Rabbit & Steel

Rabbit & Steel

released on May 09, 2024

Rabbit & Steel

released on May 09, 2024

Rabbit & Steel is a co-op roguelike where rabbits must team up together in raids to investigate strange happenings in the Moonlit Kingdom.

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got bodied too hard for my skill level, but damn it all if i didnt think this game was fun as hell

im terrible at bullet hells but I'll be damned if these rabbits aren't the cutest things I've ever seen. you should steel yourself NOW

cute rabbits, fun builds, fun raid mechanics, even more fun with friends. good game.

It feels weird writing a review for a game I've only played for a bit more than a week- especially when I seldom write reviews- but having poured so much time into this game already, I think I'd like to give a review a shot. I apologize if this review is too long- I'll be talking in length about the harder difficulties for the most part but hopefully I can touch upon the more casual parts of the game.

I assume most people already know, but just to get this out of the way- the game's a roguelike that draws heavily from bullet hell and mmo raiding game design, sporting both a solo and multiplayer mode.

I think R&S does a really good job of combining and then implementing those mechanics into a roguelike-- bullet hells are more gentle on people seeing a fight for the first time while also rewarding those familiar with how best to dodge patterns, while raiding mechanics demand some amount of knowledge (if you're playing hard; lunar most certainly requires intimate understanding), tying well into the roguelike element of trying once again, having gained new knowledge. I also think all the fights are very creatively designed and really fun as well. Each area has a different "theme", for example Scholar's Nest is heavy on axis-locking players combined with forced teleports, leaning heavily into the more puzzle mechanic aspect of the game. Meanwhile, King's Arsenal throws tons of cleaves and aoes at you, focusing more on the bullet hell aspect of movement and dodging. Regardless, each fight sprinkles a healthy amount of both of those elements, keeping you on your toes at all times.

On singleplayer, the game can get incredibly brutal. There's typically more you have to dodge and more complex puzzles for you to solve compared to multiplayer. On the other hand, multiplayer relaxes its bullet hell and puzzle puzzling, instead giving players spreads or stacks and other "multiplayer mechanics" like proximity tethers, meaning that you and your teammates all have to play well and make sure not to step on each others' toes. Both modes are incredibly fun, and public lobbies are pretty active so you have a good chance of being able to hop into multiplayer whenever if you've got no friends to play with. And if there's no one to play with, singleplayer is still an equally challenging and exciting experience to engage with.

There's 4 difficulties-- Cute, which is basically easy mode (I've never played it so I'm unsure just how easy it is) and is incredibly forgiving; Normal, which gives you fairly frequent heals between fights and has a lenient timer on reviving (basically in multiplayer if you die, you have to wait for a timer until you can revive in battle); Hard then gives fights more health, an enrage timer, longer revive timers, and ups the mechanical difficulty; Lunar cuts down on your max hp, healing between fights, enemy HP will continue to scale higher and higher, much longer revive timers, and significantly more difficult fights.

For those who are unaware, the combat runs on a GCD system (if you already know, go ahead and skip this paragraph lol) which stands for "global cooldown". Basically, all your buttons are tied to the same timer (called the global cooldown), and once you press once button, it, along with your other buttons, will go on cooldown until your GCD ends. Buttons can have different GCDs, for example pressing button 1 might take 1.6 seconds before you can perform your next action, but button 2 only takes 0.8 seconds. Sort of like endlag. There are buttons exempt from this, called oGCDs ("off global cooldown") which are on their own cooldown timer and can be activated at any moment, even when your GCD is "on cooldown".

You have 4 buttons- a primary, secondary, special, defensive. Defensive is the easiest to describe-- it's an oGCD, and generally speaking you get a brief invuln tied to a relatively long cooldown. For some classes there's also often an offensive benefit tied to your defensive, which creates a fun risk/reward system where you can either choose to indulge in your dps rotation, or save the button for when you need an emergency dodge. Some defensives also have some sort of mobility tied to them, allowing for some quick repositioning.

