Indie Quickie: Rabi-Ribi

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What is it and who made it? A Metroidvania bullet hell 2D side-scroller with anime bunny girls and cute pixies. It was developed by CreSpirit and published by Sekai Project.

What platforms is it on and how much does it cost? It’s out right now on Steam for Windows PC at a price point of $17.99. If you hurry there are still a couple more days to take advantage of the 10% discount for launch week.

How much did we play? Between three to four hours on the default Novice difficulty, merely enough to earn 24% map completion and 26% item collection. I’ve got a long ways left to go.

Any technical concerns, hardware requirements or other details you should know about? Not that I have encountered. Initially, I was going to make a point about the game’s controller support not allowing for D-pad controls, but that has already been addressed in an update and is no longer an issue.

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Why should you play it?

    • Look, Samus Grew Bunny Ears: At its core, Rabi-Ribi is a very well conceived and executed Metroidvania-like. The world is quite large and most of the time open to freedom of exploration–not to mention chock full of secret destructible floors and walls hiding pick-ups to extend stats like health, mana, and attack. Of course, true to the genre, some areas are impassable the first time around until certain power-ups are acquired, such as staple abilities like higher jumping and a slide dodge to fit through narrow passages. So if at first you cannot proceed, go somewhere else and come back later. Yes, backtracking is necessary, but the world map’s 20 different zones each have quick travel warp points to cut down on the probability of been there, done that tedium setting in. The pause-menu map and quest markers also make it easy to know where you should be going when there is a primary objective to drive the story forward. The platforming feels tight and the beat-em-up style combat is augmented by a progression system by which experience is earned not towards an overall character level, but rather the advancement of the ability used to score the kill. So for example by fighting with the standard melee attack, Erina’s Piko Hammer will level up and gain increased powers, longer combos, and eventually different types of special attacks to further develop. The combat mechanics are rather simple, however the opportunity to button mash is negated by an SP meter that is depleted for each action taken, forcing you to attack in short bursts and then evade until SP has recharged and you’re able to attack again.

    • Bodacious Bullet Hell Bosses: What helps Rabi-Ribi to differentiate from the myriad other Metroidvania action-platformers are its bullet hell shmup influences, especially when it comes to the boss showdowns. When you reach a boss encounter, the level locks down to a single screen–somewhat similar to a classic Mega Man game–where your opponent leaps around and unleashes various attacks that spray the screen with lasers and magic projectiles in chaotic patterns to quickly memorize and avoid. There’s an interesting cat-and-mouse dynamic to attacking, leaping and sliding to dodge the bullet hell onslaught until there’s an opening or the boss takes a momentary breather, and then moving in to strike again. The bosses aren’t the only ones doing the shooting either. A short way into the game, Erina gains the companionship of a magic fairy named Ribbon, who flies around by Erina’s side and offers a dedicated projectile attack to complement the Piko Hammer. You can tap the shoot button to fire standard projectiles or hold the button down for a charge shot, while different magic types are discovered along the way to offer alternate attacks, from laser beams to healing particles. Attacks also add to the Boost meter, and once the meter is above at least 50% special Boost Attacks unique to each magic type can be unleashed.

    • A Touch of Fan Service: For a game about cute anime girls with bunny ears and other animal likenesses, it’s only appropriate that a little fan service is in order. I haven’t seen anything yet that would stir up controversy as games with Japanese sensibilities like this tend to do, just scantily clad young ladies frolicking around or, say, falling headfirst into a chest pillow of over-inflated breasts (see screenshot above). The in-game graphics are pixel art sprites mixed with dialogue boxes and character portraits, though on occasion full-screen still artwork is used solely as a fan service delivery vehicle. It brings a visual novel sensibility to the storytelling more than anything.

Parting Thoughts: Rabi-Ribi ticks all of the main boxes one has come to expect in a good Metroidvania, while the bullet hell and fan service elements add a unique flair that will mostly appeal to the anime crowd. Although I’m only a few hours in, I can tell that the game has a ton of content. By the numbers, I’m only a quarter of the way through. Achievements are a whole other ball of wax–I’m currently sitting on just 13 out of the game’s 112 total achievements. Additionally, there are four primary difficulty settings to cater to all skill levels (plus two more to unlock), unlockable boss rush and speedrun modes, as well as a gallery of the fan service artworks. All told, hardcore Metroidvania fans are probably looking at a couple dozen hours of gameplay to do everything the game has to offer. This is exactly the type of game that tickles my completionist impulses, and if my backlog wasn’t so packed I’d be playing religiously toward 100% completion. My only complaint so far is with the story, which becomes bogged down at times by a lot of overbearing dialogue that just isn’t that funny or interesting. Thankfully, this isn’t the type of game that needs a captivating narrative to succeed. There’s more than enough frenzied fun to extract from the gameplay to carry the day. I’ll be playing with these bullet hell bunnies for a long time to come.

What is Indie Quickie? It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

Disclosure: A free Steam key for Rabi-Ribi was provided to VGBlogger.com by the game’s publisher.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!