Rabbit and Steel Review

Rabbit and Steel mino_dev

The MMORPG genre is a special and unique one, filled with its own weird quirks and specific sets of mechanics, which often rely on the massively, multiplayer, and online parts of the acronym.

However, there are some titles that attempt to emulate MMORPGs without the multiplayer component, like Kingdoms of Amalur and CrossCode, but few titles focus on the rotation-based combat system and raiding mechanics, which is what makes Rabbit and Steel so unique.

Rabbit and Steel is a bullet hell boss rush game that accurately simulates an MMORPG’s endgame raiding experience, down to the positionals, rotations, visual clutter, and insane mechanical overlaps.

Rabbit and Steel
Developer: mino_dev
Publisher: mino_dev
Platforms: Microsoft Windows (Reviewed)
Release Date: March 9, 2024
Players: 1-4
Price: $14.99

Created by solo developer mino_dev, Rabbit and Steel is a 2D roguelike with a heavy emphasis on bullet hell gameplay. Don’t let its cutesy art style and usage of light colors fool you, though; this game is quite tough and will brutalize the player at harder difficulties.

Thankfully, Rabbit and Steel has a good range of difficulty options, which makes it accessible to those who are new to bullet hell games. It goes to show that a game can have brutal content while also being fully accessible to newcomers, and Rabbit and Steel finds a way to satisfy both ends of the spectrum without leaning too hard either way.

It also helps that the game requires more mechanical knowledge than the ability to dodge five million tiny spheres on the screen. Even if it may look or sound too complex at first, most mechanics can be easily understood, and the difficulty comes from how they overlap and get utilized in creative ways.

Something that is immediately noticeable is how Rabbit and Steel reads like a love letter to the Final Fantasy series. Its combat mechanics and raid-like encounters may specifically simulate Final Fantasy XIV, but its menus, presentation, and art evoke something closer to the earlier entries in the famous RPG franchise.

Rabbit and Steel‘s presentation is incredibly charming, and even though it wears its inspirations proudly, it still manages to have a unique identity of its own, thanks to its cutesy art style and soundtrack. The character designs are all 10/10 plushie material, featuring light color schemes and rounded features while also conveying the classes they are meant to represent effortlessly.

Rabbit and Steel in general just has a very unique aesthetic that can only be found in mino_dev’s previous work, Maiden and Spell, which also features girls in dresses fighting each other by shooting planetary-sized explosions.

When it comes to combat, Rabbit and Steels describes itself as a raiding roguelike, and what that means is that battles follow the structure of a traditional MMORPG’s raid. Players are expected to comply with the movement-based mechanics or be instantly punished by taking damage, while also maintaining an optimal rotation to damage the boss.

Most classes have four skills: a primary, a secondary, a special, and an evasive. These skills benefit from being used in a certain order, usually increasing damage dealt. Most classes are pretty straightforward, but any items or upgrades you pick up may completely change how your rotation plays out.

Encounters in Rabbit and Steel feel like trying to solve a complex math problem while you also do basic math in your head. Doing one or the other may be easy, but attempting to do both simultaneously will remove any smoothness present in your brain, and that goes double for hard and lunar difficulty encounters.

A full run in Rabbit and Steel consists of the opening stage, three of the game’s main stages, and the final boss fight. The game features five main stages, and the player gets to select their starting area whenever they embark on a new run.

It may not sound like a big deal at first, but being able to choose your starting area is extremely important in a game like this because it allows you to train for fights that you aren’t confident in beating just yet, removing the frustration you’d have from doing well in a run and being faced with a fight you haven’t rehearsed enough.

Each stage has its own set of mechanics, which the bosses slowly introduce over the course of a few fights until the last area boss employs them all at once in unique ways. It’s a very humbling experience to move through the early fights thinking you figured everything out, only to go cross-eyed trying to decipher what to do during the last boss fights.

Initially, reaching the final boss for each stage and getting every mechanic thrown out at you makes for an exasperating experience, until everything finally clicks into place and you move through fights with ease.

Rabbit and Steel is one of those games where you can see yourself slowly improving at it, something that not a lot of recent titles manage to deliver. It’s a genuinely thrilling experience to clear fights without taking damage, and using all of your knowledge to weave through a boss’ mechanics seamlessly makes you feel like the smartest person in the world.

The game’s multiplayer mode is also eye-opening, as you get to watch other players solve fights in completely different ways, which is always a very rewarding experience that indirectly helps you get better at the game.

Rabbit and Steel delivers a fully polished experience for MMORPG, bullet hell, and roguelike fans, and it’s without a doubt one of the best and most innovative indie games released this year.

Anyone who wants a challenge or simply misses raiding but doesn’t feel like getting invested in a new MMO will have a fun time with it, and multiplayer allows you to bring some friends along if you want a more authentic experience.

It may be described as Final Fantasy XIV meets Touhou quite frequently, but Rabbit and Steel manages to be a lot more than the sum of its parts, and it fully deserves the overwhelming praise it has received so far.

Rabbit and Steel was reviewed on Microsoft Windows using a game code provided by mino_dev. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Rabbit and Steel is available on Microsoft Windows (through Steam).

The Verdict: 10

The Good

  • Rabbit and Steel fully commits to its premise and delivers it flawlessly
  • Itemization really matters in this game, and can completely change how your character plays
  • The game is extremely accessible even for those not used to the bullet hell genre
  • Rabbit and Steel is filled with a unique charm and love for the Final Fantasy franchise, but stands out as its own title regardless of its inspirations

The Bad

  • The difficulty curve can be a little steep at first


Fan of skeletons, plays too many video games, MMO addict, soul-like and character action enthusiast.

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