Rakugaki RKGK

Review: RKGK

Wasabi Games is about to release RKGKa game I’ve spent this month with and had a ton of fun doing so. RKGK (Rakugaki) is based in the Japanese world and is used for scribble, doodle, and graffiti. In this case, the focus is on Mexican graffiti culture, and you can tell there is a lot of passion from the developers to deliver a celebration of their culture.

RKGK is a 3D action platformer set in a futuristic dystopia called Cap City. You play as protagonist Valah, who aims to thwart the evil CEO of B Corp from draining the metropolis of its vibrancy. Valah achieves this by engaging in combat with B Corp and using a parkour system to cover the city in graffiti and stop the oppression of the city and its inhabitants.

RKGK Is Filled With Great Moments

One look at RGKG, and it’s hard not to see the inspirations being pulled from Jet Set Radio. 

From the opening levels in RGKG, you can see they are inspired by brutalist architecture and offer various side items to collect, often hidden or located beside the apparent path forward. This encourages players to explore the levels thoroughly. Players can use specific terrain to paint the floor, creating a slippery surface for the character Valah to glide across, similar to the movement mechanic in games like Splatoon.

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As Valah, players have abilities such as double jumping, gliding, dashing, and grinding on rails. Combat in the game is relatively basic, and it appears to primarily serve the purpose of building up the special meter to progress through levels.

RKGK’s narrative and action unfold across six chapters, each segmented into a series of repeatable, relatively short levels. Between these levels, the protagonist Valah returns to her hideout headquarters where the other Rakugaki are waiting. Valah can purchase new outfits at this base, check her stats, and interact with her friends.

The collection of graffiti points is one compelling reason to slow down and explore each stage. Scattered throughout each level are numerous screens that serve as canvasses. Provided Valah has enough graffiti cans, she can create stunning works of art on these screens, enhancing the game world’s visual appeal and earning points needed to unlock the boss fight in each chapter. Although finding and painting every screen is unnecessary, you must deface some to progress.

Make it Flashy

Graffiti also significantly boosts the Defacer Meter, which charges through chained actions. When the meter is full, Valah enters Defacer Mode, enabling her to dash rapidly through the world, destroying enemies and item-containing boxes. You aim for quick completion times and high scores and will strive to activate and maintain Defacer Mode as swiftly as possible.

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The main story of RKGK takes approximately six to eight hours to complete but offers plenty of additional content to keep you engaged. Optional levels and objectives beckon for further exploration, and achieving target completion times presents a real challenge. Numerous cosmetics, including clothing items for Valah and new graffiti pieces, are available to unlock.

In addition to screens and paint cans, players collect coins and tokens to purchase cosmetics. Tokens are particularly challenging to find, often hidden in secret areas or requiring the completion of specific objectives, such as clearing a room full of enemies. Players soon realize that not every screen needs to be found to clear a level, emphasizing the game’s dual nature as both a collectathon and a score-chaser. Exploration, speedrunning, and discovering shortcuts play into the game’s multifaceted appeal.

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Each level includes optional objectives, primarily focused on finishing within certain times, hinting at RKGK’s core as a replayable game. Replaying levels with a timer encourages players to improve their performance, utilizing tricks and shortcuts previously discovered. The detailed level design always creates something new to explore and master.

RKGK‘s controls are smooth, and the game is exceptionally well-crafted. The graffiti effects are outstanding, as is the level design. Each chapter of the game has a unique aesthetic, and individual levels within those chapters distinguish themselves through visuals, design, and the challenges presented. Each chapter concludes with a boss battle, usually a mix of puzzles and combat. However, players are not required to complete every level in a chapter to unlock their boss. Completing the game can take six to ten hours, depending on how thoroughly players explore each level and collect every item.

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Verdict

Overall, RKGK is a great title, but it has some unevenness behind it. The challenge is there, but it won’t overwhelm you as you explore a wonderfully unique world filled with colour, charm, and style. There isn’t a lot of story to experience, but what is there is enough filler to get you to the good stuff — the gameplay. Having something like RKGK, a flashy and entertaining platformer, in your library is a no-brainer when many titles pad out playtime with filler.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on:

Rakugaki RKGK
Review: RKGK
Summary
Having something like RKGK in your library is a no-brainer when so many titles pad out playtime with filler these days.
Liked
Plays and handles great
A ton of replayability
Stylish and fantastic production
Didn't Like
The plot doesn't offer enough to stay interesting
8