Hopping its way to the Switch following a release on PC and PlayStation platforms, Rabi-Ribi is quite possibly one of the most bonkers games we’ve played in a good while. But you know what? It’s really good. It takes the familiar Metroidvania template, blends it with the bullet-hell genre, and throws in some fantastic RPG elements for good measure. It’s got an extremely cutesy vibe that some folk might find a bit off-putting (and if sexualised anime characters aren’t your thing, you might want to give it a miss), but to dismiss Rabi-Ribi for this reason would rob you of the opportunity to experience one of the most unique games on the Switch.
You play as Erina, a once-cute little bunny rabbit who finds herself unknowingly transformed into a, er, scantily clad girl. Understandably concerned, she sets off to find her human master, kicking off a storyline that, while somewhat entertaining, is largely inconsequential. It more or less serves as a backdrop to the superb gameplay, and is mostly utilised to introduce the many boss characters you’ll encounter on your journey. That said, the characters themselves are really quite endearing, and although very similar to one another in both looks and personality, we enjoyed our encounters with most of them.
The game plays out like a typical Metroidvania, with a variety of environments ranging from sandy beaches to snow capped mountains which, once discovered, you’re free to roam about as you please. You’ll come across many different foes on your journey (and quite frankly they’re so darn cute that we felt a tad guilty getting rid of them), but the real joy of Rabi-Ribi comes with the boss encounters. These play out like beat-em-ups with a generous dollop of bullet-hell mechanics. It’s very tempting to run in and button-mash your way to eventual victory, but this rarely works well, particularly on the higher difficulties. Beating your enemies requires a balance of offence and defence, and you’ll often spend a good amount of time simply weaving in and out of the countless bullets flying towards you.
Attacking can be done either at close range or long range. Close range melee attacks are mapped to 'X', and tapping this several times unleashes an impressive combo. You can also press 'up' and 'X' to hit enemies in the air, or 'down' and 'X' to drop explosive items. Everything mapped to 'X' consumes SP, so you'll need to be careful not to go too crazy with your attacks, or you'll leave yourself vulnerable whilst it replenishes. Long range attacks become available when you meet the fairy Ribbon early on, and these essentially take the form of projectile weaponry, which can be fired in rapid bursts, or charged up for a powerful blast.
You’re initially equipped with a simple hammer at the start of the game, but as you progress, you’ll acquire a vast range of different weaponry to take down your foes. Pickups are plentiful as you progress through the environments, including permanent boosts to your HP and SP, and you can consume items on the fly - like tasty donuts - to recover health. Additionally, the game has a badge system that provides permanent perks such as lowering the overall damage taken from enemies. The RPG mechanics aren’t particularly deep, but they work well in the context of the overall gameplay.
All this is shown off with very accomplished pixel graphics that burst with colour and personality. The animations are top-notch, and the artwork used for the static cutscenes is similarly impressive. Admittedly, the character design in-game is a bit ‘samey’, and most of the characters - apart from their hair - look pretty much identical. A little more variety would have been welcome.
The soundtrack, however, is simply perfect. There are excellent themes for every environment, and the music really ramps up when you get into a boss fight. We suspect these tracks will get stuck in your head hours, maybe even days, after putting Rabi-Ribi down.
Rabi-Ribi is a fantastic Metroidvania that injects a whole heap of originality into a genre that's arguably a bit overdone at this point. The bullet-hell boss battles are thrilling, the soundtrack is absolutely superb, and the RPG mechanics are really useful without being overwhelming. On the negative side, the storyline fails to excite, and we would have liked a bit more variety with the character design, but overall this is a great, 'feel good' game that deserves to be played if you're after a different flavour of Metroidvania.
Oh, I remember buying this game on pc, not expecting much, but being blown axay at how good it was!
I definitely recommend it. Excellent game.
Do not miss it because "it looks like it's bland" like I almost did.
This has been on my radar for a while. I was going to get it for Vita but I heard ages ago that it was coming to Switch, so I decided to wait. Im glad it reviewed well. Sounds like a ridiculous blast.
Oh wow, steam kept suggesting to me and I guess it knew what it was talking about. The graphical style turned me off but gameplay looks like it's right up my ally.
It wasn't bad. Cute. Simple. Not too easy.
Just waiting for the inevitable physical release from LRG.
Anyone know the price of this guy?
Mapping the attack to X something sounds awful! Y would be much better, hopefully you can remap them.
Maybe a physical release is in the works.
Seems like they added a lot of fan-service to this otherwise basic platformer.
Switch eShop Release Date:
17th Oct 2019 (US/Canada), $29.99
17th Oct 2019 (UK/EU/AU), £26.99
Personally for that price tag and bullet hell, I will wait for a sale
The Physical Limited Run version on VITA was $29. This is tops $19 digital like on PC.
A lot of people are gonna overlook this just because of the art style, but they should really give it a chance. Easily one of the best Metroidvania games there is, I'd put it in my top 3 (La-Mulana and Hollow Knight being the other two).
There's so much replay value in this, from achievements (which I believe even the Switch version has) to different difficulties, other modes (boss rushes, alternate characters) and taking different routes through the game. Almost any boss can be fought first or last depending on your preference, you can do a 0% run with (intended) sequence breaks, there's post-game DLC areas and bonus bosses and so much more.
@Darlinfan Are you suggesting people just ignore that if they don't care for it? It's fine if you like that but I think it's a valid criticism from another perspective.
If you're turned off by cutesy anime bunny girls you cannot be my friend
Hey I have a question. Does the switch release contain all of the dlc? I couldn't find that info on the game's Switch store page.
