Rabi-Ribi is a new 2D platformer for the Nintendo Switch. Take the role of the bubbly character Erina. A rabbit who has been magically transformed into a human being. She wakes up in an unfamiliar dark room, searching for answers and obviously confused. It’s a mystery as to why she was transformed or how she got here. All we know is that she used to be a bunny, and she’s been separated from her “Master”.
Rabi-Ribi is a game that I wouldn’t typically play. The screenshots and game art show way too much (well, let’s be frank here) skin and cleavage. I’m not a feminist or anything, I’m just not into young girls dressed up as little animals. Erina might have turned into a human but she still has her tail and ears, so she kinda looks like a Playboy mascot… but that’s none of my business, I guess. Once you get into the actual gameplay though, it isn’t too shabby. There are plenty of positives to mention and I actually liked the game more than I thought I would.
The simplest way to describe the gameplay in Rabi-Ribi is to compare it to an old Metroid game. Instead of the player just being able to explore left and right they can also pan to the next screen by going up or down. Erina will encounter characters that she will have to fight throughout the game. Some of them will become your friends and others will become enemies. The storyline is non-linear as well, so there are a couple of different sequences that can happen during your playthroughs. Which also makes the game replayable for those who want to see every storyline. My least favorite part of the game is probably the cutscenes. There are plenty of “cute” anime girls, being “BFFs”, in their “little” outfits, so yeah. Once again, this isn’t my usual cup of tea so that’s probably why I couldn’t really get into the whole thing.
Erina acquires a hammer for attacking pretty early on in the game. The hammer is Erina’s main weapon, but she acquires a lot of sub weapons throughout her adventure. Whatever weapon you have equipped will level up the more you use it. Giving you more attack power, new combos and even adding more range to your attack. This also applies to Erina’s abilities, like jumping for example. So eventually you can jump higher and reach new areas. Of course, this tends to mean a little backtracking for those of you who want to collect everything and fully complete the story. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are also secret battles that you won’t find unless you go a different route, so in my experience, it definitely made the game last longer.
There are plenty of save points throughout the game. These will recover Erina’s health when she stands under them and if her HP reaches 0 she’ll return to the last one you save at. I think the main appeal of Rabi-Ribi was supposed to be the battle sequences, which are pretty fun. But they can get a tad crazy at times. The little sprites are jumping around the screen, while their attacks are bouncing around in every direction. It’s a good challenge if you want to practice evasion or something like that, it just got kind of repetitive after a while. From the main menu you can choose from story mode, speed run and boss mode. The titles all kind of speak for themselves. I mostly played the story mode but it’s pretty fun running through speed mode if you just want a quick playthrough.
While it pains me to compliment any of the art, I will say that what is there, is done well. I don’t like the cutscenes but aesthetically they looked good, and the music is kind of catchy at times too. I liked that the actual gameplay had the old school pixelated graphics. The character sprites are way cuter than their busty, anime counterparts so it made me like them better. The game looked great docked and in handheld mode. As crazy as some of the battles get, I didn’t notice any slow down in gameplay either.
While Rabi-Ribi isn’t something I’d usually pick up and play, I know there are people out there who would love these characters and the story. The gameplay itself is fun and I liked how much exploration there is. There’s also something very satisfying about beating up enemies and leveling up your weapons. But if “cutesy anime” isn’t your jam, then the $30.00 price tag might be a little steep for you. Either way, no judgment here. Checkout Rabi-Ribi, available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop.
Review: Rabi-Ribi (Nintendo Switch)
Rabi-Ribi is fun in a lot of ways, it just focuses on being too “cute” and it disconnects the player from any actual storyline. Unless you’re a fan of anime and bunny rabbits I’d probably wait for this one to go on sale.