The functions of primaries, secondaries, and specials are all kind of muddled, as depending on the class one might be your primary damage button while in the other it's used as filler or to supplement your actual primary damage button. As a sort of generalization, primaries are typically close range while secondaries are ranged and used as a disengagement tool. Specials are kind of an in between, and basically just do anything, but they're typically going to be your strongest damage button. But I should make it very very clear, it absolutely depends on the class what each button does and how it fits into your damage rotation.

Unlike mmo raiding, the game is still designed to be playable solo, so every class is basically just a different flavor of dps, although there are some more support-types that can still hold their own in personal damage. There's really good variety- every class offers a different experience and encourages vastly differing builds. Assassin is fast-paced and incredibly mobile to supplement it's positional (extra damage if you hit the boss from a certain position) playstyle; Heavyblade has a slow gcd but very meaty hits with large hitboxes, thus benefiting a lot if you can land yourself loot that decreases your GCD; Dancer has great hitboxes and has you alternating between your primary and secondary that can not only buff the other but also have a chance of resetting your fairly strong special, while also being able to buff the team using its defensive; Sniper demands you to position properly so that you can hit your primary, thus resetting its otherwise medium-length timer while also having you keep track of a DoT timer alongside your special timer; etc.

Every stage you get a shop which lets you spend gold (currency you accumulate each run) on button upgrades that can vastly change your playstyle. There's 4 "flavors" of upgrades-- Opal, Sapphire, Ruby, Garnet, Emerald; and the shop will have a random one for each of your buttons. Not quite sure how to generalize what each flavor does, but for example Ruby will typically give you more base damage at the cost of a higher "cost", be that GCD, timer, resources (class-dependent), so on.

I won't delve too much into the sheer variety of builds and playstyles, as it's very class-specific, so I'll only give examples for one class-- Ancient (this is going to be long so if you don't care, go ahead and skip). Ancient has an incredibly strong special at the cost of an incredibly long cooldown. It circumvents this by having its secondary (on its own, shorter, cooldown) cut down on your special cooldown each time you use it. Using your defensive will also reset your secondary cooldown, allowing your to cut down on your special cooldown even more. However, all that damage isn't actually tied to the player character but rather a minion you control. Using your secondary will send that minion out to the target's hitbox (relative to your own position) dealing damage, while also locking its position in that location until you A) use your secondary again to reposition, or B) use your defensive, which returns the minion to following your player character around. In other words, you're heavily encouraged to use your secondary as much as possible to reset your special cooldown, while also making sure that you have stacks so you can adjust your minion position alongside the boss's own movement, so that your buttons (special in particular) don't just whiff, giving Ancient incredible but limited range. On bosses that move a lot (like King's Arsenal, you know who you are) this demands you to have good timing on your positioning buttons to actually land the damage, but on more stationary bosses, you get to go to town. Only your primary button has you, the player avatar, actually doing damage (in other words, whether your attack lands or not is dependent on your position, as is the case with literally every other class) and without any upgrades it's a dual hit from both you and your minion, requiring proper positioning from both you and the minion. But you can go to hell with that-- one upgrade makes it so only you deal the damage, making minion positioning more lenient while also putting more weight on your own; there's also another upgrade that makes it so your minion does all the damage, which means you get to sit far off in narnia while your minion does all the work, but also means you have to be more prudent with your minion-positioning buttons. You can opt for a significantly shorter defensive cooldown, allowing more opportunities to reposition and refresh your secondary cooldown, at the cost of having control over when your invuln gets to activate. Or maybe you forgo the secondary-reset and get the upgrade that removes that effect in favor of a passive damage buff. Ancient plays really well into special-based loot, especially ones that will reset your special cooldown at certain intervals due to its own long special cooldown. If you choose to upgrade your special with the Ruby upgrade, you get a significant damage increase with a slight cooldown increase as well, but more notably, the special cooldown can no longer be reset by anything other than your secondary, effectively locking you out of one of Ancient's strongest builds, but also encouraging you to lean more into your other sources of damage.

