Remember the old adage “less is more"? Even if you don’t, Agetec certainly does, as is clearly reflected in Rabi Laby 2, its most recent DSiWare release. While it’s true that not much has changed from the first instalment, the original Rabi Laby was pretty good, so there’s not much to find fault with here.
Much like its predecessor, Rabi Laby 2 does not rely heavily on story but instead is all about the gameplay, which has remained exactly the same. Players control both Alice and her exploding rabbit friend Rabi, and are tasked with escaping from various levels in the labyrinth in which they are trapped. Using Rabi’s ability to jump high and explode on command, you must use both characters and have them work together to reach the exit door found within each level.
It's simple and incredibly easy to master. While both Alice and Rabi appear on screen, players can only control one at a time, and switching between characters is as simple as pressing the X button. Both characters can be moved left or right using the D-Pad, and pressing A makes them jump. Pressing Y while using Rabi activates a special move that allows him to explode, so bursting through breakable walls is an easy task. Just as important as the simplicity of these controls is how accurate they are. In many action puzzle games, tight controls are a necessity and can either make or break a game. The ease of use and accuracy in controlling both Alice and Rabi is welcoming and essential.
While the concept is incredibly simple, the puzzling levels are not. One point worth noting about the first Rabi Laby title was the lack of difficulty curve, and the fact that levels randomly jumped from being easy to painfully difficult without any warning. The same is true of Rabi Laby 2. Some levels are easily solvable in one try, while others will have you pounding your head on a table and wanting to throw your DSi against a wall — neither of which we'd recommend. Thankfully, a new feature has been added to Rabi Laby 2 that will be familiar to many fans of recent puzzle games, and that is the inclusion of hint coins. Finding and grabbing hint coins in levels allows you to unlock hints — which are actually just walkthroughs — for levels that you find to be overwhelmingly difficult, or just when you don’t feel like putting forth the mental effort.
While Rabi Laby 2 can be difficult and quite unforgiving at times, you don’t have to worry about running out of lives or any sort of game over. Because this title is based on puzzle solving, you are allowed as many tries as you’d like to complete each stage. Upon completing each stage, you're awarded a rank based on how quickly you managed to reach the end, so there’s definitely a good opportunity for replayability for all the perfectionists out there.
Also unchanged from the first game are the audio and visual styles. The character and platform sprites aren’t overly detailed, but they’re charming and cute nonetheless. The backgrounds in each level look more like detailed paintings that reflect the room that you’re in, providing a very unique visual style when compared to the less detailed sprites. And while the soundtrack is underwhelming and lacking in variation, it does fit the upbeat and light-hearted tone of the game as well.
While Rabi Laby 2 doesn’t do anything to redefine the action puzzle genre, and doesn’t even really deviate from the original game too much, there’s not much to find at fault here. The inclusion of hint coins is a welcome addition, and the low price point isn’t something to complain about either, but overall, this title feels more like a level pack than an entirely new game. Fans of Rabi Laby won’t be disappointed, and newcomers who just enjoy puzzle games at a fair price will get a kick out of this one as well. For the price, Rabi Laby 2 is a great addition to any action puzzle fan’s collection, and proves the fact that sometimes less is definitely more.