Review: Rabi-Ribi

by

Developer: CreSpirit
Publisher: Sekai Project
Platform: Steam
Price: $17.99 USD
Release Date: Jan 28, 2016

A creative mixture between a bullet hell and a metroidvania, Rabi Ribi is a cute-em-up shooter that draws the player in with its cute, innocent looks. Don’t let yourself be fooled, though. This game will thoroughly embarass with how bad you are at video games.

Story
Erina is a bunny. One day, she wakes up, to find she’s now a human. With bunny ears. The adventure starts as Erina sets out to look for her owners, while making lots of friends along the way. Everyone wants to fight you for some reason.

Story-wise, there isn’t much to see here. The game does have it’s own comic series though, which are made available through Steam.

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Gameplay
The game’s world is composed of several areas. Areas are connected to one another, and are full of secret passages, hidden rooms, and power-ups. As the player advances through the game, you collect new moves, new attack patterns, new powers, and new items. Killing enemies grants money, which can be used to buy upgrades, extra HP/MP/SP, powers and moves. You’re constantly in a mission to find helpers to help solve the underlying mystery of the game, leading into boss battles.

It’s a simple, but proven formula. The game’s flow has that nostalgic feeling of older games, adding value to the game. Every element in Rabi-Ribi is full of thought. It’s easy to see and feel how much love for video games was poured into its creation.

After beating the main game, the player gets access to additional game modes, including an even more rage-indulcing post game, along with a boss rush mode. Each boss fight is ranked from A to E, which is dependent on how much damage you took during the fight.

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If you die repeatedly, the game will offer to help you, in the form of a character buff that makes you stronger and take less damage for a period of time. The pause menu is full of information, including tutorials for any mechanics you might have forgotten or skipped over.

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Rabi-Ribi managed to nail down the most important gameplay: Boss battle quality and variety. No two bosses feet the same, even when fighting the same character for the second time. The patterns themselves, for the most part, are quite simple yet challenging. As with any bullet-hell game, it’s just a matter of trying over and over until you’ve memorized all the patterns well enough.

Sound

Rabi-Ribi has a very childish, innocent, clear feeling to it. The game’s music is part of this atmosphere, with its characteristically video-gamey tune. Quit, serene ambient music for underwater levels, bells for winter levels, upbeat themes for boss battles. Everything you’d expect from older videos games. Despite abusing all the ancient video game music tropes, all of the game’s songs are beautiful, memorable, and well composed. One of the best aspects of the game.

Graphics

Rabi-Ribi’s dialogue plays as short VN-like segments. There are also several CGs throughout the story. The art is drawn in a characteristically lewd-but-cute anime style. The art itself is really well made and pleasing to look at.

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Runs natively on DirectX11, with the option to force DirectX9 if desired. The game allows you to choose between Performance and Quality settings.

Downsides

As someone who grew up with trully difficult and unforgiving video games, the difficulty and ability scalling in Rabi-ribi was just fine for me. However, newer games might have trouble adjusting to the frustration of having to retry a boss fight over 30 times just to be able to barely beat a bossfight. Also I will admit, I had to use the easy-mode option at least twice on this playthrough.

Furthermore, during some particular sequences and effects, I had my FPS slow down to a crawl, even on Performance mode. I ran the game using the Intel i7 Integrated Graphics. When running the game using my laptop’s dedicated GPU, I had some screen tearing problems, though those are probably exclusive to my particular GPU model(7730M). I was unable to find any posts or complaints about this issue.

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Overall

Rabi-ribi is easily one of the best games I’ve had the chance to review so far. All information about the mechanics was easily accessible and well explained, the mechanics were solid, the progression was smooth, controls were tight. The game is difficult but presents options for less-skilled players to progress(at the cost of their pride for selecting chicken-mode).

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Pros:

-Good difficulty scaling
-Creative, diverse, and challenging boss battles
-Nice, clean presentation
-Cute
-Diverse in-game settings
-Lots of replayability
-Good music
-Excellent playability overall
-Extra content

Cons:

-Perhaps a little too hard for players not used to trully challenging video games
-Not award-winning storywriting
-Subject to FPS slowdowns depending on the player’s setups, but not frequently