Class balance is for the most part good, but it gets pretty atrocious for two classes in particular, from my experience (I've only properly played half of the available classes, for the record, so it's very likely I'm missing some things)-- Defender and Assassin. Real quick, this is really no big deal if you're playing normal, and only becomes apparent from Hard onward. See, at first Assassin seems really good, your defensive is effectively on a short cooldown and you've got really good movement and emergency dodges because of that. As you play harder difficulties though, it becomes imperative that you use your defensive on cooldown to utilize its damage buff and squeeze in as much dps as you can to make enerage. That's fine, but Assassin doesn't have particular outstanding scalings and it makes DPS checks really tight. Worst of all, it lacks a strong aoe option unlike literally any other class, making checks even more tight on boss fights with multiple bosses. At some point its strength of having quick invulns becomes its weakness; it's clearly given lower damage to balance it out, but when you start playing Hard+, you don't want to be in a position where you have to keep using emergency dodges anyway. The worst offender is the Churchmouse Streets final boss, which has a soft enrage if you fail to defeat a bunch of adds scattered around the arena. Meanwhile, Defender has some insane button upgrades- if you get the right ones you can basically just double your damage just like that. Its defensive isn't even tied to its dps, and even if you get the upgrade that does give your buttons more charges when you use your defensive, that's just adding even more sauce to a damage burger that's dripping with it already. To be honest, that's fine. I can choose not to get those upgrades if I want to hold back on damage, so really my main issue is just with how badly Assassin scales and how you pretty much never want to take it into Hard+ even if it's really fun, so I just wanted to complain about Defender which, in my eyes, has it all. (After writing this I went ahead and looked up other people's class rating and it seems like I'm actually totally wrong LOL, well, I guess that's to be expected when I haven't playtested these classes that much, but I still think Assassin gets the short end of the stick so I'm leaving this in, sorry)

The fusion of roguelike, bullet hell, and raiding elements is an incredible strength of the game, but I also think it digs an inevitable pitfall for people seeking to grind higher difficulties. Final bosses (just to clarify I mean the final boss of an area, not of a full run) take significantly more time and have significantly more mechanics than any other boss, but getting to them becomes an incredible chore once you've gotten every other boss down consistently. It becomes a 7-10 minute mindless slog of muscle memory and even resetting for bad rng (I tend to avoid doing this but this does touch on an issue with the game I have I'll get to later) just to see maybe 2-3 mechanics of the same mechanic you've died to over and over again before you die once more. And you keep on doing this until eventually you figure it out.

This is practically a nonissue in normal I think, and I found it tolerable in hard as I never found myself walled by any particular mechanic and made steady progress every run (though I don't think this would be the case for everyone) but that aspect really rears its rather ugly head in the Lunar grind. In XIV terms, it's like wanting to do Criterion but you can only start on Savage Criterion. I don't mind the heavily challenging gauntlet fight that is Lunar difficulty, but I also think that it demands too much time and energy from you just to get even a little bit of prog on the final boss (or even the boss before that, as those can still be fairly difficult). It gets to the point where you might as well just stop playing the game and study VODs of the fight to figure mechanics out.

I feel that Lunar difficulty leans heavily towards R&S's raiding roots, while still forcing you to play a roguelike, and suddenly those two elements start to clash, when in lower difficulties the game was able to achieve a perfect blend of the two. Like I said, I think it's inevitable, the best thing you could do I think, is to add a boss practice mode- any boss you've seen already you can challenge independently anytime. Maybe you could set it so you can only challenge up to the last mechanic you saw, but I wonder how you'd approach that from a coding standpoint.

But then that would defeat the purpose of the game being a rougelike- what about the crazy builds you could assemble that might totally change how you approach a fight, offensively and defensively? But see, the game doesn't give you loot (the potential upgrades) that often-- 2 times in the starting stage, and 1 time in every stage after that-- and even then, loot can range from god-awful to run changing. This has always been the case for the roguelike genre, but when the game offers you loot so sparingly, and you're desperate to meet a dps check or just want to have some fun with unserious builds, it becomes a large issue. A debuff build might snowball well, but will you even get the loot required to make it worth it? Having flat extra damage is nice, but that doesn't really change how you approach playing. Since you only get 3 pieces before your first final boss, suddenly your run can be very dependent on whether you roll well or not.