Wow, ananime game review on nintendolife and it's fan service ISN'T in the cons? I'm shocked
Well ok then another one for the backlog i guess!
@Doofenshmirtz only PJ does those reviews. I gave up on even reading his since that's all he talks about.
The only thing stopping me from getting this is the high price. I want it but I'm gonna have to wait for a decent sale.
@Snugglevixen In that case I would have preferred them to keep the base game and the DLC separate rather than forcing me to buy it all together. $45 (AUD) is really high for an eShop. Would have been a little more tempted if it was similar to the Japanese eShop price.
Im sorry, but why have them dressed like that? And why do they look so...underaged?
This was not on my radar at all, but I might have to look into it now.
Thank you for not giving this one to PJ to review. 😉
@KitsuneNight Off-topic, but who's the character in your avatar? She looks cool!
@Seanmyster6 "Thank you for not giving this one to PJ to review."
"I would give this game an 8/10 but only gross perverts will like the art style so it's a 5/10 from me."
A game with an anime-like art style that doesn't just get dumped on by NintendoLife?
It's a Halloween miracle!
@joemanji21 oh, really? Wow, didn't know just one specific reviewer is so butthurt by fan service. Thanks for the info
That's Brittany Diggers ( Cheetah) from Gold Digger.
A long running comic series by Fred Perry.
You can find the first 199 issues ( i said it was long running ) absolutely legit, for free on the internet.
That library's been there since 2013 and is on the inside cover of most Gold Digger comics.
The series was in black and white for 50 issues and then switched to color and its on it's way to 300.
It's fairly tongue in cheek and pretty fan servicy.
The avatar it self might be animated by Perry himself for his animated project. ( he did the entire thing himself on a mac )
But I am not entirely sure.
@KitsuneNight Thanks, I'll check it out!
@Snugglevixen Alright that's good to know it includes most of the dlc. I'll probably pick it up on a slight sale. What parts of the dlc are missing?
Not impressed with the pixel art for the characters or that price tag.
Might eye it when it goes on sale, though.
-The storyline is very hit and miss, and can be skipped if you really don't want to endure it
-The characters look really similar, and it can be hard to keep track of them
Eh, whatever. These don't scratch my massive enjoyment for this game. One of the best indie Metroidvanias on Switch, by far.
@GhostGeneration why not both? Fiesta music plays
@Heavyarms55 I think it's because lewdness isn't the main purpose of the game.This is just a platformer that just so happens to have non-sexualized anime girls as the main characters.
@Seanmyster6 Exactly what I was thinking. :/
@GhostGeneration Who said?
@Dakotastomp Non-sexualized is a relative term. NL in the past has happily bashed on anime games just because they have anime girls at all. On their sister site Push Square, just the other day, they called anime fans "weebs" right in the article! They irrationally labelled the SAO series misogynistic without any real evidence to back up their claim as well.
No I think the real reason they actually treated this game decently is because the gameplay graphics themselves don't look anime-like.
@Heavyarms55 Yet they give Shantae games at least an 8/10 and that looks incredibly close to a Studio Trigger anime even before its existence.
Then you have Fire emblem, No more heroes, and Astral chain and those games get high praises for their anime style, so I don't think it's necessarily that.
To me, it's a cultural moral thing where what's not a big deal to Japan, is seen as cringy to the Western world. That's why when you ask someone what their favorite anime is, many different negative ideas come to mind that don't make up/represent the whole anime fandom.
@GhostGeneration well I already pre-ordered The Physical copy, so I'll just have to see for myself. Maybe they'll have a patch to fix the FPS and DLC.
@KitsuneNight agreed, thank you sir or ma'am
@Dakotastomp Naw, I don't buy that at all. But I will say that, like any group, NintendoLife isn't a monolith. It's made up of different people and not all of them have that bias. But a good few of them do, strongly.
@Darlinfan Good luck convincing anyone outside of the target fan service for this game of that.
And an other one for the wishlist!
@Heavyarms55 Sad, but true. Which is why I don't even bother reading any of PJ's reviews anymore if he's gonna be a snarky a$shole who can't see the other person's side of the debate.
@GhostGeneration fair. But the game was something I've been wanting to play since its release on Steam, but didn't have the system requirements. Plus a little rage is something that I'm expecting from AHIT lol.
@Darlinfan @JayJ - It actually does sound like a great game I would otherwise enjoy, but will skip due to the character designs
@Darlinfan I get that... it is fairly pointless to comment on something I am not into. Just had seen the comment from @JayJ about being averse to the style, and wanted to voice agreement, esp since a majority seem to see it differently. It's not arbitrary at all, though.
I agree that aesthetics and style are very important to enjoyment, but the original comment, "Seems like they added a lot of fan-service to this otherwise basic platformer." shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the game. Calling the game a basic platformer when it's a metroidvania-styled game with bullet-hell bosses really makes me question if JayJ did anything past look at a few screenshots.
Again, it's fine to not like a game's aesthetic. But to try to offer an opinion on the gameplay based solely on that aesthetic seems faulty.
Bunny's got back. Metroidvania + Bullet Hell love.
@Snugglevixen ok, thanks for updating me.
@Oat I too am wondering. Never got super far into it, unless the game is shorter than I think (I beat a few bosses, can't remember for sure)... but yeah, I want the Halloween costumes and any unlock able characters. Does that stuff appear when you beat the game?
@Xiovanni Any chance you ever found out more about it? I still haven't finished the game, so not sure what gets unlocked, or... what was available as DLC in the first place. (Just hoping for some Halloween themes and maybe an extra character or two.)
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