, be­fit­ting the new­ly awak­ened sta­tus of your char­ac­ter, but the amount of up­grades and new skills avail­able to your char­ac­ter is huge, though the game lets you play in an open enough way that you can at­tempt near zero item runs. Beyond the nor­mal sys­tems of skill un­locks you also are able to equip badges on your char­ac­ter. These badges al­low you to fur­ther fine tune your hero­ic bun­ny pro­tag­o­nist to your in­di­vid­ual play style — some­thing I am al­ways a fan of.

Rabi-Ribi has a va­ri­ety of dif­fi­cul­ty modes, and even fea­tures a New Game+ mode as of the lat­est up­date. Even more, this game has a good sys­tem for al­low­ing you to get past prob­lem sec­tions with­out the need to grind your pow­er lev­els up or change the dif­fi­cul­ty. When you die more than twice in a par­tic­u­lar spot, you will get the op­tion of get­ting a lit­tle as­sis­tance. This comes in the way of a small buff to your stats that wears off af­ter a time, and a cute lil halo over your head for a bit. Don’t use this all the time, though… You could miss some sto­ry points.

I re­al­ly en­joy what they did with this par­tic­u­lar sys­tem. If you take the help at cer­tain times, you could miss out on a cut scene or a par­tic­u­lar fight. When you go back and play the game again (and you will want to play more, it’s a blast) you dis­cov­er se­quences you might have missed out on the first time around.

If you en­joy the meat and bones of Rabi-Ribi, then re­playa­bil­i­ty in this ti­tle is as­tound­ing. As of this writ­ing you have the core game with its many dif­fi­cul­ty lev­els, a Speedrun mode that cuts all the cut scenes from the game­play, Boss Rush mode, and the re­cent­ly added New Game+. If you are like me, and you love a high game time per dol­lar ra­tio, then you will adore this game and all it does to bring you back for more.

Graphics

Rabi-Ribi is a 2D ac­tion plat­former, with some re­al­ly great sprite work. All the char­ac­ters you come across are dis­tinct, and frankly adorable. The an­i­ma­tions on the char­ac­ters could be just a bit bet­ter, but that doesn’t dis­tract from the over­all at­trac­tive­ness of this game’s art style and themes. All the ar­eas of the game have their own feel, but there is a lit­tle sprite re­cy­cling on en­e­mies at times — though it doesn’t hap­pen as a habit thank­ful­ly.

Music

The mu­sic in this game is an­oth­er stand­out. I love a good sound­track, and Rabi-Ribi does not dis­ap­point. The boss themes in par­tic­u­lar are high en­er­gy, and the rhythm tends to match the pat­terns of the boss you’re up against. They of­fer the sound­track as an op­tion­al pur­chase, but you can check it out for your­self just a lit­tle be­low. If Rabi-Ribi is a gift to fans of ac­tion plat­form­ers, then the sound­track in this game is the rib­bon on top. It wraps up this fan­tas­tic game well.

Final Thoughts

Rabi-Ribi is a love let­ter to fans of SNES-era ac­tion plat­form­ers. If you like games like Super Metroid, Y’s III, Castlevania, and Lifeforce then this is a must have for your col­lec­tion. It wears its in­spi­ra­tions on it sleeve while weav­ing an ex­pe­ri­ence that is whol­ly its own. For a game I picked up on a whim, I was to­tal­ly blown away. I would even sug­gest this ti­tle to folks who nor­mal­ly are not fans of plat­form­ers or 2D pix­el fare. This game just does so much well, that I feel it will win over hearts. If the 97% ap­proval rate on Steam is any in­di­ca­tor, it al­ready has.

Rabi-Ribi is avail­able on Steam for $17.99 or your re­gion­al equiv­a­lent. Rabi-Ribi will also be com­ing to PS4 and PS Vita by Winter 2016!

Purchase at full price if: …you are a fan of plat­form­ers, cute ani­me girls, and sup­port­ing devs who just show­er love on their game.

Purchase at dis­count if: … you are only mild­ly in­ter­est­ed in plat­form­ers, nor­mal­ly don’t get into ani­me themed games

Do not pur­chase if: … you can’t stand plat­form­ers, hate 2D games, and are dead in­side

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Josh Bray
Josh has worked in IT for over 15 years. Graduated Broadcasting school in 2012 with a fo­cus on A/V pro­duc­tion. Amateur pho­tog­ra­ph­er with a pas­sion to make things work… by any means nec­es­sary. Editor-in-Chief and do-er of tech things at SuperNerdLand