When Rabi-Ribi was released in 2016 it blew all my expectations out of the water. Fast forward one year later and this amazing gem is finally out for consoles on PS4 and Vita.
For those of you that haven’t had the opportunity to play the original when it came out, Rabi-Ribi follows Erina a bunny turned human as she goes off on a sprawling adventure in search for her master. Along the way she meets Ribbon a helpful fairy who tags along with her in her quest. The adventure is full of eccentric characters you will fight and befriend. And while it is not the games selling point, it was silly enough to have gotten a chuckle out of us more than once.
The gameplay is as every bit as enjoyable as it was when it originally came out. The game is equal parts exploration, platforming, combat and boss battles, with some lighter RPG elements sprinkled throughout.
Erina starts out with just the ability to hop but she soon picks up the Piko Hammer letting her hit enemies and quickly meets up with Ribbon who gives you the ability to shoot colorful projectiles. And before you know it you will be effortlessly stringing together different abilities like it’s your second nature.
The responsive controls go a long way in making Rabi-Ribi so enjoyable to play. Slowly starting out with a limited number of options helps you get the hang of everything you have at your disposal.
Even though every segment is made equally well, the highlights are definitely the amazing boss battles. These play almost like your typical shmup. You must, however, get used to the fact that there is gravity and you cannot just fly out of the way of a deadly barrage. Each boss has countless screen-filling bullet patterns, and you must use everything at your disposal to take them out. There is a total of 40 boss battles and each and every one of them feels totally unique.
The game offers a large number of difficulty options bound to suit every skill level, ranging from casual and going up to Hard, with an additional 2 difficulty levels locked. After you beat the game you will unlock a boss rush mode as well as a speedrun mode which is bound to keep you playing long after the credits finish rolling.
The game can get a bit overwhelming at times especially during the though boss encounters. Thankfully you are never forced down one specific route and you can always explore a bit more and come back when Erina gets a few more abilities and you as the player has gotten a bit more skilled.
If you were impressed by the variety found in Castlevania Symphony of the Night and the later portable outings, Rabi-Ribi will blow you away. While you do explore just one gigantic world, the sheer number of regions and landmarks make every single area memorable. Visiting sunny beaches, icy mountains, and water levels are one thing but add mysterious pyramids, floating cities, and even cyberspace and you’ll get the idea of what kind of world to expect. Like everything else in Rabi-Ribi the soundtrack is amazing. Every area has its own kickass yet memorable tune, making it that much more rewarding to uncover new areas.
At a glance, the game may seem a bit lewd given how our heroines are dressed, but this couldn’t be further from the truth as Rabi-Ribi is quite tame. While the game has a retro aesthetic, it is actually gleaming with details, with everything from the adorably animated backgrounds to the bright effects that fill the screen.
Almost every aspect of Rabi-Ribi is unbelievably polished. The developers are still working hard adding new content with updates even a year after its original release. While it is a shame that both the PS4 and Vita versions are little more than ports, the games are priced at an affordable £24.99 and £15.99 respectively. Rabi-Ribi is a refreshing gem in today’s market and is a must buy for all owners of these systems.