The month of May had A LOT of great games come out, and many of them didn't get a chance in the spotlight. Today, we're looking at one such game: Rakugaki, a 3D platformer where all your movement revolves around spraying graffiti everywhere and making great art.

The game was developed by Wabisabi Games, a studio from Mexico City, Mexico, and this is their first outing as a studio. The game received funding from Riot Games’ Underrepresented Founders Program and was published by Gearbox Publishing, releasing on the 22nd of May, 2024. Is this a work of street art, or did they need more paint in the spray can? Let's find out!

Rebel Against Oppression

The game's story is quick and to the point. The evil Mr. Buff has taken over the city and made everyone miserable and grayscale. The only ones who can stop him are Vallah, a rebellious girl with a ton of graffiti spray, and AYO, her little hovering bot that talks only in beeps, like R2-D2 (though the player and other characters have no issue understanding him).

Aside from them, there's also Vallah's crew, composed of Alma, Muro, and Futuro. They don't contribute much to the story, and mostly just hang out in the hideout to sell you stuff. There are a bunch of lines of dialogue you can have with them, but they're not very fleshed out otherwise.

The hideout, with the crew in the background.

The voice acting in the game is pretty good, with Vallah being portrayed by Emi Lo, Mr. Buff by Major Attaway, and... that's it. Yeah, unfortunately, the voice acting is very limited, occurring only in cutscenes, which are comprised of (very well-done) stills of the characters. While talking to your crew, you'll only get the text, not even some typewriter-like sounds while the dialogue appears on screen. Even AYO's beeps are very short and underwhelming.

What voice acting the game has is serviceable, though the direction could've used some polish. Just about all of the spoken dialogue is between Vallah and Mr. Buff, as the latter slowly starts to acknowledge the former. The game doesn't take itself very seriously, so their interactions are mostly comedic and your mileage may vary on how funny they are. Personally, I had a fun time with the story overall.

Mr. Buff boss fight. Still not as big as his ego.

Knock 'Em Out With Spray

Rakugaki is split into multiple levels grouped into 6 zones, which you can access from the aforementioned hideout. This is also where you'll interact with Alma, Muro, and Futuro, who will sell you stuff like cosmetics and graffiti paintings (more on those later). The characters are introduced gradually as you progress through the game.

Each zone has between 5 and 7 levels, though you only need to complete 2 or 3 before being able to fight the boss of each zone. Levels are platforming-heavy and can take anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes, but that's if you take your time to explore them. If you're a speedrunner (which is where I expect the game to truly shine), you can beat each level in under two minutes.

The "world" map. Unbeaten sections are grayed out.

My regular playthrough of the game lasted about 5.5 hours at around a 17% completion rate. That was me going straight to the boss of each area, and only completing two additional levels. This is definitely a game where your main play-time will be in replaying levels exploring additional ones in order to get all the ghosts.  

Ah, yes, ghosts. Those are some of the main collectibles in each level. There are 3 hidden in the level itself, plus you get 3 for beating the level quickly, one for getting an S Rank, one for getting a certain number of coins won for destroying a certain number of enemies, one for painting all the graffiti, and a final one for finishing the level without dying, for a total of 11 ghosts per level. For bosses, that number drops to 5: the timed ones, the S-Rank, and the no death.

Map of a section, and the challenges for the selected level.

Everything in the game revolves around graffiti. You'll slide, hover, and attack using graffiti spray, turning the level into a colorful mess in the meantime. Enemies all die in one hit with one exception, and there are also boxes that contain health, coins, and bottles of spray.

There are also various screens in the game that you can spray graffiti over, which is the only time you'll need to consume the aforementioned bottles of spray. Spraying those screens will create a shockwave that will destroy all the blocks and enemies near them while also painting any surface in the immediate area, and the big ones will have a short cinematic play when you spray them.

The big graffiti have a lot of depth.

One thing that doesn't come together quite right is the hover. It uses the same button as the slide, so you'll press it in the air expecting Vallah to land into a slide, but she'll hover in the air instead. Jumping out of a slide also loses a lot of momentum if you let go of the button too soon (you'll transition into a normal run before jumping which is much slower). You get used to it, but I would've much rather you could hover by holding the jump button.

Doing all this will fill your gauge and unlock Defacer Mode, where Vallahs can jump higher, slide faster, and damage enemies while sliding. It's great for getting around the level faster, but it's also very fragile, as one hit will reset the entire gauge and cancel Defacer Mode.

Defacer mode in action. Gotta go fast!

The bosses can best be described as bullet-hellish. You don't really fight them, you just avoid the onslaught of projectiles coming your way and then spray over a panel that pops up to damage them, all split into 3 phases. The third phase is the longest and most difficult, with a notable spike compared to the previous two.

The biggest issue is that those bosses don't fit the rest of the levels. There's not much in terms of bullet-hell in the rest of the game, so you need to switch to a different set of skills when facing them. This wouldn't be much of an issue, but the 3rd phase of the final 2 bosses is an insane difficulty spike and detracts from the whole experience.

In the middle of a boss fight. These get real intense.

Graffiti on Every Screen

As mentioned in the previous section, you can graffiti various screens throughout the game, which will put one of many pre-existing images on them (which you can buy in the shop). Those are all really well made and very colorful, and the big ones have a nice 3D effect and a little bit of movement to make them stand out more. Big kudos to the art department for these.

The music is also excellent, with a lot of techno beats to go with the rebellious narrative of the game. Each level has its own track that you can see the name of at the beginning, and you can choose to play them in your hideout, though you unlock that quite late into the game. Some soundtracks can get a bit repetitive, but you don't notice it in the level, and the music is still good.

Some smaller, but still impressive, graffiti.

The performance of the game was great for the most part, though there were some heavy stutters in the beginning. Those went away fairly quickly, so it might have been a caching issue. The framerate also tended to tank when there were a lot of projectiles and effects on screen, particularly during boss fights, but it was fine for most of my playthrough. There's also ultrawide support, which is nice.

On a personal note, my favorite level in the game was a side one called BLINDFOLD.EXE. The main gimmick was that you couldn't see the platforms at all, so you had to spray the floors or various screens to see where you could stand. Very creative, and makes me want to go back and check other side-levels and see what cool stuff they have.


All in all, I had a great time with Rakugaki. There are a few rough edges here and there that could've used some work, but I don't regret playing it and plan on coming back in my spare time.


  • Unique and pleasant art style.
  • Great soundtrack.
  • Fun movement options, for the most part.
  • Doesn't overstay its welcome, but plenty of extra content if you want more.


  • Some movement options don't work well together.
  • Bosses don't mix well with the rest of the levels.
  • Huge difficulty spike in the later half of the game.

Defying graffity. Eh? Eh?

One thing I didn't touch on in the review (because it's not very relevant) is the name. Rakugaki is a Japanese word that means "doodle" or "sketch", but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to pronounce the whole thing, like how Vallah does in the game, or RKGK, the abbreviation that's used in the title screen and logo. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, and I went with Rakugaki in the review, but I figured I'd mention it.

Overall, the game gets our recommendation, and we look forward to seeing more from Wabisabi Games. It's on Steam for 19.99 USD or your regional equivalent, but it has a 10% discount until the 29th of May.

What do you think of Rakugaki? Are you going to give this graffiti-filled adventure a shot? Let us know in the comments below!