Rabi-Ribi review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4
Publisher: Sekai Project
Developer: CreSpirit International
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I feel like there are two sides to Rabi-Ribi: its aesthetics/art/story, and its gameplay. While this is probably true for most games, it feels particularly worth highlighting here, since my opinion of one diverges pretty wildly from my opinion on the other.

On the one hand, there’s the fact that this game looks like the stereotypical Japanese game — which is to say, the sort of game that most people would probably feel slightly embarrassed to be seen playing in public. The game is about a rabbit who mysteriously gets changed into a real girl (albeit one with ears, a tail, a bowtie and a leotard), who then sets out to find her owner. Along the way, she meets a number of other animals/girls, pretty much all of whom are dressed in similarly scanty fashion. If that’s your thing, then…uh, more power to you, I guess, but I have to say that seeing the main character, Erina, talk about how much she misses “Master” comes off, at best, as pretty creepy.

On the other hand, however, the actual gameplay itself is a lot more interesting than you might expect. The game smashes together metroidvania-style platforming with bullet-hell boss battles, and the end result works spectacularly well. There’s plenty of places to explore and secrets to uncover, and the game does a good job of gradually revealing everything you can do. Those bullet-hell battles are also pretty amazing to look at, as the screen fills up with flashing light attacks that look totally at odds with the game’s usual art style — though, I should also add, the gameplay graphics bear little resemblance to the cutscenes, which furthers the whole idea of the game being two pretty distinct halves.

I can completely understand if the weirdness (or even grossness, depending on how strongly you feel about a bunny girl looking for her master) of Rabi-Ribi turns you off the game entirely. But at the same time, there’s something to be said for not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Like, say, Monster Monpiece before it, Rabi-Ribi may have some pretty questionable aspects, but it also has some pretty enjoyable ones, too. I leave it up to you to decide which of those things wins out.

Sekai Project provided us with a Rabi-Ribi PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B