And there's a good amount of nothingburger loot mixed in, which is such a shame because there's some really cool loot effects out there that you can get as well. Like, if I had to pick between loot that deals a gajillion damage every second, or loot that does something really goofy like making my special have completely random side effects, I'd pick the latter in a heartbeat. You aren't given many opportunities at loot and if you get a stinker selection, you might as well just throw your hands up in defeat. I think the game's core gameplay is still very fun and holds up even without the loot system, but it plays like a roguelike and I wish the loot system as a whole could be better. I think some of the issues I have will be circumvented as more classes will be added, allowing for potential synergies with existing loot sets, but until then I'll keep passing on literally any DoT loot.

Okay, I think I've had my fill complaining about Lunar difficulty. I love playing Lunar fights, but I hate doing Lunar runs, that's basically how it goes.

Probably the last issue I'll touch upon is the insane visual clutter. It's especially present in multiplayer when you've got up to 4 players throwing out tons of effects and colors, coupled with the enemy's mechanics that can cover up tons of the screen the more people there are, and your screen's suddenly awash with a swath of effects and colors. I've had tons of instances where I fail to identify where I am and where the bullets or aoes are and I find myself blindly smacking into an attack or even an ally. Even on single player, there's sometimes not enough contrast between mechanic indicators and everything else and I end up getting hit by some invisible aoe (churchmouse boss 1 I'm looking at you), though in truth that rarely happens. So that you can keep track of your gcds and yourself, your avatar has a mini hotbar beside them that shows you your gcd cooldowns, but it doesn't show all of your loot cooldowns which, depending your loot, can be integral to deciding your next gcd. That's no issue, as there's a larger hotbar on the bottom of the screen that shows ALL of your cooldowns. Except, if you move too far down, the hotbar disappears so that you can actuallly see around you. I remember seeing settings that allow you to fiddle with some of these things, so maybe I'm complaining about something that's already fixed? If so, I might be the biggest clown, sorry about that.

I've talked a lot about issues I have, but I should make it abundantly clear that despite it all, I've only had fun with this game. In truth, Lunar was always going to be an incredibly grueling pursuit anyway, and all the issues I've had with it are practically absent from every other difficulty. It's an incredibly accessible game to just pick up and play, there's tons of value in playing both solo and multiplayer, and it captures the magic of mmo raiding and condenses it into a roguelike really well. I love all the rabbit and enemy character designs, and there's lots of variety and creativity put into the fight, class, and loot design.

I haven't mentioned the OST yet, by the way. I'm not particularly articulate when it comes to music but, yeah, it's really good and complements all the areas and fights well. A sort of tense, mysterious track for Scholar's Nest; a bubbly pop song for Emerald Lakeside; a medieval(?), pompous theme for Churchmouse; a serene and mystical piano track for King's Arsenal; and an intense orchestral theme for Darkhouse. Also the game switches between "calm" and "action" variations of the track depending on whether you're in combat or not, which is something I'm a big fan of. I won't mention my favorite track in the game due to spoilers but I think it's fairly obvious which one it is :^)

There's also a story that you can experience if you play through it solo, I won't talk too much about it (yes I've completed it all) but I think it's really cute, there's some nice character interactions throughout and even the dreaded thematics, but ultimately it's not going to be the draw of the game. I do think the way you go about unlocking the story is really tedious though, and I'd only recommend doing it if you don't mind resetting your run a bunch or if you just really like what you're seeing of the story. I probably shot myself in the foot for insisting on clearing the story on hard mode, though...

At some point I started to regret writing this review, it tends to fall into my own pitfalls of constant and redundant waffling about incredibly minor issues I have, but I'm in too deep and so I'm pressing that Create Log button whether I like it or not. Thanks for reading, if you've somehow made it this far! Even if a lot of what I talked about where criticisms, those pale in comparison to just how much fun I've had playing this game so I encourage you to check it out if any aspect of the game piques your interest fr


i love gay bungirls I wish they were real