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RKGK review – Super Mario meets Jet Set Radio

Set in a colourless future where people have been turned into mindless drones by Mr. Buff and his army of screens and machines, it’s up to you to take a stand. As the rebellious Valah, a member of the RKGK crew, speed and style are your friends here, and you’ll fight not only with your fists and feet, but with graffiti, too.

It’s safe to say that you’ll have never played a 3D platformer quite like RKGK before. It’s like a mix between Super Mario and Jet Set Radio, with speedrunning elements thrown in to spice things up even further. Across numerous chapters, each boasting a number of stages and a boss fight, you’ll race to destroy Mr. Buff’s data centres that power his oppressive system. And along the way, you’ll have to overcome platforming challenges, troublesome robotic enemies and more.

On the face of it, the gameplay here isn’t all that different from other 3D platformers. As Valah, you can jump, double jump, air dash, and perform melee attacks. Using these skills, you’ll negotiate moving platforms, avoid bottomless pits, and whack robots that stand in your path. In addition to these basic moves, however, Valah can also use paint cans to glide along most surfaces, and hover in the air.

RKGK review body 1
Image: Wabisabi Games

Add in being able to ride on rails and quickly dash to grapple points, and you have a game where you determine the pace. You can take things slow and steady if you want, or you can vie to move through levels like a speed demon. Ultimately you’ll probably want to do both – tackle stages at a steady pace your first time though, then return to race through it. You’re rewarded for doing so, too, with each stage having a variety of optional objectives to complete.

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There’s another reason you’ll want to take things a bit slower the first time around, too: graffiti points. Throughout each stage you’ll find a number of screens – these are your canvasses. Provided you’ve picked up enough graffiti cans, you can paint over these with stunning works of art, not only making the world a brighter, more interesting place, but also earning you points in the process. You’ll need these points to unlock the boss fight in each chapter. So, while you don’t need to find and paint over all of the screens in each stage, you need to at least deface some of them.

Engaging in a bit of graffiti also provides a big boost to your Defacer Meter, which is otherwise charged by chaining actions together. When the meter is full, you enter Defacer Mode, which allows you to quickly dash through the world, destroying enemies and boxes containing items as you go. Needless to say, those chasing quick completion times and high score will vie to enter Defacer Mode as quickly as possible, and remain in it.

RKGK review body 2
Image: Wabisabi Games

Elevating the whole experience is the fact that RKGK looks absolutely glorious, with an edgy graffiti-like art style bringing it to life. And while the game’s standard stages are typically dark and occasionally a little samey, there are challenging .EXE stages thrown into the mix that are bright and outlandish. Add in a techno soundtrack that will genuinely get your feet tapping, and this is a game that you can be sure won’t disappoint in terms of audio or visuals.

Players can expect to make their way through the story of RKGK in around eight hours, but chances are there’ll still be much left to do after that. Optional levels and objectives might draw players back, and completing stages within target times will prove to be a real challenge. There are many cosmetics to unlock, too, including clothing items for Valah, new pieces of graffiti to use, and more.

Destined to be one of 2024’s hidden gems, there’s a hell of a lot to like about RKGK. It perhaps could do with a little extra polish — you might encounter the odd rough edge from time to time — but Mexico-based developer Wabisabi Games has genuinely created something unique and interesting here that demands the attention of any fan of 3D platformers. With its focus on fluid movement and use of eye-popping graffiti art, it’s a bit of a treat.

This review of RKGK was facilitated with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PC.

RKGK review - GameSpew's score

8 10 0 1
A 3D platformer with an exhilarating techno soundtrack and stunning graffiti-inspired visuals, RKGK will win you over with its fluid movement and challenging gameplay. It's destined to be one of 2024's hidden gems.
A 3D platformer with an exhilarating techno soundtrack and stunning graffiti-inspired visuals, RKGK will win you over with its fluid movement and challenging gameplay. It's destined to be one of 2024's hidden gems.
Total Score

We like...

  • Its soundtrack will make you tap your feet
  • Eye-popping graffiti and visuals
  • Fluid movement

We don't like...

  • Sometimes a bit rough around the edges

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